I love chicken- but it has to be done the right way.- Chicken is a difficult bird to cook. The perfect chicken will have a crispy skin and a moist, meaty breast. Most chickens are the opposite- the skin is moist and the breast is dry, and over cooked.
Such dry chickens are not only unpleasant to eat- but are the types of meats that can become stuck causing what we call a food bolus. With a food bolus you feel as if you swallowed a golf ball. Nothing else will go down. Sometimes you can’t even swallow saliva.
You may have experienced a partial one of these when you swallowed a piece of meat and you could feel it go down. When it gets stuck- big problem. My patients with the LAP-BAND must have moist chicken- dry chicken will become stuck and make an otherwise pleasant evening turn into a retching mess.
Chicken recipes they strive for this nirvana of chicken – sometimes with complicated instructions – but there are two methods to cook the perfect chicken. One is cooking the chicken Sous Vide, and then you have the perfectly cooked chicken needing only a quick fry to make the skin crispy. For those who have skinless chicken breasts (no accounting for taste) – Sous Vide is the perfect method to prepare the chicken.
For those who, think that a crispy chicken skin represents the best pleasure – cook the chicken on a rotisserie. You can buy rotisserie chickens from the supermarket- but often the skin is moist with fat, and the breast is overcooked, although not dry. If you have a home rotisserie unit you can save this most delightful part for yourself (and once you have had perfect chicken skin, crispy- you will never want to go back.
For those who believe that chicken skin is evil- I would ask you to produce one scientific paper showing such- you can’t find one. The reason you cannot find one is because they don’t exist. They don’t exist because there is nothing wrong with chicken skin – nothing. It will not raise your cholesterol it will not raise your low density lipoprotein (LDL- remember, bad is lousy – so lousy for LDL and “happy” for HDL). You might read “summary “ articles from National councils or consensus reports- but there is not one shred of evidence in the scientific literature that the skin of chicken is “bad” for you – in any manner, anywhere. Or you can listen to Rocco – a chef with no medical training who wrote a best seller, or you can listen to Dr. Oz, who can’t cite a reference either. Or you can enjoy chicken skin knowing that a guy who does weight loss for a living says you can eat it.
Buy a rotisserie unit. There are a bunch of them out there- it is become quite popular, although I cannot tell you the plus or minus of any one of those units- I can tell you that many do not make the chicken hot enough to crisp the skin. What to do? Borrow one from a friend- ask around (most of them are in closets) and try one. If a local fancy food store is demonstrating them- try their product.
I have a 1957 Roto Broil 400 – it is as old as I am but works great (like me). There are a bunch of great brands out there today- and if any of you have them and they work- please comment.
Until then- your mom was right- the best thing is in the skin – but not the vegetable skin – it is the chicken skin (oh, and pork belly skin is pretty good too).
Recipe for these is pretty simple. Have a fresh, whole chicken – remove all the giblets and other parts. Rub the chicken with extra virgin olive oil. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic granules. No need to stuff the chicken.
Truss the chicken- and place in the unit for 15 minutes per pound. Warning- chicken skin is addicting.
If you have a home rotisserie unit and it works well for you – please comment! Let me know the name, the make and how you make your perfect chicken.
Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, then became a renowned weight loss surgeon, and a leading advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he advocates teaching people to improve their health through their food. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcom Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.