Published September 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.
If you can plan ahead, by all means brine or salt your bird. But when you want dinner on the table in an hour, you need a different way to get juicy, tender chicken.
Brining or salting a bird results in juicy, well-seasoned roast chicken—but these techniques take between 30 minutes and 24 hours. That’s too much to ask for a weeknight meal.
We wanted a foolproof way to roast chicken that didn’t call for any preroasting treatment.
Our cooking vessel of choice was a preheated skillet, which gave the chicken’s thighs a jump-start on cooking when the bird was placed breast side up in it. It also allowed the chicken’s juices to pool in a smaller space (as opposed to the bottom of a roasting pan) and to evaporate more slowly, so we could use them to make a pan sauce as the chicken rested.
As for the oven temperature, we settled on a radical approach that we’ve had success with in the past: We started the chicken in a hot oven and then shut off the heat after it was partially cooked and let the bird idle in the oven until the breast and thigh meat hit their target temperatures. The result was a juicy chicken with beautifully dark amber skin and virtually no chance of overcooking.list of recipes