When you are down-sizing and decluttering as we are right now, you open a lot of boxes that haven’t been opened since the day they were packed. You also dust off a lot of things that have been lurking on a high shelf in the garage. The most common response to a new discovery is probably to ask why in the world did you save [fill in the blank] in the first place. There are some items that you are pleased to see, and that bring back fond memories. The initial response is usually to keep such treasures even though the more reasoned reaction should be to toss them out or at least give them away.
There is another category of stuff: things that you want to try out or take on another spin before you make a decision. We found one of those in the garage. We had already brought it with great care from the family farm several years ago, and we had even used it several times before banishing it to the garage.
It was my mother-in-law’s Sunbeam Carousel Rotisserie Broiler, complete with a pamphlet of recipes and illustrations of happy chickens, pigs, and cows. I’m not sure how old the broiler is, but I would guess that it came from the 1960s. You can buy one on eBay or from Amazon, complete with original box, for $90-125. Mom-Mom’s is in remarkably good shape. The electrical cord, although old and without any of the modern safety features, is not frayed. The broiler turns and heats up when you plug it in.
The process for broiling chicken with this device is amazingly simple: Truss the chicken as you might for roasting it in the oven. If you’ve never trussed a chicken, Julia Child describes a method in volume I of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Jacques Pepin describes three methods in his classic, La Technique. Two of those methods require a trussing needle, but the task can be done simply with kitchen twine. Put your favorite flavorings in the body cavity before you truss it. I used butter, lemons and freeze-dried lemon powder. Slather the bird with melted butter. Put it on the rotisserie, legs down. Put on the lid, and plug it in. The suggested cooking times are even printed on the metal and glass-domed lid, so you don’t have to do much thinking. You can use a roasting thermometer if you prefer. For that, you will need to unplug the rotisserie, take off the lid, and preferably use an instant-read probe thermometer.
We had a five-pound chicken in the freezer. That’s about as big a bird as you can cook with the rotisserie. The chicken cooked to a beautiful golden brown and was juicy and delicious.
One thing is certain: if we spend as much time with every re-discovered treasure in our garage as we have with the rotisserie broiler we will never get down-sized or decluttered.
- Rinse and pat dry with paper towels a good-sized chicken, making sure that the bird has been completely defrosted and the gizzard, liver, heart, and neck have been removed from the body cavity.
- Remove the first joint of the wings with poultry shears.
- Salt and pepper the body cavity generously, and, if you like, stuff it loosely with sliced lemons.
- Holding a piece of kitchen twine in your fingers, stretch out both arms. Cut the string to that length.
- Find the middle of the string and catch it under the tail. Cross the string to both drumsticks. Wrap the string around both drumsticks and pull tight so that the drumsticks come together and the body cavity closes.
- Pass the two ends of the sting up the sides of the bird. Then turn the bird over and fasten the wings against the body with loops of the string in the bend of the wing. Make sure the wing is held tightly against the body. Tie the two ends of the string together and trim off long ends. The bird should be a compact packet that will fit on the rotisserie spit safely.
Carousel Rotisserie Broiled Chicken
- 5 pound chicken
- salt and pepper
- melted butter
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Season the cavity with salt, pepper, sliced lemons and melted butter
- Remove the tips of the wings of the chicken at the first joint. Truss the chicken with kitchen twine according to instructions above. Make sure that the chicken is a compact bundle so that it can turn freely in the rotisserie without brushing against the heating element. Brush the whole surface generously with melted buter. Add ½ cup water or chicken stock to the drip pan that holds the spit and basket. Put the chicken, legs down, on the spit. You may need to use the basket accessory to stabilize the bird. Cover with the domed lid. Turn on the broiler by plugging it in. Make sure the chicken turns freely and clears the burner element.
- Broil for 15-17 minutes per pound, checking through the dome frequently
- When the chicken is done, unplug the rotisserie; remove the chicken from the spit being careful not to burn yourself; remove the string and lemons if you are using them; let rest for 5 minutes; carve and serve. .