Cooking Free Range Poultry
Free-range chickens are much more like wild birds, in that their weight bearing muscles, their legs, actually bear their weight. There's an intensity of flavor in an exercised chicken thigh that's far beyond what a flaccid thigh can attain. One thigh can give large amounts of flavor to a batch of chicken soup. And the breast of free range chicken is a special, sensual flavor and texture experience.
That's all assuming you learn to cook chicken with a NEW SET OF RULES!
1 - Free-range meat is lean, and that means that slower cooking times yield better results. Slow and low brings about a sublime roasted free-range chicken, where it would make a conventional one soggy and overdone.
2 - Skinless Breasts - Free-range chicken breasts are so moist and tenderly textured if they are DONE RIGHT! Here's the Rules... Hot sear (pan-fry with butter or oiled BBQ)for 2 minutes per side ...and then in to a 250F oven (convection if you have it) for 20 Minutes. It doen't get any better than this!!
3 - Leg and Thighs - I've had consistently awesome results just like this... season, lay skin-side up and uncovered, then just bake(I use convection) at 350F for 2 hours. The skin crisps up so nice and the meat is SO tender and delicious!
4 - Many BBQ enthusiasts agree that the very best way to cook free-range chicken is by using a rotisserie. The chicken that results has crispy skin, moist meat and that trademark smoky flavor. Cooking chicken by rotisserie not only allows the bird to roast slowly but also drains away the extra fat.
5 - Our all time favorite roasting method is also on the BBQ - but much more convenient to set up - Beer-can Chicken - and although they say you must use beer, works beautifully with what ever marinade or liquid you prefer to use! The indirect dry heat on the outside make a beautiful even crispy skin and the flavourful steam frothing out of the can in the inside of the body cavity make the meat unbelievably moist and suculent. Juices will actually be running out of the breast meat when you slice into it! This also works in your oven and it workes for turkey as well! See our Recipes
6 - Remember that doneness also has a lot to do with the size of the bird or the pieces - follow the usual internal temperature guidelines until you figure out the time needed for the amount of meat you are cooking - often it longer than usual chicken recipies, as they assume you are using small conventional fyer size birds