We have noticed and you have commented on our chickens being too tough. I suspect this had to do first with the stress of the drought then the abrupt transition to a rainy and warm winter. Chickens are very sensitive to the changes in the weather and these changes apparently caused undue stress leading to toughness or rubbery textures. It seems to be getting better, but we tried a different approach to baking the chicken which brought good results. Here’s what we did.
We added some pointers in our last newsletter, namely brining and slow cooking. Add one more technique which will eliminate the necessity of the others, tested recently with excellent results and easier/quicker than the previously mentioned. Attribution to Honi’s original edition of The Joy of Cooking, passed down to her by her mother long ago. Preheat your oven to 450. Rub butter over the whole chicken and season it. I used Nature’s Seasons then added dried sage to the cavity. Set the chicken on 2 layers of heavy duty foil, large enough so that the foil may be crimped at the edges to form a tent around the chicken. Add a little water at bottom to promote moisture. You do not want to wrap the chicken tightly in foil - the idea is to create some contained steam within the “tent”.
The rest is easy. Bake it for 1 to 2 hours, then test its doneness by wiggling the leg. If it nearly falls off, it’s ready. Be careful not to get a steam burn as you unfold the foil. Here’s what surprised me — the skin was crusty brown and delicious. I expected a soft bland skin because of the steam method of cooking, so this was a bonus. And the chicken was as tender as could be.