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December 18, 2019 46 mins

Host Michael Ruhlman speaks w/ chef Jonathan Waxman about his recently shuttered Barbuto. Also, chef Waxman generously breaks down exactly how to cook his famous roast chicken.

Then Michael is joined by his wife, Ann Hood as they attempt to duplicate the magic of Barbuto's roast chicken in their own home kitchen.


Ann Hood's "Kitchen Yarns": https://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Yarns-Notes-Life-Love/dp/0393249506


Michael Ruhlman's "From Scratch": https://www.amazon.com/Scratch-Meals-Recipes-Dozens-Techniques/dp/1419732773


Michael Ruhlman's Spoon designed for basting: https://www.jbprince.com/utensils/dalton-ruhlman-medium-offset-spoon-9-in.asp

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See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:10):
A casual restaurant in New York City's West Village, recently closed.
The week before it did, however, fans lined up around
the block for a chance to have one last meal there.
Why because Barbudo and the roast chicken is the meal
that made me move to New York City, and so
I have to have it one last time. So we're
in the line. Could have people been lining up since

(00:31):
like four thirty. We're calling it the last Supper because
it's the last night that they're serving dinner. So I
had to come back for one last time. Tramshed. I'm
a surgeon last night for a neighborhood institution, and my
name is Emily, and I'm a student and podcaster. I'm Anna,
also a student. I'm in line because when I heard
that Barbuda was closing, I was obviously very sad. So

(00:52):
it's my last chance to get the iconic carbonarapasta. I've
never heard an ill word spoken about this restaurant. To me,
it was the perfect restaurant. First, its atmosphere was unique.
Located in what was formerly a garage, it grew naturally
out of the funky uneven West Village pavement. Oh we're welcome,
and you kind of feel like you can wear whatever

(01:14):
you want coming here, And some days that comes super
casually and my yoga pants, and other days I come
like really New York dressed up. Um Barbudo is such
a fun restaurant that I come to the groups of
friends with on date. I love this location. I mean,
having the ability to open up the walls the street
is amazing, you know, it's just a great space. The

(01:35):
whole garage open to the outdoors for the summer's just special.
And and in sense of hanging out in the afternoon,
a lazy afternoon with wine and pasta. What could be that? Oh?
My I and my wife Anne knew those lazy afternoons. Well.
The place all but demanded that we extend our conversation,
stick around, linger to people, watch talk with friends eating there,

(01:58):
or even to the chef owner of Jonathan Waxman himself,
who had an unofficial office at a table just behind
the wood barrier across from the entryway and host stand.
While the atmosphere was endlessly convivial, people of course stayed
for the food. I think I'm gonna eat for two today,
even though I'm not pregnant. Yeah, I like the fact
that it's always had quite a small menu potatoes, the potatoes,

(02:21):
and then if it's on the menu, the brussels sprouts,
like there's a shave brussel sprout salad, baghetti with panchetta
and bacon. It's the carbonara exactly, the carbonara, carbonara, kill salad,
hangar steak, and then perhaps the nooki and then usually
a side of pasta, which is where it starts going wrong.
I've been here and ordered about three times more food

(02:43):
than anyone should order before, so I think we've been
times where three pastas have been on the table, a
pizza for the table, and as well as the chicken,
roast chicken chicken. I always have roast chicken. The Barbuda
roast chicken, deservedly renowned, was grilled in a wood fired
oven in the open kitchen. It arrived at the table
with beautifully golden brown skin and a vivid salt severity

(03:06):
essentially and her vinigrette. But what about trying to make
the barbudo roast chicken at home? Do any of the
super fans ever attempt this? I wish it's New York.
I use my oven for shoe storage. I grew up
watching Sex in the City, and I used to think
that Carrie was kind of a train wreck of a
woman until she said, this is New York. I don't cook.

(03:29):
I use my oven for shoe storage, and I was
I immediately stopped on my track. I thought, this woman
is a genius. I take back everything I've ever said
about her. Um, I'm gonna start doing that now. So
I don't really cook, but you know that's what restaurants
are for. Welcome to From Scratch. My name is Michael Rohlman,
and I've spent the last twenty years in professional kitchens,

(03:51):
writing about and with the world's best chefs. From Scratches
a podcast about cooking. In each episode, we'll talk with
one chef and one non chef about the same theme.
The great thing about the cooking life is that you
never stop learning. In this show, I want to go
to the edges of what I know and then go

(04:12):
beyond together with you, with all chefs, home cooks, and
everyone who cares about food and cooking. Today's theme is roast,
and it will explore an overlook technique one even Waxman
doubted at first, but then embraced, one that would be
the important takeaway from me. So this episode is about

(04:35):
many things, all of which came through looking into the
technique of roasting. What is a restaurant? Why is food important?
How does food help us address bigger issues of our humanity?
Ken a husband and wife, one of whom is a
severe recipe follower, actually cooked together? And what really is

(04:57):
a secret to a magical roasted chicken. Jonathan Waxman, who
in nineteen seventy nine helped to open Michaels in Santa Monica, California,
would be the chef who introduced the country to what
would be called California cuisine and arguably initiating the food
revolution of the nineteen eighties and nineties. He would cook

(05:19):
at that other seminole California restaurant, Chaponnese, then become a
star chef at Jams in Manhattan. He knew opportunity when
it was near. It was he, after all, who told
a broke, unemployed chef named Thomas Keller that there happened
to be a property for sale called the French Laundry
in Yanfel, California. In two thousand two, Waxman opened the
Posh California Casual Fine dining restaurant Washington Park in Greenwich Village.

(05:44):
Then just two years later he would reverse course and
open the super casual Barbudo in the Far West Village.
He wanted to simplify his life, but I didn't want
to compromise. So how did that work? So I decided
that I would strip away all pretend. I'd have one fork,
one knife, in one spoon. I'd have one wine glass,

(06:04):
one water glass, no table claws, one napkin that wasn't
a nice napkin, but not too nice a napkin. And
I wanted the menu to be stripped down, to be
so simple, simple that it was kind of like the
way I cook at home. You know. It would be
purchased from the fishmonger, lightly grill, put it on a
plate with olive oil, Lemon Parsley called a day. I

(06:27):
didn't know if it was gonna work. Um, I didn't
know people would salve it. I didn't know any thing
except that I felt in my gut that's what I
wanted to do, and thankfully it worked. Yeah, but you
know it, Michael, Honestly, it was a real um, it
was a real experiment. It was it was something that

(06:48):
could have seriously backfired. I mean, no one could have come.
People say like, oh, I didn't. It also made a
conscious decision not to have anything over nineteen dollars the
menu at the beginning, and that pissed everybody off because
they said, you know, what are you doing. You know,
you've got from you know, a six million dollar wine
cellar and all the stuff at Washington Park and you know,
the beautiful plates and gorgeous uh you know, chairs and

(07:11):
onyx bar to this very simplistic scenario. And then I
realized that, you know, people don't look at any of
those things. They don't really care about that stuff. No
one looks at a fancy ceiling or a fancy floor.
People don't care what kind of lights are on the wall.
People don't care what kind of artism that People don't
care about that stuff. And so I started looking at
the word restaurant and getting people's definitions of what it meant.

(07:34):
And at the end of the day, when I realized
that restaurant means to restore one spirit. That's what people
are restaurants for. They're there to get sustenance for the
body that they're getting alcohol maybe, but more importantly, they
were there to forget the day to day woes of
their lives. Well, the day to day Travis or they
were there to celebrate, to engage in conversation. Whether it

(07:57):
was there their teacher, their friend, their lover, what didn't matter.
I wanted an environ where people felt that they could escape,
escape the the rigors or the you know, the difficulties
of the day to day dementia. And I think that
that kind of worked. That kind of worked in a
strange way, And it was a conscious decision on my

(08:17):
part to really make people feel like they were eating
my house. That was really the most important part of
the decision. I really am sad. I really miss it.
It was one of my favorite spots of all of
New York City. Lived across the street. It was. It was,
as you say, a place to restore yourself, place of socialize,
a place to have a great bourbon with a giant

(08:38):
ice cube at the end of the evening. Um, it was,
I think, the perfect restaurant. Well that's that's high praise.
I don't know if I deserve that, but thank you. Um,
you know, it's funny, Michael I. I was talking to
Danny Meyer, who was a big fan of Barbuda and
I'm a big fan of his. And he came for
one of the last meals and he looked at me
and goes the last night of uns Air cafe, he

(09:01):
walked out, started and started crying, and he says, just wait.
It never happened for me. No, No, it didn't happen
at all. And I could be sentimental, might you know?
I find that hard to believe. I could be sentimental
about certain things. My daughter dis graduated from Princeton. I
was very correct. I was very, very very sentimental about that.

(09:23):
Did you feel that I felt good about it? I
felt damn good. I feel I felt like I accomplished something.
And Jennifer Davidson is my GM who was smarter than
anybody and more I think intuitive than anybody described it
as you know, we left on a high note. We
didn't wait for our career to get stale and weird

(09:45):
and bizarre. We left when we need to leave. And
whether there's another Barbuda in the future or the different iteration,
whateverever it is, it leaves a good taste in people's
mind that, yeah, they were smart enough to get out
while they're going was good. They didn't wait for things
to get stale and stupid, and I think everything has

(10:06):
to change. Well, we have to eat three times to day.
We can't help it, you know. If we don't, we
as we perish um. So you might as well make
it good. You might also make it special. Now it
does that to be glorious every time. No, sometimes a

(10:29):
toast and butter can be glorious, you know, it sounds
just a cup of coffee could be glorious. You don't
have to eat at, you know, a three star restaurant
every day of your life. Some people do, actually, but
I don't know how that works. But I think I
find pleasure in the mundane as well as the sublime,
and I think that's I'm pretty lucky that way. Waxman

(10:51):
certainly managed to find a social economic sweet spot with Barbudo.
It was successful from the get go and would have
remained so had the new owners of the building not
told Waxman they had other plans. But Barbudo wasn't only
famous as a social hot spot. It served a dish.
Waxman was most known for the roast chicken and the

(11:11):
oven a cooked him meant everything. If one could imagine
a medieval cooking appliance, and then I added copper and
metal fittings to get it kind of that Game of
Thrones appearance. It's a double decker of him, so it
has a grill at the bottom and it has a

(11:33):
pizza of it on top, and the heat from the
grill actually helps keep the deck of the pizza oven
and helps with the cooking of the chicken. So the
oven itself was a crazy idea I had. I wanted
to get as much firepower in the smallest amount of

(11:54):
space because I'm a chief fast and I wanted to
have one person do the pob of two. The oven
really made it possible to have one person, which was
me for years, without doing everything. Um. It gave me
a grill and ven you work with. It gave me

(12:14):
the situation where I could control the kitchen. But also
I can see what's going on in my dining room
as well, and it's not it's not such a bad
view out these windows. Well, then looking out there's the
panamama of an open, open kitchen. Look here dining room.
They can see the river from here, um, and see
the cars going by, all the all the the west

(12:39):
village folk that should happen in the neighborhood and they
can see the looks on people's faces when they enjoy
their meals. And that's that was my whole point about
having open kitchens, So I wanted people. I wanted just in.
My cooks do not feel like they were a second class,
but they were not segregated, so they're they're public and

(13:03):
also they have a good time. Bright Roberta. When we
come back, we're making the Barbudo roast chicken in my
home kitchen, literally across the street from the earstwhile Barbudo,
and I'll be doing so with my wife and fellow writer,

(13:23):
Ann Hood. Anne Hood is the author of fourteen novels,

(13:56):
four memoirs, and countless articles and essays for the likes
of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and
too many magazines to name. My name is Anne Hood,
and I'm a writer and the lucky wife of Michael Roman.
She and I'm married in the spring of two thousand
seventeen and Abingdon Square in New York City's West Village
and promptly fed ourselves and our family at Barbudo. We

(14:19):
both write about food, no Anne never realized that she did,
and we both love to cook, but never together until now.
I like to use a recipe. So this is giving
me heart palpitation. Well, I know, but we have a
verbal rescipe, just general ideas. I know that this is
the way you should cook for you on me. Jeff
Waxman laid out his top tips for roasting chicken. If

(14:41):
you're roasting chicken at home, what do you recommend people do?
Here's the road. There is no perfect way. It's really goofy.
Number one is how big is a chicken? The size
that I use a three point five to three point
seven five because the chicken is at the maturation level
where the legs, thighs, and breasts are grown to the
sort of a perfect proportion. So when they're roasting in

(15:03):
the oven, the legs don't get overcooked, the breast gets undercooked.
You know, it's everything works perfectly together. Secondarily, so you
have to get the chicken up to temperatures, So sit
outside for an hour. You're not gonna die of salmonella,
trust me, and you're not killing your guests. Let the
chicken sit out for an hour. Also, get it out
of the plastic bag the night before and let it

(15:23):
send in the refrigerator. Without the plastic bag on it.
And then seasoning the chicken is equally as important as
everything else. And when seasoning it, you need to not
put salt and pepper on a raw chicken. That doesn't work.
It just falls right off. So you have to rub
the chicken. And that's where gloves come in. Handy or
a basting brush, and you want to baste the chicken

(15:45):
or rub it with olive oil and then with your
opposite hand sprinkle what I call broadcast from very high
height like a foot and a half by the chicken.
Sprinkled chicken, the chicken with salt so the chicken gets
evenly coated. And then amperature of the oven to me,
the optium temperature is four hundred degrees for chicken. And
here's the deal. You want your chicken to be in

(16:07):
a pan that is fairly low in profile and our
cast iron skill it's pretty good again and it's it's
a it's a good vehicle. And you also want to
oil the pan if you want to make sure I
could skate you let it sit for now. You salt
peppered it, you got oil on it, and it's got
your undivided attention. Okay, So The first step, as per Jonathan,

(16:27):
is to oil the chicken. Okay, so now would you pour?
I would? I would put it on my finger and rub.
But what's the expert's advice? The goal is what to
oil the chicken? Yes, all parts of it, however, but
that's going to take a Yeah, that's going just like
to monitor it. Sure you don't want to waste the oil.
That's my that this oil. I love the spin occia oil.

(16:49):
All right, how's that? That seems perfect? It's pretty slippery.
So now we season and the season. Here's the salt
of pure okay, any kind of salt? Would you? Of
course coach your salt and hi higher hi hi? Yep,
what yeah, that's what he called. Yes, he said to
do this. This is he was joking with you. No, no,

(17:09):
no no. This is a sort of a dictum and
kitchens the high you season high so that you get
a uniform coding if you just do it right there,
you and get that little spots you said. So I'm
gonna flip the chicken. Now, just got your head, okay,
just get the back. So with here we get get
the thighs now. It goes into skillet and cast iron skillet,

(17:30):
black cast and skillet. All right, we'll come on, don
let's go in. Alright, we're not trusting it or anything,
and then believe in trusting. We're not putting anything in
the cavity. We're just so no lemon or anything we
could if you want, do you want? I want to
do what he did. Okay, you didn't say about putting
anything on the cots. We're not going to okay, Jonathan,
Jonathan Wayne, Okay, so it's in the oven. All right.

(17:52):
I'm really glad you're here. Thank you for agreeing to
cook with me. We don't always cook together because you
are rescued far I am not, and I make you nervous,
makes me so nervous and get Anne is best known
for her novels seven debut Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine,
The Knitting Circle, The Book That Matters Most, and her

(18:13):
memoir about grief called Comfort. But she has a book
of essays out now in paperback, memoir anchored by Food
called Kitchen Yarns. Kitchen Yarns notes on life, love, and food.
And what is important to me about this book is
that you had no idea that you wrote about food
until your editor and agent said why don't you collect
your essays and we'll make a book out of it,

(18:35):
And I said, my food essays. I don't have food essays.
And indeed, I realized when I went back and looked
at my files that I had many essays in which
food was a sort of a portal into a bigger,
difficult theme to write about life, love, loss, hope, all
of the all of the big topics that we writers tackle.

(18:59):
Uh it easier to enter by writing about my father's
mac and cheese, then writing about how much I miss him.
So when I write about the mac and cheese, I
can bring him to life on the page and also
bring my yearning for him, I think, to life. So
I'd met Anne in at the Breadloaf Writer's conference and
followed her career. We were reunited casually at several writers conferences.

(19:23):
But it wasn't until Ann's publicist at W W. Norton
hatched a plan to promote a new book of Ann's
that we realized there was a deeper connection at work here.
The publicist was Aaron Lovett, and she asked, any if
I knew a food writer who could take me to
an Italian restaurant and interview me about my Italian American

(19:45):
food heritage. And I said I didn't know any and
I said, like who when she said like Michael Rohlman,
and I said, oh, I do know him, and I
emailed you or something in any way, we set it
up and we went to another restaurant. We didn't have
a very good meal, but we were joying each other's
company a lot. And so you suggested that we go
for a bourbon at Barbudoh and we sat down at

(20:07):
the bar. You're shaking. You're looking very very romantic right now.
I'm remembering that very that life changing, life changing evening.
The magic was actually in the ice cube as there
we go. Who was it was Tyler? I think it
was Tyler who said the bartender, let me get you
the big ice cubes. And he had to actually go
downstairs to the basement of looked at each other the

(20:29):
big ice cubes. We didn't know he was putting magic in.
That was magic. And then we sat with the big
ice cubes in Bourbon and uh, well, here we are,
here we are, and we would return there for our
wedding reception. It was the best wedding ever. We marched down.
The whole wedding party marched down West Twall Street. In

(20:49):
the restaurant, they had the whole back room, the southernmost
part of the room, and so we had this long
table for twenty and they brought beautiful platters of charcouter
salami and pascudo and Alo's and a great antipasto, and
then we just wanted what we loved. We love mussa

(21:10):
chalo salad and the roasted chicken with salt saverde and
the potatoes, and of course the potatoes. When when I
spoke with Jonathan, I called Barbudo the perfect restaurant. Yes,
I want to hear your thoughts. Why one, we know
why it's special, but tell me about it generally? Why
was it such a good restaurant? And we know I
was special to us, right, but it really was the

(21:33):
epitome of a neighborhood restaurant. First of all, when you
walked in, you never knew who you were going to see.
And by that I mean my former student who lives
up the street might be sitting there um at the bar.
That that that's happened more than once, that David Crosby there. Well,
then I was gonna say. Then you see famous people
right then you walk into like wait a minute, for

(21:53):
Danny Meyer or Sarah Jessica Parker who lives in the neighborhood.
But what really makes a restaurant so good? The food
was always good. You could get a bottle of wine
without having to mortgage your co op. You know, they
had really good wine choices. We always drank the jackhammer. Yes,

(22:13):
it was great. We had it at our wedding. We
had the and the pino and there was just it
bustled and it was noisy, but at a level where
you could still have conversations and you felt like you
were in the middle of something. But it was more
like I guess for me coming from a big Italian family,
that's how all my meals sounded. So I loved walking

(22:34):
in there, just the hum of voices and people remembered you,
which always makes you feel good. Well, I think I
will say that our favorite meal at Barbudha, what we
almost always got was the chicken. These potatoes that you'll
have I can't even describe. Sometimes after we've been out late,
we would go and sit at the bar and just

(22:55):
have the potatoes and whiskey. Dessert. Let's go for dessert.
So you said it sort of was like home for you.
What's the difference in between going out um and cooking
at home? Well, I think we have a most people,

(23:16):
myself among them, has an idea that the food you
eat in a restaurant you can't make at home. I
think you have a feeling of there's a chef doing it,
and even if it is simple and simply delicious, like
barbudos was you think how I could never make those potatoes,
They're too heavenly. You know that chicken is so perfectly
so I think when you want that thing you don't

(23:38):
think you can make, or maybe you can't make at home,
you go out. Now what we did makes you uncomfortable
because you're not frolling a recipe. I don't like recipes.
I know, I crossed the crosswalks. You don't need recipes,

(24:00):
you know. I think it's because I taught myself to cook,
and you know, I'm a perfectionist, like I was the
straight a student. I don't like making mistakes. I don't
like doing something that I can't do well and improvising
I think opened the doors to me really making some
bad food. I'll give you an example, even following a recipe.
When I first was teaching myself to cook, I made

(24:23):
pesto sauce and it called for two cups of basil,
and I bought the McCormick dried basil the largest containers
and put two cups of that in it. And it
didn't say fresh basil. You know, that's how to the letter.
I follow it, followed recipes and still do. And I
made the worst pesto ever known to man. I think

(24:45):
the poor guy I fed his tongue is still stuck
to the roof of his mouth because it was so dry,
no matter how much oil I put in it. So um,
I like following a recipe because I like as much
instruction as I can have. I don't feel comfortable improvising.
When I do, it goes bad. Right, Okay, so we've
established that rescipes are are unreliable, and you're A recent

(25:06):
kitchen incident highlights my wife's disdain for improv in the kitchen.
We were both cooking at a friend's house, though in
different areas of the kitchen, and working on separate dishes,
and you came over with your chef's knife held flat
and on the blade with a lot of chopped onion,
and you said, oh, I don't need this, I'll add
it to your pasta, And I went apoplectic. Its like, no,

(25:31):
shouted no, because that recipe does not have onions, just
like dropped my pants or something in a way you
did anyway, did not let you put it in and
ruin my rest? Why not? No, onion does not make

(25:53):
it better. But that's a different story. But it's not
what that that recipe in the profile of that pasta
is not on your ni You mean it wasn't in
the rest of it. Wasn't the recipe correct? And you
would also argue that, um, some people would never put
onion in in that pasta dish, namely the entire country

(26:14):
of Italy. Yes, you said, says who? And I said
Italy And it was delicious without the ideas. So this,
dear listeners, is why we don't cook together. But it's
hard to cook when the person in the kitchen with
you is standing over your shoulder asking why you're doing
something and you don't know the answer. I'm doing it
because the recipe tells me. And you're like, isn't that

(26:35):
breaking down the fiber of the of the gluten, of
the whatever. I'm sorry, I just, I just I mistakenly
presumed that when you do something, you know why you're
doing it. You don't have to know why you're following
a recipe. You follow your heart and your recipe. I
love cooking at home because one, I like the actual
physical act of cooking. It's relaxing and the same way

(26:57):
knitting is for you and cooking is for you. Uh.
And I also love that it fills the house with
good smells, like we're sitting here right now and that
chickens in the oven and I'm about to, you know, drool.
It smells so good in here. When I began planning
this episode about roasting, I had no idea that it
would in fact be a lesson in basting. When I

(27:18):
spoke with Jonathan, he described why basting was so important.
It's the basting thing which is the magic. And and
people at home should realize that you don't face your chicken,
you get in a crappy bird. When I was in pressed,
that's where I thought, basically, based with bas I was
thought about bullshit, But it wasn't you tilt the pan,

(27:38):
Remember tilt You're gonna way from yourself, not towards yourself,
and you'll collect about maybe a tablespoon of chicken fat schmaltz,
take a spoon out, and you take that fat and
you baste the chicken. You're big on basting, bastings everything,
basting his life. What's happening, what's happening. We talked about

(27:59):
this before. What's happening when it's happening is that you've
got this hot fat from the pan, and it is
hot because remember it's of one of degrees, and you're
basing the chicken, which has got fat that's bubbling beneath
the surface of the skin, and you've got this hot
liquored so you've got hot on the outside of the
skin and hot starting to happen underneath, and the little

(28:20):
fat underneath goes thank you for basting me, because then
then the skin becomes more resilient and more ready to
accept what's going on underneath. So you're actually preparing the
skin on top for what's going on underneath. I have
a confession to make. I've never basted anything in my life.
What no, no, really, I don't even own a thing.

(28:43):
The squirty thing is that what you used of the
base well, is the first time everything and you've managed
to survive. You're still alive here, So facing isn't life supporting,
but it is for the chill. Jonathan did say, Oh,
I'm gonna do what he tells me. So here we
got he said, basting his life. Okay, well, here we

(29:04):
go onward. So I'm open the oven when we hear
that lovely crackle, beautiful, here's a basting spoon. Okay, so
we're not using the plunger thing, I mean the baster thing. No,
But so what are you gonna do is you're gonna
tilt the pan away from us, John, he said, And
you're gonna trying to reach in there. And we tilted

(29:24):
to Oh yeah, I see stuff. Yeah, okay, I go
perfect and I put it on the top. Oh yeah, everything,
do it again. So in the bottom there's there's the
fat I guess from the chicken, and there's kind of
a lot. I mean, it's not sitting in fat, but
when you tilted, I can easily scoop it with my

(29:48):
offset spoon, with your the legs too. So yeah, I
went right to the the breast first. I would have
forgotten this part. There's still more. This is great, and
this will get more in that hot fat is going
to help the chicken release more of the skin and
release more more. So the chicken isn't really browned yet, No,
it's too early for it to be brown, but we're

(30:08):
getting there. In this fat will help it cart back
in the oven. It's beautiful, it's gorgeous. Yes, here's your
rollman spoon back. Okay, when we come back, we'll hear
from Chef Waxman once more about how to make a

(30:28):
great roast chicken, and and and I will in effect
follow along to see if it's possible to make a
really great chicken in a tiny kitchen, in an oven
big enough just to fit several pairs of shoes. Welcome back.

(31:02):
We've already begun the basting and are letting the heat
of the oven do its job. So the chickens in
the oven and it's hanging out, and all that subcontanious
fat unneath the chicken skin, it's starting to cook. When
it happens, when it cooks, it literally starts to boil.
And while it's boiling and all this stuff's happening, it

(31:23):
tries to get out. And that's what the blistering of
the chicken happens, and that's where I think a lot
of the magic is going from base number two here.
Jonathan said we could get six to eight basin, so
I'm trying to be dutiful there. Back at my stove,
I wanted the fat to be super super hot when
we basted the chicken, so I actually put the skillet

(31:44):
over a high flame on the stovetop while we baste it.
That that crackling is water cooking out of the stats.
So I want to make sure the fat is as
hot as possible. And I can see it's the skin
sort of blistering and bob blowing as spased. And we've
already partially dehydrated the skin by as Johnason suggested, by

(32:09):
leaving it uncovered in the fridge overnight. There's definitely bubble
and coming out of the skin, bubbles coming out of
the skin, which is we're getting rid of the moisture
in the skin. Only once we get rid of the
moisture in the skin will that skin turn a nice
golden brown. And back in the oven, it goes put

(32:32):
back the chicken and you shake the pan to make
sure the chicken slides around, and you turn the chicken degrees?
What is that? Is that like some weird, you know,
satonic kind of situa. I shouldn't know the reason you
turn it ninety because your oven sucks and you want
to make sure that the chicken is getting love at
every angle because some angles in the in the in

(32:52):
your oven are cold spots. And then literally every eight minutes,
you base the chicken and we open the oven again
for another base. And while the chicken's brown, last time
I did it, it was still kind of pale. Are
you gonna tilt it from me? I will cook it
for you? Oh wow, listen to that. And so you know,

(33:13):
I don't know, maybe I've imagined that the this looks
more golden. Well the fats cooking, Yeah, the fat looks
more golden then that first one. Now some I'm sticking
to the pan. What's that about, Well, that's gonna be
then glaze juice. Yeah, the juices actually stick to the bottom,
the juices of the protein um in the bird, they'll

(33:36):
stick to the bottom of the pan and brown. And
that's called the fond. What's it called the fond? I
think said the fonds, not the fond. Wow? Foundation, Oh,
I see the pond the fun um. This is really
interesting because I was thinking it was gonna be not

(33:57):
as liquidated, but there's more mean and you're actually developing
more fat by the process of based in you like, Bastie.
Isn't it nice to base? Very relaxing. It's kind of
like knitting. It's like, but you're tending the bird, and
I'm tending the bird. I'm developing a relationship with it.

(34:18):
You know. It is crackling a little. I see some bubbles,
m h and feeling and brown. We're seeing brown bits,
some of the brown bits from the fat. Or there's
definitely brown bits at the bottom of the pan from
the fat, and they look so good I want to
eat them. It's like when you fried chicken, when you
get those pride be bits exactly. Okay, that looks great.

(34:40):
Into the oven, Michael, you noticed that I keep checking
on things because I'm getting nervous, like what when to
based and nobody's telling me. I'm supposed to just use
your common sense. And it's been in there for now
about forty five minutes. We've based it a few times, um,
and I'm gonna do something I don't normally do, but
you will like to do we're gonna probe the chicken

(35:02):
and see what temperature is internally. Okay, So you're holding
a meat thermometer in your mouth, in your mouth, in
your hand. My mouth wants the chicken. That's not one
of those old fashioned meat thermometers. It's a it's one
of those cheap, inexpensive instant read thermometers from the hardware store. Okay.
And I always, I always wonder when I do this,
if I'm doing it right? Do you again? I need rules?

(35:25):
But where do you put it in the in like
the breast, because it's the thickest part, or in the
part that that takes longer to cook. You put it
in the thickest part. I would put it in the
thickest part of the breast. It's tricky to get in
a thigh. I had a cooking a chef instructor who
said a thermometer is only as good as the person using.
That's I believe that. That's why I feel nervous about them. Um.

(35:45):
So I'm gonna put it, as Jonathan instructed, in the
thickest part of the breast, um down by the wing area. Okay, okay,
let's see. And why are you doing this? Now just
your own common sense or did he say to do
that to the end? I want to see it. We're done,
so there, just to see the thickest part right in there. No,

(36:07):
I'm sorry. Okay, So we need a little more time.
We need a little more time. But we just basted it.
What a minute ago or two minutes ago, and there's
already so much more juice. Should we baste again? We
should definitely baste again. Let's do it. And as you're basting,
you're gonna get more and more. At one point you're
gonna have quite amount of that. I can't believe how

(36:28):
much that is in this pan in the best possible way,
and it just gets more and more gold. And I'm
missing over here. Okay, we're else just this leg, this
leg okay, wow, okay, great, need that here? Okay. Oh
the smell is incredible, isn't it, Michael. The smell is fabulous.

(36:52):
That's when I talk about in cooking at home, we
have this this, this the smell of this roast and chickens. Yeah,
so satisfying. And it really does smells, they know, affect
our our nervous systems. The smells of cooking relax us.
Every time you walk into a kitchen or something really

(37:12):
good as smells were something really good as cooking, you
almost invariably say, oh, it smells so good in here.
It's because your body suddenly felt good. It felt relaxed suddenly.
So that's one of the great powers of cooking at home.
Did I ever tell you when my son Sam is
twenty six, and when he came home once a few
years ago. He lives in New York and he came

(37:32):
to Providence, and I said, what's my what's your favorite
thing that I cook? And he's, I don't know, I
love this and I love this, you know, he's naming
all these things. I just can't decide. And the next
day I had just started to cook and I had,
you know, the classic onion garlic cooking and a pan,
you know, and he came out of his room and
he said, that's my favorite thing. But it was just

(37:54):
a smell. Interesting. I can see the the addiction to basting,
because it's surprising how every time we check, even just
in a few minutes, there was more. And once you
realize it's helping to do the cracklye skin and the browning,

(38:15):
it's like I want to do more because I want
more of that exactly. Yeah, I can't believe you've never
basted before. I always skipped that part because I think
I'm not pulling that turkey out and getting that blue
thing and sucking out the juices. And I just didn't
want to do it laziness or fear. Also basing connection,

(38:36):
as you were saying, connection to the bird, it's it's
it's a pleasure. You see the changes. You're watching the transformation.
Cooking is about transformation, so you're watching the transformation happening
and the basing, the spooning, and the hot fat over
the skin um and seeing the skin gradually darkened. Yeah,
that's fun. It's fun. Now. I was interested because you
handed me what I would call it kind of small spoon.

(38:58):
I mean, it's bigger than a table spoon. It's your offsets.
It's so it's got it's um, maybe twice the size
of a table spoon for the scoopy part, and then
it's bent up a little bit, so that makes it easy.
Like when I'm cooking something on the stove, I always
use that. And we opened the oven again for another basting.
Oh my gosh, it's completely different. Oh it's really bubbled.

(39:24):
Oh there we go. This is beautiful. So the skin
has kind of crackled and bubbled. It's so brown and beautiful.
It's the way you would get a chicken in a restaurant.
So one last space and then it will let the
chicken rest. Resting helps the listen to that that's kind

(39:45):
over the skin. Resting allows the temperature to equalize throughout
and finish the cooking. And I think Jonas would even
argue that changes that the texture changes two more tender
and delicious. Now rest for fifteen and this bird will
stay hot for a long time because it's still an
organic creature, and the juices circulate throughout. Even though they've

(40:09):
been cooked, they still moved throughout the muscular chick. He
loves to understand that it's a very important thing. Resting
is everything everything. Whether it's a steak, whether it's a
piece of fish, where it's a chicken, whether it's a vegetable,
they all are organic u features they need. They need

(40:32):
the resting very Okay, now the chickens rested, I'm gonna
cut the chicken. Um. What I do to cut a
chicken is first I take off the wings and I
nibble on the wing while I'm cutting, because it's part
of the cook's pleasure. Cut that seas still piping hot.
A quick review on cutting a roasted chicken. I remove
the wingtips and flat and share those with whoever's in

(40:52):
the kitchen. I remove the legs chicken, then separate the
thigh and drumsticks. Then remove the breast with the wing
drummets to attached. I then slice the breast into three pieces,
each on the bias and put it all on a platter.
There's our whole chicken. It's beautiful. Gosh, it's gorgeous. Wow.
I had a little chicken jew some reduced chicken stock

(41:16):
from a project earlier in the week, Thanks Jake, and
deglaze the pan with that to spoon over the cutbird
the breast I do. It's perfect. You look at you,
A good husband. I just want to see. Oh it's gorgeous.
It's perfectly cooked. Yeah, oh my word, look at that.

(41:43):
I'm taking a little bite with my fingers. Oh some ways,
here you go. A perfect chicken. Should I dig in?
Dig in, and I will do the same. Skinny so crisp.
That skin is so crisp and perfect. Good. Wow, would

(42:03):
Wax maybe be proud. Wax would be proud of us,
And I am now a baster. It's delicious. The breast
is even the tip of the breast is juicy. And
know their legs are cooked perfectly. This is one good chicken,
it is. You're right. Oh no, this is not the

(42:24):
same as Barbuda. They because he has a whole different
breakdown on the way they cut the chicken. He roasted
over open flames in a you know, in that big
beautiful oven of his, and of course he serves it
with this vivid, bright, thick herb sauce, a salt severide um.
So it's a completely different chicken. But I would argue
they're cooked equally well, yes, I would say, so, a

(42:47):
different taste, a different look, but a delicious chicken for sure,
really delicious. When we first set out to talk about roasting,
one of the fundamental cooking techniques, we naturally went to
Barbuto because Jonathan Waxman, one of the original food revolutionaries

(43:10):
in America, roasted the best chicken in New York City.
But this place also happened to be where I'd spent
so much good time, and the place was closing this
place that epitomized for me the perfect restaurant, the home
of the chef, a place to restore oneself and to
forget for a couple of lovely hours the cares of

(43:31):
the day. It also led me to love. It led
fans to make a pilgrimage there when they learned it
was closing. Such is the power of a good restaurant.
This led to a conversation with the chef and the
surprising importance of basting, and not just what good basting
did to a chicken, but what basting did to the baster,

(43:53):
as knitting does, as any good craft does to the
person doing it. This led to how the smells of
ak and change your mood, your outlook, and helps to
show us how food can connect us obliquely to the
bigger things, to loss and to love. I have never
cooked a chicken with my wife. Now I have. That

(44:14):
was a pleasure. As I say, whether braising or roasting
or baking, the act of cooking is a transformative one,
transforming a raw chicken into something magical, for instance, but
also how as we cook with and for those we love,
it transforms us. Thank you, Jonathan Waxman for all you

(44:38):
do and will do. Also, thank you Jen Davidson, his
general manager, and Ason the whole and the whole team
at Barbudo. My new book is out now. It's also
called From Scratch, but it's all about cooking and ten
meals that can teach us all we need to know
in the kitchen. We'll have a link to it on
the show notes and on my site rollman dot com.

(45:02):
Front Scratch. The podcast is produced by Jonathan has Dress.
Our executive producer is Christopher Hasiotis. Our supervising producer is
Cabriel Colin. The music is by Ryan Scott off his
album A Freak Grows in. The book Front Scratch is
a production of I Heeart Radio. For more podcasts from

(45:23):
iHeart Radio, visit the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcast, or
wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Well you're up
your cold scene, Well wrapp mound around you. The our
indom makes the follow me a lineal A low love

(46:10):
is soorrify you know, Lou
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