Simple Cooking: Bacon Fat Roasted Chicken

By Caitlin Klein in Food on May 30, 2012 4:00PM

Roasting a chicken is so easy. We've shown you how to roast a bird on this site before, but what we haven't discussed is that you can substitute different fats for the traditional olive oil or butter. Here, we roast a chicken with bacon fat. The result is juicy meat with crispy, salty, bacon-y skin.

Dost thou keep thine leftover bacon fat? If not, you should start. Here's how: find a glass jar (old pickle or large jam jars work great). Make sure it's clean. After you cook your weekend bacon, allow the fat to cool so you don’t scald your little wrists off. Using a funnel (or not, if you’re a gamblin’ man), pour the still-liquid bacon fat into the jar. The jar can be kept in the fridge for up to a month. Some cooks we know say you can keep it longer - some people even say it will keep indefinitely! We don't know about that, so we say just check the fat with your trusty nose and eyes to make sure it doesn’t smell or look weird.

Chicagoist's Bacon Fat Roasted Chicken

Ingredients
1 small-medium chicken, 2.5-3.5 pounds
4-6 teaspoons reserved bacon fat
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 ½ Tablespoons black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 Tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (try basil, thyme, parsley, and/or oregano)

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Unwrap your chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Some people say rinse before your pat, and some other people say rinsing is going to give your whole sink a nice thin sheen of salmonella. Your call. We skip the rinsing and just pat dry.
3. Using your fingers ease the chicken’s skin away from its body. It’s easiest to start this at the neck hole, breast side up. Rub your fingers downward along the breasts (hold your jokes, boys), loosening the skin as you go. Repeat on the thighs.
4. Tuck the teaspoons of bacon fat into the skin pockets you’ve created. Reserve one of the teaspoons. With your fingers, rub the bacon fat onto the top of the skin. This will help your spices stick.
5. Tuck the chopped fresh herbs in the skin pockets too.
6. Mix together the salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Thoroughly coat the chicken with the mixture. You will use less salt in the mixture than you usually would, because the bacon fat has lots of salt in it already.
7. Place the chicken in a roasting pan breast side up. If you don’t have a roasting pan, it’s cool to do it on a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for one hour, or until the thickest part of the thigh and breast registers 160-165. Baste once, about 30 minutes in.
8. Remove the bird and let ‘er rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Notes:
-This chicken came from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm, southwest of Chicagoland in Ottawa, Illinois. You can do a meat CSA through this farm, and they’ll deliver your meat goodies to a couple of locations around Chicago. Check it out.
-This chicken isn’t trussed, and the wings aren’t tucked. We did it that way because we like crispier wings and legs. Here's how to truss and tuck if you like juicier wings and legs.
-We get it, lots of people are over the bacon craze. But give this chicken a try, and maybe you’ll change your mind.