How a Blow Dryer Really Does Make the Crispiest Roast Chicken
Honestly, nobody I know can resist crispy crunchy chicken skin, so when I saw food writer Helen Rosner’s recipe for Roast Chicken a la Dyson, I was beyond intrigued. While she wasn’t using a Dyson hair dryer to cook the meat, she did make use of the tool to “remove all moisture from a chicken to maximize skin crispiness” before roasting it. This sounded like magic to my ears, so I used her recipe. Twice. In one week. Here’s what happened.
Starting with a whole raw chicken, I covered the outside with a generous snowfall of kosher salt. The recipe calls for placing the salted chicken on a wire rack and letting it dry-brine in the fridge overnight. Because I don’t own a wire rack, I improvised placing a saucer upside down inside a large plate to serve as a platform of sorts. I was hoping that the air would do its work on both sides, but when I pulled the bird out the next morning, I realized it didn’t. On one side, the skin was translucent and firm just like Rosner said it would be. The other side was squishy and still wet, so I flipped the bird over allowing it to sit in the refrigerator for another day. In the future, I will just invest in a wire rack to avoid this hiccup.
Once both sides of the chicken were dry to touch, I grabbed my Conair (Rosner says any handheld blow-dryer with a cool-air setting will do) from the bathroom. I wasn’t exactly sure how long I needed to blow dry the chicken skin, but I clocked it at about 20 minutes. The roasting veggies and brined chicken then are slathered in oil and popped into a cast iron skillet. Here’s where things get interesting: The recipe calls for increasing the oven’s temperature every 10 minutes, starting at 350ºF and ending at 450ºF. This is key for slowly cooking the meat while rendering the fat from the skin, so it can crisp and caramelize evenly.
I’ve roasted chicken multiple times before trying this recipe, buy let’s just say, there’s no going back. The skin crackles upon biting. It reminds me of snacking on pork rinds as a kid. As for the meat, it remained juicy and flavorful. Though I originally wondered if I was shaking on too much salt, I have to say, brining the chicken intensified the flavors more than I expected. Each bite had a subtle saltiness. This recipe is so scrumptious that I doubt I will ever resort to store-bought rotisserie chicken ever again.
What’s your no-fail way of making crispy chicken? Let us know @BritandCo.
(Photo via kiboka / Getty Images)