Roasting Pastured Chicken

For the first time, I've put in an order for pastured chicken: a whole bird and a pkg. of wings. I plan to roast it whole, with perhaps a lemon half in the cavity, as I would normally. I may give it a moist rub of red-bell pepper puree or a tamarind marinade. Any cooking recommendations? I am not likely to brine to increase moisture, as it is a kosher bird, meaning it has already been very well-salted, allowed to sit for an hour, and then has been very well-rinsed in the process. I usually heat the oven fairly high, anywhere around 375º to 450º, then reduce the heat as needed (for a crisp skin). Should I plan on lower temps or shorter cooking time? Will the meat be dryer than with grain-fed poultry? thanks.

  • Posted by: creamtea
  • September 5, 2011


drkate September 5, 2011
I found this online--they say because the chicken has more muscle, the hot start method won't produce a good result with a pasture bird. They recommend 2 hours at 300 degrees, and test done-ness with the classic thigh wiggle or piercing the armpit to see if juices run clear. Though they eschew the hot-start method you mention, these folks say 20 minutes at 400 degrees after an hour and a half or so should crisp up the skin.
Here's another recipe for roasted chicken, this one slow roasted at 250 for an hour and a half, then bumped up to 350 for the last little while:
Good luck with your chicken! I'd love to hear how it turns out. My CSA has begun offering pastured chickens, and though I haven't bought one yet, I've been tempted.
creamtea September 5, 2011
Thanks wssmom and drkate, it is the first time I'm cooking pastured chicken. I think I will leave off the elaborate marinades etc. and roast it simply to see if it tastes the way I remember farm-raised chicken tasting. Should I cook at a lower temp or shorter vs. longer time? Is it a bit dryer than store-bought chickens?
drkate September 5, 2011
If this is your very first pasture bird, I'd be tempted to put just a minimal amount of added flavors on it to see if there is a perceptible difference between pasture and market-bought chicken. Make the pasture chicken simply, maybe with just a lemon as you said you normally roast your chicken. Once you have a sort of baseline idea of how pasture chicken tastes, you can figure out what kinds of preparation a pasture chicken might need to make the most of its good qualities.
wssmom September 5, 2011
I find pastured chicken to be more flavorful and less in need of brining, rubs, etc. - the lemon, salt and pepper should suffice. That being said, I LOVE the idea of tamarind marinade!
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