You might think that everyone eats Wurst (sausage) at the Oktoberfest but that is not the case. Though there are sausages and people will most certainly eat them, the “real” Oktoberfest treat is the “Wiesn Hendl” – the Oktoberfest Roast Chicken. Here’s how to make it.
Texas Chicken vs. German Chicken
First of all, I must say that I am a little confused about chickens here in Texas. I mean, I know everything is bigger in Texas but the chicken that I bought has almost the size of a flamingo! In Germany, we have small chicken for roasting and larger chicken for making soups. Here I could only find “The Giant Texas Chicken” (I named it that way, it’s not official) which seems to be a close relative of the Dodo Bird. Anyway, if this is how chickens are sized in the US then don’t mind my suggestion in the video of cooking it for 2 x 20 minutes, which would be ok for a cute little German chicken. You will need a lot more time for a US bird! I actually ended up having the Oktoberfest roast chicken in the oven for more than an hour.
Preparing poultry to avoid Salmonella
In the past, we’ve been told to wash our chicken before cooking it to wash off all the salmonella. But research showed that this simply spreads the salmonella through the kitchen. The splash zone, the sink … everything can get some salmonella and from there it can spread through the entire kitchen – just by a swipe of a dishcloth. So now the recommendation is to just use a papertowel and tap the chicken (or chicken meat) dry. Salmonella are heat sensitive and if you fully cook your poultry, these nasty little bacterias don’t stand a chance!
Best practice to be sure the bird is fully cooked through is using a thermometer and poke it into the thickest part of the meat. If the thermometer shows 175°F your chicken is cooked through.
The recipe for the Oktoberfest roast chicken …
… is super simple! Just make sure you use plenty of salt! Some people also use some ground paprika, I used pepper – both works. In my video, I used unsaltet butter but since we want our chicken to be salty, you can definitely use salted butter instead. I just never buy the salted version.
It is a good idea to use the broil at the end of the cooking time for a couple of minutes. It gives the chicken a nice tan and also some more crisp. In Germany we especially love the skin of the chicken. A German friend once told me that she was invited for Thanksgiving and they had a beautiful brown, crsipy turkey in the oven. When they took it out they removed the skin and threw it in the trash – she was in shock! They just threw away the best part!!! :-)
Traditionally the Oktoberfest roast chicken is served with a Pretzel, here is the recipe for that …
Oktoberfest Roast Chicken - Wiesn Hendl
- 1 chicken
- 1 bunch Italian parsley
- 1 stick Butter
- pepper, fresh ground
- With a paper towel tab the chicken dry.
- Preheat the oven to 390°F.
- Rub the chicken intensly with salt - inside and outside.
- Wash the parsley and fill the chicken with it.
- Melt the butter in a pot. Use 1 tbsp. of butter to fill into the chicken.
- Roast the chicken for about 20 minutes at 390°F, then increase the temperature to 450°F and cook until the meat is fully cooked.
- Brown the butter and during the roasting brush the butter on the chicken every 15 minutes.
- Cut the chicken in halfes and serve each half with a pretzel - Oktoberfest style!