There is nothing better than a perfectly roasted chicken with tender, juicy meat and crispy skin. I've found the easiest and most foolproof way to achieve the perfect roasted bird is to do something called the Frog Cut, named so because the chicken ends up looking kind of like a frog.
You've probably heard of spatchcocking (cutting out the backbone then flattening), which is another great alternative, but I think the frog cut is superior for a few reasons:
- You don't have to remove any part of the chicken
- You get to eat the super tender muscles along the spine
- You get to eat ALL of the crispy delicious skin
- It's easier to frog cut than spatchcock
You can frog cut a chicken with a good sharp knife or a pair of high quality kitchen shears (these are my favorites), and the cuts you make require less force than it takes to cut out the backbone.
I buy a lot of pastured chickens from my local farmer, and I find this method of roasting helps the dark meat to be nice and tender. Sometimes you may find that the dark meat in the legs of pastured birds is tough, but not if you cook them this way!
The great news is that you can dress your bird up any way you like with any type of seasoning you like. My favorite way to season a chicken for roasting is in the style of Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa, which I share in my print book Latin American Paleo Cooking. It features a lovely blend of herbs including huacatay (black mint), seasonings, and a special type of pepper called aji panca which has a unique flavor without any heat (but of course I also offer an AIP option). Be sure to pre-order now! I'll be providing a special gift to everyone who pre-orders, details TBD, so save your receipt ;-)
For a simple seasoning paste you can use a blend of about 1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, the juice of 1 lime or lemon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 to 1 Tbsp minced garlic, and about 2 tsp of your favorite dried herbs or 2 Tbsp fresh herbs. Rub it generously both under the skin and all over the outside, and let it sit for a few hours or up to overnight.
The roasting time may seem like a lot, but it is necessary for tender juicy meat with crispy skin. If you are roasting a smaller bird, you may want to check it after the first 45 min, and ever 15 min thereafter.
After you've devoured all of the meat and skin, save the carcass for a batch of bone broth. I love to make mine in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, here is my tutorial.
If you are in need of a great roasting pan I am so IN LOVE with my Norpro stainless steel multi roaster which I got last Thanksgiving because I had a 24lb bird and refused to buy a non-stick pan. The lid can be used as a 2nd smaller roaster (and actually is what I use when roasting a chicken like this) and the rack fits in either the bottom or the lid. I love that there is NO Teflon or non-stick coating, and I have had no trouble cleaning any part of this set. You can even use the lid on the stovetop, to deglaze after roasting to make a sauce. I am so happy with this roaster set and it is the only one I can recommend after searching to find one that is non-toxic and functions the way I need it to, and also holds a HUGE turkey!
Here is a collage showing the cutting process - apologies for the quality, but it was too dark to use my real camera so these are iPhone only, but you get the point ;-)
How to Frog Cut a Roast Chicken For Crispy Skin and Juicy Meat
Forget spatchcocking, next time do the "frog cut" on your chicken for even cooking, juicy meat, no wasted parts, and all the crispy skin!
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs
- 3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 2-3 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 turnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
- several Tbsp cooking fat of choice (coconut oil, lard, etc.) to coat the vegetables
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, pastured lard, or duck fat
- 1/2 tsp fine Himalayan salt
- optional: juice of 1 lime
- optional: minced garlic, dried herbs, or minced fresh herbs
- Place the chicken breast up with the legs facing you. Using a sharp knife, cut through the skin between the breast and leg, exposing the hip joint. Cut into the joint to loosen the leg so you can press it flat to the side. Repeat on the other side.
- Using the knife or a good pair of kitchen shears, cut through the ribs toward the shoulder joint to create a "hinge" at the shoulder. Lift the breast up away from you so that the interior cavity is now all facing up, and simply flip over, so that the interior cavity is facing down and the breast, back, and skin side of the legs are all facing up.
- Use the heels of your palms to firmly press down on the breast to break the bones and flatten it.
- If desired, place the chicken on top of a bed of vegetables - a simple suggestion is described above. Make sure everything is lightly covered with a cooking fat like coconut oil, lard, or olive oil. Alternatively, you can place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. I use this 2-piece roasting pan; you can use either piece depending on the size of what you are roasting. For chicken, I use the shallower "lid", fill it with veggies, and lay the chicken on top so that it is above the sides of the pan, which helps the skin crisp up.
- At the minimum rub the skin of the chicken down with olive oil, lard, or duck fat with the salt. If you want more flavor, mix together the fat, salt, lime juice, garlic, and herbs in a small bowl then rub the bird down. Note that the garlic may burn, so omit if desired.
- Heat the oven to 400F. Roast until the juices run clear, a thermometer reads 165F in the thickest part of the thigh and breast, and the skin is crispy. Check it after 1 hour. I usually roast mine for 90-110 minutes so the skin is EXTRA crunchy.
- Enjoy all of your delicious juicy meat, crispy skin, and roasted veggies! Save the carcass in a zip top freezer bag for your next batch of bone broth (tutorial here).
Cook time: 01 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 1 hrs. 5 mins.Tags: paleo, AIP, gluten-free, egg-free, autoimmune protocol,