i love roast chicken. it's cheap, it's easy, and it feels fancy. it's the pretty hooker of mealtime.
getting roast chicken right has been a long learning process for me. either the skin gets all rubbery or the meat gets dried out and even though the entire meal only cost four bucks, it tastes like it cost 3.50 and was cooked by an inmate. and that's never what you want. so i went in search of the ultimate tutorial on the ultimate roast chicken.
enter: thomas keller, big-shot chef at some big-shot restaurant, who is also loved by martha stewart. and if you're loved by martha stewart, you're loved by me. (except if you're kevin sharkey; what is up with her obsession with that guy?!) so i took him at his word and chicken has been delectable ever since.
and here's what i learned: start by making sure your chicken is REALLY dry on the surface. blast it with a blow dryer if you must. (actually, i'm not recommending you try that; i'm just trying to get you to realize how important it is to make that chicken look and feel like a tanning bed addict's face before you cook it.) then, if you have the time, let that thing sit out on the counter for an hour or two to dry out even further and get the juices going in the meat. yeah, it sounds gross and the health department will probably suggest you don't do this, but screw the health department - you're about to blast any bacteria into oblivion anyway, so do this if you have the time.
salt and pepper it. don't put any butter or oil on the skin. believe me. it just creates moisture while it cooks, and your skin will turn out rubbery.
now, crazy old yokels will tell you to roast a chicken low and slow. they are wrong. don't do that. blast that sucker at 450*. yes, i said 450*. what that does is make the skin super crispy super quickly, and it not only makes for better-tasting skin, but the juices get sealed into the chicken. for a standard-sized chicken (i'm thinking like four pounds, give or take), stick it in there for about fifty or sixty minutes. take it out when a meat thermometer reads 160*-165* in the breast.
baste it with the juices and let it sit on a cutting board for fifteen minutes. then slice and dice that sucker and gorge yourself.
if you're still pissed about the 'no butter' rule i mentioned above, now is the time to put the butter on. yep. just like that. i'm pretty sure rihanna's nonsensical lyrics to that 'shine bright like a diamond' song are about this chicken.
and that's how the van voorsts do chicken.