As a family of four we rely pretty heavily on the pre-prepared entree’s available at our local Trader Joe’s. Put simply no other grocery store that I know of has prepared food as tasty and fairly priced as Trader Joe’s. One of my wife’s favorites is a whole marinated chicken meant for the roasting pan. The Trader Joe’s Spatchcocked Lemon Rosemary Chicken is a spatchcocked whole chicken about 2-3 pounds. It is vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag filled with a marinade and a few lemon slices.
Rather than using the oven I was able to achieve crispy dark brown skin while keeping the at moist and tender by using the air fryer. This was a perfect application for the air fryer because it requires less energy to heat the small fryer compartment than a full size oven and the fryer is easier to clean than the glass roasting dish we normally would use.
My air fryer is on the smaller side but the chicken was barely able to squeeze into the fryer basket.
The chicken is brined and marinated which will give you some margin of error to avoid overcooking the chicken. The first 30 minutes of cooking are hands off. Expect to keep an eye on your chicken during the last 10-15 minutes.
How to cook the chicken:
Put the chicken in the fryer. Set the fryer to 250F and 20 minutes. Do this to dry out the skin in preparation for browning and to bring up the internal temperature of the chicken.
After the first 20 minutes increase the heat to 350F and cook another 10 minutes to brown the skin.
After the 2nd round check the chicken to make sure the skin doesn’t look like it is going to burn. The meat will likely not be cooked through yet. For the 3rd round in the fryer set 10-20 minutes at 300F-350F. Bring up the internal temperature of the meat to a safe temperature. Peek in the fryer occasionally to avoid burning the skin.
Most cooking resources suggest you bring the temperature up to 155F and then take the chicken out and let it rest. During the resting time the internal temperature should continue to rise up to 165F and the meat juices will absorb back into the meat to make the chicken moist. Using this method I have found that while the chicken is indeed juicier I might come across small areas of the chicken that appear underdone a little — think 90% of desired doneness. My wife is a little paranoid about food safety so we sacrifice juiciness for doneness. I cook the chicken up to the safe 165F temperature then let it rest. Since the chicken was brined in the bag a little bit of overcooking does not adversely affect the end product all that much.