Monday, December 08, 2008

Best chicken, ever

My wife and I are both great cooks so when she said that the chicken that I made for our Sunday dinner was the best she ever tasted I thought that it was worthwhile posting my recipe.

24 hours before cooking the chicken (a whole, locally raised and organic) I washed it in cold water, trimmed a small amount of the fatty skin, split it through the breast, folding it flat. Optional: at this point I partially de-boned the chicken by removing the backbone but leaving the skin behind the backbone intact.

I added 3 tablespoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, one teaspoon of turmeric, some pepper, and half a finely diced fresh onion to a large deep glass mixing bowl. I added some water and mixed all the "brine" ingredients. I placed the whole (but slightly flattened) chicken in the bowl, and added just enough water to completely cover it. I covered the bowl and placed it in our refrigerator for 24 hours. Note: it is very important to not let the chicken get to room temperature: poultry should always be kept at 40 degrees (F) or cooler until right before it is cooked.

24 hours later: I pre-heated our oven to 500 degrees and started our barbecue (I used real hickory charcoal, but gas barbecues are OK). When the oven was at 500 degrees, I placed the chicken in a glass shallow baking pan, split side with ribs facing down, and cooked it at 500 degrees for 5 minutes, then turned the oven off. 7 or 8 minutes later when the coals were ready, I placed the partially cooked chicken on the grill, rib side down. Cooking time will vary: try to get the breast meat done without drying out the meat. I turned the chicken a few times while cooking it. Note: the chicken meat absorbs a lot of water during the 24 hour "brining" period so a lot of steam is released while cooking the bird.

If you don't want to barbecue, you can just leave the chicken in the oven to cook it. After 5 minutes in a 500 degree oven, turn the oven down to 325 and continue until the meat is done. Note: you always want to start chickens or turkeys in a very hot oven to drive moisture in the meat into the center, near the bones - this helps to keep the meat from drying out.

3 comments:

daniel said...

Mark, eating meat means cruelty for animals. Please see this website: www.meat.org

Mark Watson, author and consultant said...

Hello Daniel,

I totally agree that industrially raised meat == cruelty.

We buy locally grown free range chicken and eggs - a bit kinder. The fantastic movie Baraka has a scene showing the cruelty of factory raised chickens.

BTW, for people who are not vegetarians: most people eat way too much meat. Only people with type B blood can really eat a lot of meat (in a healthy way) and even they are much better off eating meat in moderation. I have type A blood so it is appropriate for me to have just one good serving of chicken and one of fish a week.

Free range locally raised meet is much more expensive but without the hormones and antibiotics it has to be better for you. If only very small portions of meet are consumed, then the extra cost really does not matter too much.

Another thing to consider: a diet consisting mostly of meat protein places a stress on the environment: I think that it takes about 10 times the energy and water, compared to a vegetarian (or almost vegetarian) diet.

Thanks,
Mark

Mark Watson, author and consultant said...

Typo error:

"Only people with type B blood can really eat a lot of meat (in a healthy way)..."

should have been:

"Only people with type O blood can really eat a lot of meat (in a healthy way)..."

Types B and AB should severely limit their intake of meat.