How to roast your free ranged chicken.

Chicken from Crampton’s

Every summer we take pre orders for free ranged chickens that are ready in the fall.  These birds take a full summer of running round outside to grow into the beautiful 8 pound flavourful roasting chickens that you get to enjoy in the fall.  This is the way chicken used to be.  Firm, flavourful, meaty, filling, and good for you.  If you have never roasted one of our birds before, be certain to read this post.  Our free ranged roasters are not what you are used to out of the supermarket.  They’re the real deal.

Some customers like to brine their chicken before roasting. If you brine you chicken, you will not need to add the cup of water that is listed later in the instructions.

BRINING.

Boil 6 cups of water; add .5 cup salt and .5 cup sugar. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat; add spices to your taste. I add 1 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp thyme.

Add a cup of ice to cool the mixture. When cool add your chicken and brine for 2 hours to 10 hours.

Drain your bird thoroughly, rinse well in cool water, and pat dry before roasting.

The roasting

If you have not brined your bird, make sure that your bird is fully thawed and at room temperature before starting.

Preheat your oven to 350

I like to brush my chicken with melted butter, add a few cloves of garlic under the skin, Season the bird how you would like but remember if you have brined your bird, no need to salt it again.

Make sure that your chicken is in a roaster that leaves room for air circulation.

Roast your bird with the lid on, for 2 hours at 350.

After a 2 hour roast time, pour one cup of liquid into the roaster. The liquid can be one cup of water, or a half cup water and half cup white wine, or a half cup chicken stock and half cup white wine, or a third a cup of water, a third a cup of white wine and a third a cup of stock…you get the idea. Put the lid back on and continue cooking for another hour. (You won’t need to add this cup of liquid if you have brined your bird)

With conventional chickens the joints move freely when the bird is done, free range roasters have much stronger connective tissues so the joints will not move as freely when done as you may expect.

Remove roaster from oven, and let chicken stand for 15-20 minutes before carving. This will allow the meat to reabsorb the juices.

When carving your free range bird, it is very important to cut the meat across the grain. Free ranged chickens have a much more dense muscle tissue (as they run around) so it is important to shorten the strands when carving. Look at the meat that you are about to cut, you should notice the fibers running in one direction like the strings in celery. You want to cut those strands crosswise to shorten them, (like cutting celery across to shorten the strands rather than the length of the celery which would make it really chewy.)

The meat from a free range bird should be dense, more like a conventional turkey than a conventionally raised chicken. You should be satisfied with a smaller portion as the meat is so much denser and the bones make the best soup in the world. The meat from a free range bird will never be slippery and soft like that from a grocery store bird; the texture difference should be very apparent but not “tough”

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