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Here is the problem I'm facing:

I am on a diet, which doesn't exclude fat, but doesn't encourage it either. So I am trying to bake chicken in the oven, while also removing the fat that comes out, while also preventing it becoming too dry.

I am thinking of rubbing the chicken with seasoning, and then putting it on bars, with a pan beneath, so that the fats would drip down. But as far as i know, that may render the chicken to dry. Any solutions?

Thanks!

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related : cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/1457/… –  Joe May 22 '11 at 21:03

11 Answers 11

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The technique you describe is pretty much just the standard way of roasting a chicken. A V-shaped roasting rack is excellent for this purpose. As for keeping it moist, the standard technique is to brine the chicken first. Done properly, brining a chicken results in a moist, tender bird with crisp skin, and doesn't involve adding any additional fat. I normally brine by putting the chicken in a stew pot, covering it with cold water, adding about a cup of kosher salt, and letting it sit for 90 minutes.

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1  
FYI, that cup of kosher salt goes for about a half-gallon of water, typically. If you're using table salt, it's less. I recommend searching for a proper recipe. –  Ray May 22 '11 at 20:51
    
Personally, I tend to have trouble getting the crisp skin after brining. It's a tradeoff I'm willing to make--the improvement to the meat far outweighs the detriment to the skin. Just wanted to put that out there –  Ray May 22 '11 at 20:53
    
One last thing--I don't know your diet, but this would not be the way to go if it's a low-sodium diet –  Ray May 22 '11 at 20:54
    
Yes, I thought so, so i discounted brining as not being an option. There can be no salt in my diet. Nevertheless, even without brining, I somehow got the chicken to still be moist, but also not be as fat. Epic success :) –  Janis Peisenieks May 23 '11 at 6:31
    
@Ray: Letting the chicken dry uncovered in the fridge for a bit (after brining) will help with the skin. –  derobert May 26 '11 at 15:31
Cover the bottom of the pan with sliced onions to keep the skin from sticking to the bottom.
Place chicken in pan UPSIDE DOWN (i.e. Breast down).
When there's about 20 minutes cooking time left (about 130 degrees F) 
flip it over, turn the heat up a bit and brown up the skin.

This way, all the juices flow into the breast, rather than out, and you end up with a very moist bird. I also like to pour lemon juice over the skin, and stuff the empty lemon half inside.

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Just put in a more detailed answer here, but basically, try salting it for 20-30 minutes before you put it in the oven, and cook it until it's safe, but no longer. Use a probe thermometer to test it. Once it hits 160F, take it out, wrap it in foil, and let it sit for five to ten minutes to let the residual heat finish it off.

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One thing people haven't mentioned though it was hinted at with Ray's post "your enemy is a combination of temperature and time".

The tip is this:

Use a smaller chicken if possible. Best would be a 3lb chicken cooked at very high heat (450+) for 45min or so. Make sure and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes as well so that the juices have time to settle in the meat. Do not stuff it (unless its just tossing in some herbs or something small. You can also through some fresh herbs under the skin and just toss the skin when done since you are not eating it.

The small chickens are hard to find but it is possible at some stores like Trader Joes. Most large grocery stores tend to carry larger 5lb birds.

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Put 1kg (whole bag) of plain salt on the bottom of the roaster, put whole chicken on it, close the roaster lid and bake till the meat is done. The salt simply drains all dripping fat. The meat is delicious, the skin (in case you are eating it) is thin and crispy, all underskin fat is gone.

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May be a bit more expensive, but definitely will have to try this one sometime. Thanks! –  Janis Peisenieks May 24 '11 at 16:41
    
1kg of salt costs next to nothing here. The chicken is bought anyway, so what's expensive? –  andrej Sep 5 '11 at 9:20

As Joe said, the enemy of moist chicken is overcooking.

You can cook a chicken a shorter time at a higher temperature. For example, my favorite way of preparing pieces of chicken on the bone is from Barbara Kafka's cookbook Roasting. Heat the oven to 500 degrees (F). Season your chicken. Put it in the oven, skin side up, for 10 minutes. Flip, and cook another 10 minutes. Flip again and cook another 10 minutes. The chicken will be done at this point and quite juicy. You can even do this without the skin, and the chicken still comes out well.

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Higher temperatures leave the tissues less supple, especially for darker meats and connective tissues. Low and slow is the key to moist chicken all around. –  Bruce Alderson May 23 '11 at 17:35

Stuffing the chicken with vegetables or fruits should help keep it moist as well as make it tasty.

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Actually, depending on how you stuff the bird, it might dry it out. The problem is that as the stuffing came into contact with raw poultry, you want to heat it up to kill any bacteria ... which can mean overcooking the chicken. If you're not packing it in, and just using it as flavoring (not eating afterwards), you should be okay. –  Joe May 23 '11 at 11:16

I put the whole chicken in a slow cooker with vegetables (but no extra liquid) and cook for 3-4 hours. I tried the beer can chicken once but didn't notice any difference from my normal roast chicken (maybe it was the beer!).

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If you're looking for moisture, your enemy is a combination of temperature and time -- if you cook it for too long (where too long depends on the temperature) the chicken is going to overcook and be dry.

Good methods are cooking it longer at a lower heat 'til it's cooked through, then giving it a burst of high heat to brown the skin. (there are also recipes done in reverse, where you pre-heat to a higher temp, then turn it down after a few minutes of cooking).

Brining can also help.

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If you happen to have a blow torch on hand, it's a great way to brown a chicken at the tail end of a low-and-slow roasting. And, it makes a great finally at dinner parties! –  Bruce Alderson May 23 '11 at 17:34

You'll get chicken fat when you eat the chicken no matter what method you use to roast it. To minimize how much fat you consume, don't eat the skin. You can also shred the chicken meat and dress it with some of the juices and fat.

I like the beer can method for keeping the chicken moist which someone else has already mentioned. Other methods include putting a pan of steaming hot water into the oven to keep the chicken company. Another is to cover the breast portion with foil for part of roasting time and make sur not to over roast.

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Yes, I have made the chicken with the beer can method, but this time I needed to cook parts, instead of a whole, so the method didn't qualify in my mind. Also, in my opinion, the chicken is not tender or "baked" enough, it almost seems steamed to me. –  Janis Peisenieks May 23 '11 at 6:32

Using the beer can chicken method is a way to keep a roasted chicken moist. Variations of this recipe abound. You can use just about any kind of can with just about any flavorful liquid.

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