Thaw frozen chicken slowly and safely. It will take anywhere from 24 hours to two days to thaw a whole chicken in the refrigerator, and about 2 to 9 hours for cut-up chicken parts (less for boneless pieces). You can thaw chicken more quickly in a cold water bath or by using the defrost cycle of the microwave. But never thaw frozen chicken by leaving it out at room temperature.
Step 1: Prepare the chicken You don't need to wash the chicken before you cook it. However, sometimes the cavity of the chicken is packed with gizzards or other internal organs; remove this packet before cooking. Set the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up.
Step 2: Preheat the oven and season the chicken Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. While the oven is heating, brush the chicken with olive oil or butter and season with salt, pepper, and desired herbs and/or spices.
Step 3: Roast the chicken Place the chicken (in the roasting pan) in the preheated oven. Cooking times vary by weight:
2-1/2- to 3-pound chicken: Roast 1 to 1-1/4 hours
3- to 3-1/2-pound chicken: Roast 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours
3-1/2- to 4-pound chicken: Roast 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 hours
4-1/2- to 5-pound chicken: Roast 1-1/2 to 2 hours
Step 4: Remove chicken from oven The chicken is done cooking when the juices run clear, the chicken is no longer pink, and the drumsticks move easily in their sockets. The internal temperature -- measured by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (the thermometer should not touch bone) -- should be 180 degrees F.
1. Select your choice of breasts, backs and wings. Avoid extremely plump pieces and dark meat, which tend to burn on the outside before the meat is fully cooked. Wash and pat chicken dry with paper towels.
2. Beat eggs in a deep bowl. Dip chicken pieces into the egg wash, completely covering them. (Some cooks bathe the chicken in buttermilk, but eggs will make the skin crispier) Liberally season egg-washed chicken with salt, pepper and garlic salt.
3. Fill a shallow baking pan with all-purpose flour. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour until completely coated.
4. Restaurants use a commercial deep fryer, but at home, filling a large, deep, heavy pot with canola oil is a good substitution. Heat the oil on high until it reaches about 350 degrees. Use long tongs to drop a few chicken pieces, one at a time, into the pot. Don't crowd the pot; allow enough room for chicken to float freely in the oil.
5. Each batch of fried chicken takes about 15 minutes. The chicken is done when it floats to the top of the oil and the skin is slightly browned.
6. Remove the chicken and allow the pieces to drain on paper towels. Place the first batch of chicken in the oven and keep warm while cooking the remaining pieces.
1. Use high-quality chicken.
Starting with the best bird is the first step to tasty results. Read here for more on how to buy the best chicken.
2. Start breast side down.
Positioning the chicken breast side down allows all the juices to gather in the breast meat during the first half of cooking. When you flip the bird, those juices slowly redistribute but leave plenty of moisture behind to keep that white meat ultra juicy.
3. Use high heat.
Heat is roast chicken’s best friend. A 450°F oven browns the skin quickly and keeps it nice and crisp.
4. Don’t overcook.
An overcooked chicken is a dry chicken. To prevent overcooking, use an instant-read thermometer as your most reliable indicator of doneness (see the tip below for how to use it). It should read 165° to 170°F.
5. Let it rest.
Don’t be tempted to cut into the chicken as soon as it’s out of the oven. Resting for at least 15 minutes on the cutting board allows the juices to redistribute into the meat, making it moist and tender.
To get the most accurate temperature reading, insert the instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, toward the interior rather than the exterior of the bird. Make sure you don’t touch the bone with the tip of the thermometer, or you’ll get a higher reading.
Fried Chicken Recipe
Makes 6 servings