With the holidays fast approaching (and we mean, really fast), it’s time to brush up on those roasting skills with some roast chicken tips. A perfect roast chicken (or turkey) should be cooked carefully to make sure it is done all the way through – the meat should be juicy and flavourful, the skin crispy and golden. Done correctly, it’s one of the most delicious and comforting foods to serve this time of the year, but it can be quite intimidating to cook a whole bird, especially for larger groups.
Someone who can call himself a French rotisserie expert is Romain Bourrillon, the chef-trained founder of Cocotte, a London-based restaurant group serving some of the best rotisserie chicken in the Big Smoke. Having worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in France, Belgium, New York and London, Romain knows the dos and don’ts of a roast chicken, so obviously we asked him for some tips.
How to make the perfect roast chicken
Start with a marinade
‘A good marinade will help tenderise the chicken. Especially when you’re cooking chicken for a longer time, this is essential to keeping the moisture in the meat. It also adds flavour. I like to marinate in olive oil with paprika, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken and leave it to marinate – ideally overnight, but for at least two hours – in the fridge.’
A low temperature and slow cooking are key
‘A low temperature and slow cooking are key to keeping the chicken juicy. I like to cook at 100 degrees celsius for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the chicken. If you have a meat thermometer, the core temperature needs to reach 60 degrees celsius.’
READ MORE: 7 ways to cook chicken
Let the chicken rest
‘Leave your chicken to rest when you remove it from the oven. This means that the juices will be redistributed throughout the chicken and makes all the meat tender. I typically leave it to rest for 45 minutes on a cooling rack or until it reaches room temperature.’
Don’t skip the seasoning
‘Always season the chicken skin. This is one of the tastiest parts and retains so much flavour so, when cooled, rub olive oil and salt all over the skin.’
Finish off on the grill
‘After seasoning the skin, I always finish off the chicken on the grill to make the skin crispy and enhance the seasoning flavour. Turn the grill up to a high temperature, put the chicken in facing forwards – leave around 6cm from the top of the chicken to the grill – and keep it there for four minutes. Then, turn it around to face backwards for another four minutes.’
READ MORE: Nigella Lawson’s perfect roast potatoes