There is always another “best” way to roast a chicken. Here goes.
There are endless good ways to roast a chicken: traditional French truss style, spatchcocked, or under a brick. However, it’s my grandmother Sydney’s method that I like best. Thanks to a vertical roaster, your roast chicken comes out of the oven upright.
A whole roast chicken makes any meal feel special; A standing chicken dominates the room. The difference lies in a pointed device that holds the chicken in a standing position during cooking, allowing the fat in the neck and breast to baste the chicken while gravity pulls the drips down. The upright position also allows the chicken to cook evenly on all sides, resulting in the crispiest skin and juiciest meat.
I usually prefer my roast chicken simply rubbed in butter or oil and seasoned generously with salt and pepper, but this concoction shines when it mimics your favorite roast chicken. Think about it: There’s not much difference between roasting your chicken vertically and roasting it on a spit. In both cases, the entire chicken is exposed to the hot air. Either method results in a moist, juicy bird, except with a vertical roaster you don’t need to install a rotisserie in your oven or manually rotate a skewered bird over a roaring fire. Add some dried peppers, garlic powder and brown sugar and you have a delicious treat you only thought possible from a supermarket warmer.
Before you even remove the chicken from the refrigerator, remove your racks, except for one on the bottom rung. This is the only way a standing chicken will fit into the home oven, and it is best to do this first before preheating the oven. Too many times I’ve walked around with a hot oven rack and didn’t know where to put it so it doesn’t damage my floors or furniture.
Next, simply pat your chicken dry, season and place on the vertical roaster. To do this, the chicken must be placed over a large skewer that enters its cavity. At that point, every time I roast a chicken vertically, I always whisper a soft apology to the poor bird who has already given his life for my dinner, and now his dignity must also be sacrificed.
Even if the chicken is that deep in the oven, the top breast will likely brown faster than the rest of the chicken. Don’t worry about it – the chicken won’t dry out. When browning threatens to turn black (every oven is different), turn the oven down to 25 degrees or cover the top of the bird with a small piece of foil.
Once the chicken is cooked, you must perform the most difficult part of vertically roasting a chicken: removing it from its stand. As the chicken cooks and the bird loses water, it shrinks slightly, effectively clinging to the roaster. I recommend removing the chicken with tongs while a second set of hands hold the roaster. It’s best to let the chicken rest for 15 minutes first so the meat stays juicy and you don’t burn yourself trying to separate it.
Vertical roasters come in a variety of designs, some bulkier than others. Dust turns on Cast iron model, This is one of the larger and more expensive options (costs almost $200); However, the design combines a vertical roaster with a roaster and doesn’t require an additional pan to catch any drips.
My favorite model is a lightweight stainless steel option by Norpro. It includes a small tray to catch drips, however I would recommend placing this roaster on a baking sheet as the bowl that comes with it will catch it most the drop, but not all. The whole thing disassembles easily and packs flat, and for less than $20, there’s little reason not to try it.
Once you hold your chickens in a vertical position, you won’t want to cook them any other way. While a horizontal chicken will inevitably get soggy on one side, a vertical chicken is as brown and crispy as one straight off the rotisserie—and it couldn’t be easier (no broken trusses or bones!). A roast chicken makes every dinner feel like a cause for celebration, but a standing chicken seems to be celebrating itself.