Chick, Chick, Chicken!
Safety First! Always separate the preparation of chicken from other food. Do not use the cutting board or knife you used on the chicken for the salad as it can pass bacteria. Wipe down surfaces after working with raw chicken. Check out mistakes people often make in handling chicken. One of the most important to note is Number Three (I have been doing this wrong forever!) Mistake 3: Rinsing chicken before you cook. Contrary to popular opinion, raw chicken doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) rinsed in any way. Rinsing can cause bacteria on the chicken to splash and cling to surrounding surfaces, rather than eliminating them from the chicken. Skip the wash. Send your chicken straight to the pan, or the oven, or the grill. When grilling any meats, use a clean plate once it is cooked to avoid contaminating cooked meat with raw meat juices.
To get the best flavor from your pastured chicken, roast is at a very high temperature. This seals in the juices. First dry the bird with a paper towel inside and out so that it does not steam. You can truss the chicken (if you don’t have twine, use dental floss), but you don’t have to. Trussing keeps the wings and legs from getting done too fast. Put the chicken in a roasting pan and set in a pre-heated oven at 450 degrees. Cook 15 minutes per pound. Some people turn the oven down after ten minutes, but cooking it hot really seals in the juices. Note: If you have a convection oven, turn off the convection fan as it will splatter the grease over the inside of the oven.
Cook and Freeze for Small Dinners
You can easily cook a whole chicken in an electric roaster (Nesco) and then cut up the cooked chicken, place in small packets, and freeze for making enchiladas, stir fry, salad, sandwiches, etc.
Put about a half inch of water on the bottom of the roaster. Add the chicken and any salt or herbs you want as seasoning. Generally thyme, sage, and a poultry seasoning mix go well. Set on 350 degrees and cook to 160 degrees at the center of the breast.(About 30 minutes per pound.) A fork will lift the meat easily from the bones when done.
Let cool until you can easily handle the meat. Using a sharp knife and fork, take the meat off the bones and put into aluminum foil packets. Save the bones and the dripping on the bottom of the pan and use for soup. Pastured chicken makes especially healthy soup as it is high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
How to Carve a Whole Chicken:
How to Get a Week’s Worth of Dinners from 1 Roast Chicken:
A fun Wisconsin original – Beer Can Chicken: