How to cook the perfect chicken…not as easy as you might think. A lot of care and understanding as well as good equipment is needed. Why you ask,the answer is simple ..if you dont care then really you should not be anywhere near any food at all and be happy with mediocre food and endresults. If your equipment is of poor quality ,well they crap in crap out for a reason and whomever coined that expression was a seriously smart person because it is so true. Finally you need a good product and as always the fresher the better,thats a given and if you missed the bus on that one ..lets just say there is still hope but really you now have to step up your game…at least the cooking part!!.Fresh is the best and thats that. If your chicken has been frozen it just will not taste as good as a fresh one. Now I am not advocating going to your local farmer and request that you get his best chicken and him running to his hen house and kill one chicken for you, but it is not that bad of an idea. But it might be a good thing to know where your chicken came from and that is was not fed a whole bunch of hormones and quick grow pills and feeds. Crap in crap out…. I think it is also worth noting that just because a chicken was raised in a happy environment by some well meaning chicken lover,nature lover trehuggers make it by default the best chicken you ever have had. No the difference between that chicken and the walmart raised chicken is you, you are the cook and if you dont understand what or how or when or where to cook that bird..well it is never to late to learn….You need to do a few steps before that chicken hits the pan.Such as brining.
Brining a chicken is propbably the best thing to happen to the chicken since it hatched because it will make it tastier and juicier and a million times better in any way imaginable.Proper seasoning is step number two. Proper heat in pan and oven is number three and finally the fourth thing is lenght of time and cooking temerature of said bird. See told you it was more to it than just cooking a chook!!. This is where the dry chicken gets separated from the juicy tasty chicken.Ignore above steps and you will without fail have a chicken that is as juicy as eating wood chips.But if thast what you like …in my case that would make me speechless.
Simply put a brine is a salt solution (for simplicitys sake should be as as salty as the ocean) add some pepper corns , a bayleaf some rubbed between your hands rosemary. Make sure chicken is completly submerged in the brine and let sit cold for a few hours. Once a few hours have passed remove it from the brine and pat dry and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Get a cast iron skillet hot but not too hot ,just over medium heat and add olive oil . Gently lay the chicken in the pan skinside down and get a good crispy sear on it,using a pair of tongs turn the chicken over and cook until you have a nice color on the belly side as well. Place the chicken on a wire rack or some sliced thick rounds of onion, on a pan and in the 325F preheated oven. Let it cook for at least 8-10 minutes and then turn the pan around 180 degress and continue cooking. It will take approximatly another 5-8 minutes until cooked allthe way thru. It should feel firm to the touch and have somewhat “spongy” feel. If unsure insert a thermometer to ensure it is 165F, I prefer to take the chicken out at 155F and do what most people do not do ….let it rest . What most cooks forget is that just because you have removed it from the oven the heat is still there on it in it and will continue to cook and cook and cook and cook. Once rested for about five minutes under cover it is now time to eat the best chicken you have ever had. Simplicity at work is a wonderful thing and will always prevail over ignorance and overdoing your cooking.Ignorance in the kitchen will only lead to failure and in the end all you have is something that is mediocre at best but with a little bit of care ,a little bit of knowhow and success is sure to follow…thats just how it is.