Friday, October 13, 2017

Roast Chicken: Cooking with Fire

My 60" Wolf range died last summer. It had horrible reliability, due mostly to the fact that it had a computer inside that was very poorly designed. The Wolf range was a dual fuel model, meaning that the stove burners were gas and the ovens were electric. The ovens also had a convection feature. The combination of very accurate electric heat and convection made roasting food a charm in the Wolf.

I replaced the Wolf with a Capital Culinarian. It is a purely mechanical stove and it only cooks with gas. But when I tried my Wolf convection roasting recipes on the Capital range, they did not work so well. After several failures, I decided to abandon the convection mode and cook only by traditional methods: Cooking with Fire.

The Capital ovens are gas, so fire is what is used to heat the oven. So I decided to embrace that fire and change my recipes to cook with it. The beauty of writing this blog over the last seven years is that I have all of my favorite recipes in one place. And that is why I am adding this roast chicken recipe to this body of that I will always have it in the same place as all my other favorite stuff.

This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated. It is incredibly simple and it yielded what Becky called "the best roast chicken I have ever tasted". You roast the chicken at a high temperature for 35 minutes, then turn the oven off and let it sit in the heat for another 35 minutes. The chicken cooks in a pre-heated cast iron pan. The pan cooks the thighs more quickly, so that the entire bird is at the ideal temperature at the end of cooking. The first 35 minutes turns the skin a golden brown while the second 35 minutes gently cooks the chicken, resulting in one of the juiciest chickens I have ever tasted. It became quite obvious to me that the convection cooking method robbed the bird of it's moisture.

One, 3-1/2 to 4 pound chicken*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Place a 12" oven proof skillet on the rack and heat oven to 450ยบ. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Rub entire surface with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on the bird.
  2. Transfer chicken, breast side up, to pre-heated skillet in oven. Roast for 35 minutes (*roast for 40 minutes if your bird is larger than 4 pounds)
  3. After 35 minutes, turn off oven. Do not open oven door! Let the chicken cook for another 35 minutes.
  4. Transfer chicken to carving board and let chicken rest for 15 minutes uncovered. Then carve and serve.

Wine pairing: Roast chicken is one of my very favorite meals and I like to enjoy it with Pinot Noir. If it's a special dinner, get yourself a bottle of Domain Drouhin Pinot Noir. That will set you back $42.99 at Total Wine. If you are bargain shopping, choose a Cupcake Pinot Noir for $7.99...but let it breathe for 30 minutes before you pour.

Me and Goldie, 1956


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