Spent less time today than I’d thought I would, but still got some stuff done.
Got the main pieces cut to size. Haven’t prepared the wood for the braces yet – I might switch species and use Walnut on those – haven’t decided yet.
Special thanks to a tip from Bill at The Slightly Confused Woodworker: rubbing end grain down with mineral spirits before planing them makes a HUGE difference!
I cut the arches in the legs. I’m getting better at this, but beyond a doubt the coping saw is the most hated tool in my shop. My new rasps worked fantastic at cleaning up the curve. Actually, I only used the fine one, as the others were more aggressive than I needed.
The plans for this of course include all the measurements. “Space your tenons 1 1/8 inch in from…. The width of the tenons should be 2 1/2″….” Making these measurements is a sure way for me to make mistakes. I spaced my tenons the width of my bevel gauge in from the outside, and set their width at the width of my No. 5 Jack Plane.
This piece is great for a beginner like me. You get to cut quite a few joints, but with most of them any mistakes end up hidden. Those mortise and tenons are wedged, so they will be tight. Plus they fit into a dado underneath, so if you do mess up a little bit no one will see it.
After those were sawed out and cleaned up a little, I marked where the dado will go in the top. I decided it should be set in from the outside the width of the narrower leg of my Carpenter’s Square.
As of now, here’s where I’m at:
I felt like keeping at it, but if I didn’t get a chicken in the oven me and the missus would be mighty hungry later.
Here’s the recipe I follow for a simple roast chicken, borrowed from America’s Test Kitchen.
Set the already thawed out chicken someplace where the dog won’t get to it at least an hour before you plan to start cooking, so it has some time to lose a lot of it’s chill.
Place an empty skillet – preferably cast iron – in the oven, and preheat to 450.
Actually, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, go get one. They’re cheap.
If your oven is like mine, now would be when a careless person would want to remove the batteries from their smoke detectors.
Prep the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Nowadays they recommend you not rinse your chicken in the sink, as this helps spread salmonella everywhere.
Rub the chicken down with olive oil. Some say cooking oil, but I’m hoping for at least a hint of crispy skin, and olive oil has a lower smoking point than other oils.
Apply a rub. I use kosher salt, course ground black pepper, and a spice mix I make up before starting all of this. I usually make more than I need so have some on hand. My mix consists of smoked paprika, cumin and coriander that I toast and grind, granulated garlic, and granulated sugar. I don’t really have set proportions. Start with one part each, and then add more of whatever makes it smell the best.
If you don’t have time to make a rub, just use salt and pepper. It’ll taste fine.
Orient the chicken breast side up, tuck the wings underneath it, toss the giblets into the cavity, and tie up the legs.
While doing all of this, be sure and touch, grab, and otherwise handle every last thing you can find to put your hands on in the kitchen. If you skip this step, you won’t have near sufficient fear of salmonella to disinfect the whole kitchen with bleach later, and you’ll surely get sick and die.
Once the oven is at temp and the chicken is prepped, remove the very hot roasting pan, place the chicken on it breast side up, and return it all to the oven. The hot roasting pan helps heat the underside a bit more rapidly, which results in a more evenly cooked bird.
Roast the chicken for 25 minutes, then check the temp. The breast meat needs to reach an internal temperature of 120 during this stage.
Now would be a good time to find a gallon of bleach and start decontaminating your kitchen.
Once the breast meat is at 120, turn the oven off, leaving the chicken inside.
Let it sit there another 25 minutes and check the temp again. When the breast meat reaches 160, the chicken is cooked.
Remove it from the oven, cover it with foil, and let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes, so it’s cool enough to handle, one, and second all the juices have time to be reabsorbed into the meat.
Carve, and enjoy.