Best Chicken Ever?

OMG, I just finished eating what may possibly be the best chicken in my 59-year life. I’m wondering if anyone else here has tried this method. If you can better my accidental epiphany, I’m not sure I can stand it…

So, my story begins when I found a twinpack of whole chickens for $1.19/lb (at Costco of all places). I knew I wanted to cook one on the rotisserie, a 1960s Farberware “Open Hearth” electric. I’d used it many times before, with good but less than stellar results.

There wasn’t time to season the bird properly for yesterday’s dinner, so I decided to wait a day and brine the bird. I used Thomas Keller’s brine prep, which didn’t cool until about 10pm last night. Into the cool brine it went, and was refrigerated, rinsed, dried and on a wire rack by 7am. On impulse, I left it out under a mesh flyscreen and turned a fan on it. I got busy, and completely forgot about it until 4pm, at which point it looked grossly overdry.

THEN, Wahine suggested I cold smoke it. This was a genius move! I smoked it in Alder for about an hour (almost no heat), before spitting it up for the rotisserie. 90 minutes of turning, and wow! Crispy skin, moist unctious texture, a smokey permeation of the meat, and no need for any sauce at all. The only way I can describe it is “glistening haute cuisine BBQ”. I’ve probably eaten 3,000 roast chickens done in skillets, kettles, hot smokers, Texas Pits, Green Eggs, imus, regular ovens, ad nauseam, but never like this…

A bonus was the leftover chunked potatoes, tossed in chopped rosemary, that I put under the bird in the drip pan that were basted with fat and jus and browned while the chicken turned.

I think if I’m ever convicted of a capital crime, this is my new Last Meal. The total time was long (I ate leftover salad and Rainier cherries last night while my brine cooled), but the effort/watching wasn’t bad at all.

So, has anyone here also done the short brine + extended drying + cold smoke + rotisserie before? If so, what tricks/tips can you offer?

Aloha,
Kaleo

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I also have the 1960 Faberware rotisserie . I like the extra steps you have taken to cook the bird . I can taste it . Yes , this might be the tops . Thank for your efforts . I must try this: :poultry_leg:

Hi, emglow:

Oooh, what’s your go-to favorite on the “Open Hearth”?

A year ago I bought a round basket (think Hamster wheel) that mounts on the 1/4" square spit. The chunked food tumbles inside as the spit turns, the idea being that it all browns evenly. Total fail. You don’t win 'em all, I guess!

My next crazy idea is to stack TWO of these rotisseries, so that the rendering fat from the rich meat above bastes whatever lean is turning below. Yes, I have too much time on my hands!

Aloha,
Kaleo

Recently discovered Kenji Lope Best Southern Style Chicken Parmegiano and his Best Red Italian sauce simmered in oven for 6 hours.
I thought it was one of the best chicken recipes.
I looked up Keller’s Brine prep , I did not see proportions of the brine ingredient , perhaps you can advise proportion ?
In addition, what temp should I use for the grill since I do not have a rotisserie indoor but i do have a MAK pellet smoker and I have a rotisserie in my infra red grill. However, the temp in the infra red grill is not calibrated by degrees but the rotary dial ranges from low to high.
I have only used the rotisserie once since I purchased it , Thanksgiving Turkey on a frigid east coast weather which took hours, many trips of running out to the porch to check the chicken and was quite unhappy with the result because of flare ups, from the dripping fat into the ceramic. Thought it was not worth the effort and propane used for that many hours.

I will try chicken as it is smaller and hopefully, will not take that long,will not cause flare up as it is drier and I will be able to place a sheet pan under with potatoes and rosemary , veg to base fat dripping, if you think my rotisserie will work .

PS when rotisserie is being used, there is also heat coming from the side of the unit aside from the ceramic on the bottom of the grill.
Ideally, an Argentina inspired grillwork’s aside grill would fit the menu without all the hassle of cleaning up. That is my wish list.


Thanks.

oops, I mean Kenji Lopez and Turkey
my mistake without proof reading

I don’t have “Bouchon” handy, but the salinity is 1C kosher per gallon of water. From memory (???) there’s a 1/2 C of honey, 12 bay leaves, 20 whole black peppercorns, a bunch of smashed garlic cloves (I just use a whole head), and a bouquet garni consisting of 2 oz each of parsley, thyme and tarragon. You bring all to a boil for ONE minute, strain & cool. I added 1C of white wine for acidity.

oh, I think your rotisserie will work fine. But I’m not sure about the heat setting, but you want it low enough so that the skin doesn’t get scorched before the thighs are done. The Farberware heat element is ON/OFF, and it must be underpowered compared to an IR–it’s a calrod element like in most electric ovens. You’re instructed to perch the meat so close that it barely clears the hot element.

Have Fun,
Aloha,
Kaleo

THANKS FOR FURTHER INFO
I hope my IR works as it has this low setting for grilling vegetables.

Sounds good. Any concerns about 9 hours unrefrigerated and an increased bacteria load even after brining?

Yeah, I suppose I should put a small an in the reefer.

I just got a BBQ grill called an Alfresco that has an integrated rotisserie grill and a built-in smoker. The rotisserie is heated using an infrared unit. I just tried it tonight and it was pretty incredible. I added herbs to the wood chips in the smoker attachment and it gave a nice, even, clean smoke. The skin came out crispy even though the temp stayed at about 275 degrees.

You could play around with it by cold smoking first, then turning on the rotisserie. But I don’t think it would be necessary.

I actually tested that chicken side by side with a butterflied chicken in my Green Egg, also at 275. It wasn’t close – the Alfresco chicken was way better, mostly because of the crispy skin.

“you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”
I don’t want to sound like a snob but I think when you are talking about “best ever” chicken you need to start with a superior bird which is not what you would get at Costco. Trust me that I’ve bought plenty of their $.99 lb. fryers. Today’s big brand supermarket chicken is watery and pretty tasteless unless further processed, like Costco’s wonderful tasting rotisseries chicken that’s been injected with marinade. Chicken that was raised on the farm, pre WW2, (true free range) was more expensive than beef. Then, when it became big business, quality suffered. Genetic engineering to make chicken with giant breasts (great on strippers, not on chicken) and rapid growth captive feeding techniques made today’s commodity chicken just OK. It’s cheap protein which is a good thing but if I was looking to cook my best ever chicken, I’d start with a better bird, air vs water cooled, free range, maybe sourced from a nearby farm. The French have their revered Poulet de Bresse. I’d look for something comparable.

I was addressing the prep, not the ingredient quality.

Indubitably, there is someone somewhere with the ne plus ultra tournebroch and lechifrite, old-growth moist alder (from a terroir stand that was twice delicately scorched in rare lowland forest fires), a Kobe massaged pullet of a lineage once reserved to Charlemagne, and salt evaporated from the brow sweat of the Vestal Virgins (reign of Tiberius).

;),
Kaleo

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Costco chicken is good enough for me, I buy my chicken wings, chicken breast and tenderloin from them in huge bags. I have never purchased their whole chicken, tried to use Kaleo’s recipe but alas, ver disappointed because my rotisserie which was left outside under the infra red grill is not working.
As for Costco’s rotisserie chicken which cost $5.00, I buy them whenever I am at Costco and need something to eat fast when I return home from my trip there, would grill them in my countertop convection oven as I like them well done. and crisp. Comparing them to Wegman’s and Whole Foods, I see very little difference esp when I process them again in my oven, and not worth the price difference.
Recently, I used Kenji’s recipe for the best parmesan chicken and the best red sauce using Costco’s chicken breast. It was the best and was asked repeat performance by my son and his guest.
I also buy beef from Costco as well as from the Italian Deli locally, prefer organic grass fed ground beef,whole filet and NY strip when on sale, because I do not use SV, but it is how one prepares them that counts. If I have SV, probably will go with the cheaper cut that I use for my pomeranians. ( eye round which I grind myself)
True, I like Kobe beef, Mangalitsa pork but do not have deep pocket and can only afford them once in a while.
Does it mean that I will give up cooking meat that are not superior quality?

I saw them on high end restaurant menu, but never saw or heard anybody I know personally cooking one at home. There are many “red label” free range (more affordable) farm bird to choose from for home cooking.

I have cooked a few. It’s not an easy bird to cook well as its quite lean but when cooked well it is superb. It can be roasted but it takes a lot of skill and technique. It works best in a pot roast. When I lived in Paris I tended to buy more everyday chickens although they were still free range - most shops had quite a range to choose from and each was better suited to different cooking styles.

A couple of professionally cooked ones stand out. First, one I had at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Paris which was simply amazing, great texture, very juicy and wonderful flavour. Most recently I had a couple in the Jura cooked with morels, cream and vin Jaune which were amazing (the chicken originates here and its the local speciality).

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Its a sort of chicken and egg question though.

The prep does indeed sound good and the result makes my mouth water. But if you started with a better ingredient would you need to prep it so much…? After all great ingredient typically need the least done to them.

A really top quality free range bird simply cooked - no brining, marinading, drying of flavours - would be brilliantly moist, have great flesh structure and most of all taste of just great chicken.

I well remember ordering the famed wood fired chicken at the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco and whilst we enjoyed it we felt the underlying quality of the bird let it down. It was big and plump but the flesh seemed wooly and lacked the bite of great chicken. It was cooked really well. Maybe because we have grown up on a different style of chicken we didn’t appreciate the quality of the bird but it was an interesting revelation.

This sounds excellent, now I just need a smoker and a rotisserie. While I have never tried this, the general prep (minus smoke) seems to follow the technique used by Judy Rogers of Cafe Zuni. She uses a dry brine (just salt and rosemary) rather than wet but also advocates a lengthy drying of at least 3 days in the fridge. Instead of a rotisserie, it is cooked in a cast iron skillet (no room for potatoes unfortunately). I have had excellent results with this dish and of course a bird enjoyed at Zuni will make you sing.

Me too. Are those collector items?

Dunno . They work great though .

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Yes they do.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold