Roasted chicken is such a comforting dish, but often times it takes way too long to cook — especially if you’re trying to get dinner on the table in a hurry. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait an hour or two to enjoy roasted chicken as a weeknight dinner.
According to Baldwin, the best way to slash the cooking time of a roasted chicken is by taking out the backbone (better known as butterflying or spatchcocking). This allows for more heat to penetrate the meat which makes it cook faster. Not to mention it’s much easier to carve once roasted.
You can follow this step-by-step guide by The Spruce Eats for butterflying the chicken in a snap. All you need is sharp pair of kitchen scissors like KitchenAid All-Purpose Shears (Buy on Amazon, $7.99) to easily remove the backbone. Or if you’re not comfortable doing this step at home, ask your local butcher to do it for you!
Another important tip from Baldwin: The smaller the bird the better. Similar to buying a turkey for Thanksgiving, we know buying the largest chicken to roast seems tempting, but it makes sense that a smaller chicken will roast much quicker.
Chef Baldwin recommends buying a whole chicken that weighs three pounds or less, but ultimately find the smallest one in the meat section. If you’re worried that you won’t have enough to enjoy for seconds or leftovers, just buy another chicken (the same size) and roast them together.
Of course, the best part of a roasted chicken is the crispy, golden brown skin. To achieve this you’ll need to let the oven preheat at 475 degrees for at least half an hour. An additional step is to take out the oven racks so that a heavy pan (like a cast-iron skillet) can sit directly on the oven’s floor. “When the pan is sitting on the floor of the oven, it gets this extra push,” Baldwin says. “It cooks off the water that comes out of the bird quickly, and the bird gets an incredibly crispy skin.”
Once you’ve completed all of these steps the chicken is ready to roast in the oven. This should take around 18-30 minutes, or until the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh registers 155 to 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer like Habor Instant Read Meat Thermometer (Buy on Amazon, $13.79).
Although the chicken cooks in a flash with these tips, let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before you dig in and enjoy.
All it takes is a little bit of planning and prepping to go from oven to table in no time!
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