Sunday, November 21, 2004

Cooking With The Doc: Okay, so when I roast chicken, I usually do it the way Alton Brown describes in his book I'm Just Here For The Food. That is, I stick an unglazed terra cotta flower pot in the oven with its base, crank it up to 550, let the pot heat up while I put the rub on the bird, then I put the bird on the base, put the pot on top upside down to cover the bird, leave the oven on 550 for twenty minutes, then turn off the heat until the bird registers 170 on my probe thermometer. As the heat of the pot goes down, the heat of the bird comes up.

Makes a great bird. Crisp and golden outside, and juicy and--dare I say?--succulent inside.

Only today I had a problem. The last time I did it, I left the base part of the setup on the counter, and some butter got spilled on it. Despite my best efforts at cleaning the thing, I was stuck with the effects of butter's very low smoke point all through my apartment before I'd so much as finished applying the rub to the bird.

So what did I do? I tried to recreate the same effect using the oven. I stuck the bird into a round metal cake pan--almost exactly the right size for a broiler/fryer. Then I set the oven at 550 for twenty minutes, and then I dropped the temperature 50 degrees every five minutes until I hit 350. I left it at 350 until the bird hit 170 on my probe thermometer.

The bird was absolutely gorgeous, and as juicy as anything I've ever pulled apart with my fingers. I highly recommend it.

Unless your flower pot is butter-free.

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