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I don't have a rotisserie, but would love to impart some of the flavor that seems to come with rotisserie cooking. The rotisserie chickens I've had were significantly juicier and more flavorful than the roasted chickens I've had in the past - plus the skin seems to be much crispier all the way around.

I feel that besides the crispier skin, one of the benefits of using a rotisserie is that the filling (herbs, garlic, etc - but specifically liquids like lemon) will coat the entire inside while the bird rotates, instead of just "sitting still at the bottom" during roasting.

  1. Will flipping the chicken during roasting help with a more even crispy skin?

  2. Will flipping the chicken affect/enhance the flavoring that comes from what I put inside the chicken?

  3. If I should flip it, how often?

I should add that the chicken won't be sitting in liquid, I use a modified version of this recipe, which may make a difference when answering.

I am aware of this question about rotisserie beef, which is about why a rotisserie is better, but does not seem to address how one can get closer to a rotisserie style chicken in the oven. Tim's answer is related, but assumes the chicken is sitting in liquid, and mine will not be.

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You can make your own rotisserie with a cheap cordless drill and some other stuff you can nab from a hardware store. Good project if you have an evening free :) –  Adam Shiemke Aug 24 '10 at 17:32
    
That is a great idea - I love projects. Obviously I won't have enough time to do it for tonight's dinner, but this is something I would love to try and didn't even consider. Thank you for the suggestion! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 24 '10 at 17:51
    
cruftbox.com/blog/archives/001184.html and deadpopstar.com/?p=120 are interesting. You'll have to improvise a bit depending on what you have around and what your goals are. –  Adam Shiemke Aug 24 '10 at 18:30
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are two general approaches to making chicken juicy in the oven. The first is to cook a short time at a high temperature. For example, Barbara Kafka's recipe for roast chicken calls for cooking the chicken at 500 degrees F for less than an hour.

The second option is to cook at a low temperature for a very long time. This recipe calls for cooking for an hour at 250 degrees F, with a high heat sear at the beginning and end of the time. Even more extreme is this recipe, which cooks at 140 degrees F for 4-6 hours. However, low heat will not give the yummy crisp skin.

Neither of these requires flipping the chicken.

However, if you really want the crispiness of the skin, flipping is the way to go. Two recipes from Cooks Illustrated (one and two) both call for high heat and a couple of flips. (As does Barbara Kafka's recipe for cut-up chicken, which I make all the time. Season the chicken, and put in a 500 degree F oven for 10 minutes, flip, 10 more minutes, flip, and 10 or more minutes or until the skin is crispy.)

If you want to go with the classics, Julia Child's recipe for roast chicken from also calls for turning the chicken onto different sides. She also bastes frequently, although the above recipes don't call for it.

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Much of the other material I've seen says that the key to getting the skin on birds really crispy is to make sure it's dry. If you look at traditional recipes for Peking Duck, which has incredibly crispy skin, they will hang the uncooked duck in a windy place for several hours to dry out the skin as much as possible. So you may want to leave the chicken in the refrigerator for several hours unwrapped before roasting. That will help the skin dry out nicely. –  Martha F. Aug 24 '10 at 22:15
    
It sounds a bit like the recipes calling for flipping to crisp the skin are just replacing basting with sitting it down in the juices. Either one should work. I find basting a lot easier. –  ceejayoz Aug 25 '10 at 21:47
    
After reading this, I tried flipping the chicken just to see how it worked, and turning over a hot 8lb bird is not an easy task. After the first flip I resorted to basting it, which worked great once I cranked the heat up to 450. Thanks for the info and the links, learned quite a bit about different variations on a simple roasting method! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 31 '10 at 17:42
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For succulent roast chicken you should try a chicken brick, they give amazing results and with one it is virtually impossible to mess up the roast, they are essential IMHO.

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I have done at least one roast chicken recipe where I started the chicken wrong-way and flipped it right-way mid roasting for crispier skin. It definitely makes a difference. The recipe I used, which I don't have access to, changed temperature part way to keep the breast from getting too dry.

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I'd baste it regularly - that's essentially what rotisserie is doing, continual basting. Have a pizza stone or something similar in the oven to reduce the loss of heat from opening the door.

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I wonder if you could put the chicken between two stones to get better heat distribution... –  Adam Shiemke Aug 24 '10 at 17:29
    
I don't think it'd make a significant difference, but couldn't hurt to try. –  ceejayoz Aug 25 '10 at 21:45
    
I actually do keep my pizza stone in the oven, usually at the bottom. This time, I put it on the top rack, as close to the chicken as possible. I'm not sure if it was that, or the fact that I cooked it at a very high temperature for the last 15 minutes, but I definitely had crispier skin than I've ever gotten via roasting before. –  stephennmcdonald Aug 31 '10 at 17:43
    
I wonder if you were getting some radiant heat from the stone. –  ceejayoz Aug 31 '10 at 20:09
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