Perfect Roasted Chicken, Thomas Keller Style

A couple years back on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, there was an episode devoted to cooking techniques. A variety of famous chef’s demonstrated how to make some of the most simple, yet delicious dishes. Since then I’ve cooked omelets the way of Jacques Pepin, and now the perfectly roasted chicken, courtesy of Thomas Keller. One day I’ll make it to one of Keller’s two famous restaurants, Per Se and The French Laundry, but until then, I’ll make this roast chicken over and over.

What makes this roast chicken so delicious is the amazing crispy skin you achieve while still getting a perfectly moist meat underneath. The two basic skills that this dish taught me were how to remove the wish bone and how to properly truss a chicken. The former was slightly more difficult, while trussing the chicken just took a minute. The hardest part was making the slip knot at the end (though you can just as easily just tie a knot).

Since it is a lot easier to post the video from No Reservations than trying to describe all the techniques, take a look here:

Another great thing about this chicken is that you can cook it by itself in a pan or roasting pan or with lots of root vegetables like they do at Keller’s other restaurant, Bouchon. This is what I did, however, I only had potatoes handy. I tossed in some cloves of garlic too which added some great flavor to the potatoes.

Recipe based off Thomas Keller’s roast chicken from Ad Hoc at Home

1 3-5 pound chicken – room temperature (very important)
butchers twine
kosher salt
black pepper
~2 pounds potatoes, cut into small chunks
4-6 garlic cloves, peeled

Preheat the oven to 475.

Once your chicken has come to room temperature, you want to remove the wish bone. The video above is a good demo on how to do this. You basically want to use a pairing knife to scrape the bit of flesh below the bone and the slide your knife along the top of the bone. Once you have loosened it, you can pull it out with your fingers. After this tuck the wings underneath the bottom of the bird.

Put the bird on its side and generously season the inside cavity with salt and pepper. If you think you used enough, use a little more.

Next you need to truss your chicken with a couple feet of butchers twine. Its best to have the chicken in front of you legs away from you. Starting by looping the string under the tail and then in a figure 8 on top of the legs and then dropping the string under the legs and pulling tightly. Then you want to pull the strings along the side and then carefully flip the chicken over. Put one end under the neck and tie with the other end in a slip knot or a regular knot.

You now want to season the bird on the outside with a lot of kosher salt. Spray the salt down with your fingers from 6-8 inches above to ensure the salt covers the entire outside.

Place the cut up potatoes into a large stainless steel pan or roasting pan and then place the chicken on top. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Depending on the size of the chicken, you may have to roast an additional 5 to 25 minutes. I had a 5.5 pound chicken which took closer to 1.5 hours. After the first 45 minutes, you can lower the temperature to 450 and continuously check the chicken every 5 minutes. The internal temp should read 160. Be sure to take the temp where the breast and thigh meet.

Serve with potatoes, salad, or other vegetable.

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About Evan Halperin

I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to eat what I cook. Now, I will share with you what I like to cook. My wife and I may be a vegetarian and a carnivore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cook a nice meal with both, without compromising taste. I will share my creative meals of the Carnivore and the Vegetarian.
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8 Responses to Perfect Roasted Chicken, Thomas Keller Style

  1. Gabe says:

    This looks delicious! I just bought a couple of chickens, I think I’ll try this out. Any bonus tips for getting the wishbone out?

  2. Yea, I’d highly recommend it. I only ate a little for dinner and cut up the rest. Had chicken salad today and still have tons left.

    For the wishbone, you want to make sure you use the knife to cut right up against the top edge of the bone. That way it is nearly separated from the cartilage or something. You don’t need to remove it, it just makes it easier for cutting it in half.

  3. Gabe says:

    I made this last night. It was a bit hit! I put the chicken (4 lbs) over potatoes and carrots, and the veggies weren’t quite done yet when the bird was. Maybe next time I’ll try giving them a quick sautee before-hand.
    And cutting out the wishbone definitely makes it way easier to cut. Great tip!

  4. awesome. I should have mentioned that you can pull the chicken off the veggies to rest while you cook the veggies a little longer. I didn’t need it since the bird was bigger and took longer to cook.

  5. James Rhodes says:

    I made the recipe for My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken from the Bouchon book. It is the first one, that isn’t on a bed of vegetables, but is finished with fresh thyme. Otherwise it is the same technique. Quite simply, it was perfect. My only personal slight adjustment – at the end when the thyme is added to the roasting pan off the heat, of course I ended up with fried thyme. Not a bad thing, but next time I will let the pan, fat, and juices cool a bit while the chicken is resting. I came across some 2-3 pound chickens in the market and took advantage, putting one in the freezer for next time. I just used my cast iron skillet, and as said, it was perfect. Don’t be afraid of the salt, and doing nothing to the chicken. It’s great.

  6. The basic recipe is the same. There was another video/recipe that Keller did with the vegetables on the bottom. Gives you a one pan meal. So delicious!

  7. James Rhodes says:

    Tonight is the Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Ad Hoc. I’ve done this one before and it is also terrific. The brine and spicing of the flour brings it all together. I have found that for the small chicken I have, 8 hours in the chicken brine is perfect for me. Try it as written though first, you can always adjust the next time if you prefer.

  8. Pingback: A Happy Thanksgiving Meal « Jenifer Toby

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