The Food Lab: Roast Chicken | Serious Eats


A few years back, we raised some money and spent some time asking ourselves, “What would a Food Lab television show look like?” Like the column, the show would strive to communicate complex scientific concepts, and more importantly, show how understanding those concepts can improve your cooking.

We pulled together a production team, and enlisted the help of former Serious Eats intern Katie Quinn to up the on-camera charisma factor, we wrote some scripts, and we shot and edited the episodes.

Then…pretty much nobody saw them. This was our own fault—due to a partnership we made to get the series funded, we were unfortunately required to distribute them behind a paywall. That contract has since ended, and we’re in the clear to do with them as we please. So here we are, releasing them to you one-by-one, for free.

In this episode, Kenji and Katie talk about roasting chickens, specifically spatchcocked chicken. Spatchcocked chicken has been split down its back (the easiest way is to cut out its backbone with a pair of sturdy kitchen shears). This process helps the chicken cook more evenly, increases the amount of crispy skin, and leads to record-fast cook times. Bonus: if learn how to do this to a chicken, you’ve got the skills to roast the fastest, crispest, juiciest spatchcock Thanksgiving turkey, too.


Kenji’s channel:

See More Like This!
The Food Lab Episode 1: Cheeseburgers:
The Food Lab Episode 2: Steak Lies:
The Food Lab Episode 3: Emulsions:

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Serious Eats is a leading resource for all things food and drink: meticulously tested recipes that really work; in-depth, science-based explanations of cooking techniques; detailed reviews of cooking equipment; and guides to ingredients, dishes, and cuisines. We bring a democratic yet scientific approach to cooking the best dishes, busting food myths, and delivering strong opinions on what you should eat next, where, when, and why.



  • You folks have the most instructive and entertaining cooking videos ever. It took me years to discover pasteurization times and then doing the spatchcock format for the chicken. And I only learned about high oven temps a couple weeks ago! So i know your information is spot on. I can't wait to see more of your videos. Really really well done. Congratulations for being so awesome!

    okbookguy 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Kenji in the dungeon, stroking a rubber chicken. Just call him "Henji."

    Lane Hartwell 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I would definitely watch this show. Katie + Kenji = amazing!

    Jake Thomas 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • the host is so beautiful but change a better shoe to match your pretty face pls.
    dont use same old cheap shoe everytime for the show

    wang yiming 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Just done this dish! Tasted great but it isn’t as easy to serve at the table; it’s harder to detach clean pieces of meat than with the traditional method

    Will B 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • 7:55 – but if you set it to 500F and throw the chicken in there, why would it take 45 mins to reach 150F? Am I missing something?

    DrE38 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Maybe it’s the pandemic me speaking but watching this older video of two people standing so close together is making me nervous

    Ran 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • If you're spatchcocking, why not go with low temp in the beginning adding really high temp at the end to finish the skin?

    Uros Marjanovic 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Incredibly underrated!

    What's Cam Cooking? 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Cooking to 150 doesn't work. You will have raw chicken unless you're cooking some sort of miniature bird.

    Jacob Holler 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • "Brining and V-Racks are…strictly for the birds!"

    Ummm, Chicken is a bird. Just saying. >.>

    gojiack 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I lasted 30 seconds watching these two……man they are annoying!

    StormLaker1975 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I always dry brine which is better than wet brining, also i spatchcock all my poultry, and leave it on the counter to warm up for 2-3 hours with a big bag of ice covering the breast. That way when i cook it, the breast i want around 155-157 (it will just hit 160-162 Perfect every time), and the dark meat hits 180-190. Yes trust me cook your dark meat to that temp and it will come out so much better.

    PUNKem733 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I love this Recipe

    Cooking with gautam 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Katie has nice legs…

    Andrew Karczewski 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • please tell me they are married

    Buddha Linkola 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Just go to Costco and get one for 5 bucks

    Drool Alot 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • This reminds me of Good Eats but with more tasty science. Subscribed

    whitekaminari 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Two things one touches chicken not washing hands touch’s salt grinder. 2. To show how juice it was they went for the thigh which will always be the juicy part and didn’t show how juicy it actually was.

    kdogggggggggggg 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • i wonder what a chicken would think if it could understand this video

    Grow Bot 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • i see the issue…none of these things are chicken…that’s a mop silly …and that one’s toothpaste…stupid face

    The Art School Rejects 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • All the best chefs in the world are liquid brining. And here you are saying it makes chicken watery 🙈

    Tavish Bhasin 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Not sold on the whole dry brining craze. The meat is always dry and tough. Wet bringing is way better. Meat has plenty of flavor; a little extra moisture won't dilute it.

    Aaron 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • God damn he’s cute.

    Shaun Pattinson 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I use this exact method when roasting my chickens and I've always tempted to 165. However, even at 165, I've found that the meat ends up being chewier, stringy, and kind of elastic in texture as well as some parts especially near the bone are quite pink or red and very difficult to remove from the bone. After a lot of 165 chickens, I started letting them go to 180/190 and they turn out much better texturally. What's happening here?

    Alexander Rink 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • 500 degrees for 45 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!! Absolutely no. it will burn

    Hungabuna Bunga 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Guys I love serious eats. I really really do. I have the food lab book, read most* of it and follow the website. But I have to admit, you're probably not going for what they've got going on in the bon appetit channel but they are kicking arse. Mainly I think because a lot of it is off the cuff.

    Jer K 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Wondering if it's really getting the chicken into the preheated oven directly from the fridge or do you bring it up to room temp first? His earlier videos and articles used room temp chicken and it was the same 500 Deg oven for the same 45 mins. Hmmm ..

    gwloo 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • What is the guys main?

    o0TraceuR0o 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I’ve said this before, but these two are simply a great combination. I love this.

    David Slone 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • You see theres your problem. I don't cook my chicken and It's never dry!

    Santouche Santouche 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • 6:11 – They definitely had a giggle at the word "spatchcock" and edited it out.

    Colin A 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • top class, thank you so much!

    carpentrydesign dovetail 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • Yeah these guys need to stay out of the kitchen, know nothing; brine your chicken folks don't listen to these idiots

    Black Stars 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • How does rendering the fat help crispen the skin (re her comment about the skin being on the surface)? Fat helps to crispen…

    Eddie 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I thought that "HEN-TA-DENT" tube said "HENTAI-DENT" and I was like oooh boy I know where this is going

    Gilgamesh McBallin 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • This is tough to watch – feels like an old school Bill Nye video.

    eMeeeezy 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I love Kenji, but Katie's voice makes my head hurt. Every time.

    Lukas 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • was he stroking his chicken next to katie?

    khanh doan 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • I can't help but to wonder does this work for Turkey to?

    Take Flight Task 22/10/2022 am4:04
  • your chicken (at the end), looks terrible – sorry to say!
    softskin – not even the legs seem jucy – why didn't you show the brest ? 😉

    chefalbino 22/10/2022 am4:04