how to tell if roast chicken is done

I am never sure when making roast chicken how to tell if it's done. Besides taking the temp in the thigh, other recipes say it's done if you cut between thigh and leg and the juices run clear. Get that. But even when any and all of the above criteria are met, sometimes it seems the center cavity still has juices that are not clear--part clear, and part streaked red. I am not sure if that's normal? Because if it's not, then why don't the classic cues work? By the way, I am using a well-defrosted bird so it's not that. Help!



sarabclever July 18, 2011
I'm still confused, but for posterity/anyone else looking at this thread in the future I found this on chowhound which puts forth a million different theories it seems. I DID use a never-been-frozen chicken fresh from a chicken farm and for what it's worth, there was no red stuff this time. Thanks everyone! @creamtea, I did wonder about that point you make on breast meat, though as ours are heritage breeds that free range (and can actually walk without falling over, therefore) I don't think it's the issue here, but I can totally see that coming up for other types of chickens.
creamtea July 18, 2011
Consider also that nowadays chickens are bred for more breast meat; often now that is the thickest part of the bird.

I usually do 3 tests, I insert an instant-read thermometer either into the thigh or now, sometimes, into the breast for 165º. I also pierce with a skewer or knife tip. And I take a sturdy pair of tongs and lift the bird, one prong through the cavity and one grasping the outside top. When Iifting, I hold it almost vertical so the juices drip from the cavity into the pan. When they just run clear, it's done, not over or undercooked. If you see a pinkish tinge in the pan in the area where the juices have run off, cook a little longer.
Sam1148 July 17, 2011
Some red is normal if you're using a frozen chicken. The hemoglobin in the marrow can lech out red even tho it's properly cooked.
sdebrango July 17, 2011
Oh I forgot she bakes it at 400 degrees.
sdebrango July 17, 2011
I time my chicken when I roast it. I found this video on you tube its actually the recipe I use for roasted chicken, Its Julia Childs recipe for roast chicken she bakes a 5 lb chicken for one hour and 15 minutes. Here is the link:
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