You can easily get the all-over crispy goodness of a store-bought rotisserie chicken with a vertical roaster.
They’re inexpensive, easy to find and easy to use.
A Norpro vertical roaster will set you back about $12 at your local Ace hardware store. Or you can go for the gold, and spring for the original Spanek vertical roaster (sometimes available at Sur la Table on Fourth Street) or online from Spanek for a whopping $16.95.
They’re easy to use: put the chicken on the roaster, set it in the oven, and come back an hour later.
Easy to clean: they’re dishwasher safe.
You can get fancy and marinate the chicken, give it a spice rub, or bathe it in olive oil before you roast it. But salt and pepper – or nothing at all – still delivers a wonderful, crispy, roast chicken.
If you’re into gravy, the Norpro roaster collects the fats and juices into a small pan. The Spanek roaster sits in your own roasting pan or skillet where the fat and juices collect for gravy or other cooking projects. If you think fat is evil, lucky you – with a vertical roaster the rendered fat drains away from the chicken as it cooks.
With the Spanek roaster, you can toss potatoes or other vegetables in the pan with the chicken where they’ll roast in the meat juices, seasonings, and fat. Don’t worry about the fat — you can drain way any excess drippings — and remember, if you ate this in France, you’d think it was rustic and wonderful.
The Spanek website offers detailed instructions and refinements for searing and roasting chicken, as well as recipes — when you’ve roasted as many birds as they have, the details become important. Still, the beauty of a vertical roaster is that it’s not rocket science. Roast the chicken for an hour; if it’s not brown enough, turn up the heat and carry on until the bird is golden.
Then eat it.
Roasting a Chicken with a Vertical Roaster
- 1 whole chicken
- optional: olive oil, herb or spice rubs
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken and set them aside for another use.
- Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water, then dry with paper towels.
- Season the outside of the chicken with salt, dried herbs or a spice rub (avoid sweet rubs – the sugar will burn as the chicken roasts.) Optional: You may rub the chicken with olive oil before seasoning it, but it’s not really necessary. Even without the additional oil, you’ll get a crispy, golden skin.
- Place the chicken onto the vertical roaster and set it in an ovenproof roasting pan or skillet. Optional: to keep the wing tips from becoming too brown, tuck them underneath the wing as shown in the sideshow.
- Roast for one hour.
- If the skin is not sufficiently brown (and it probably won’t be) increase the oven temperature to 425F and continue roasting, checking at ten-minute intervals, until the chicken is golden brown all over.
Cook’s note: Oven temperatures vary. Chicken is properly cooked when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180F.