D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Day 14

Here is an easy, straightforward method good for oven roasting a perfect capon for the holidays, or anytime you want to serve this fabulous bird. The method works for birds whether or not stuffed with dressing. Truss the capon first, as it will make turning the bird easier and help prevent the skin from tearing at the joints in the process. It is also a good method for roasting other large chickens.

The Holiday Capon Part 2


Two Stage Roasting

Roasting begins on the lower middle oven rack in a preheated 450°F oven, then 30 minutes into the roasting the heat is reduced to 350°F for the remainder of the cooking time. This jump-starts the browning process and sears the meat, sealing in precious juices. As mentioned, you turn the bird a few times in the process, and baste every 10 or 15 minutes. Rub the capon with our pure, renderedduck fat, lightly softened before gently ‘massaging’ it into the skin. Season the capon with a good salt and freshly ground pepper before putting it in the oven, and baste with melted duck fat until the bird creates enough of its own pan juices for basting.

If you are using an x-shaped rack, you can start the bird breast down for about 15 minutes. Then turn the bird on one side for 20 minutes, then onto its other side for 20 minutes. After that, turn the bird breast up and finish roasting. You can easily coordinate this with your basting. If you use a flat rack, forget about starting breast down, and instead start roasting on one side, then turn onto the other, giving each side an extra five minutes, and finish roasting breast up.

For a 7- pound capon, this should take about 1-1/2 hours. Use a quick read meat thermometer to test the internal temperature for doneness. Transfer it immediately to a board to rest, tilting it first over the roasting pan to quickly drain any juices. The juices running from the vent should be clear yellow down to the last drop. Let the bird rest uncovered in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving. Remember it will retain heat just like any other roasted meat, and continue cooking during this time raising the internal temperature another 5 degrees or so. The ideal final internal temperature for cooked poultry is 165°F*.


1) A 7- pound capon will yield 6 to 8 single servings. If you make a dressing, allow 1/2 cup per serving. Be careful not to over stuff the bird. Cook any excess stuffing in a separate baking dish.

2) Put the bird into the oven legs first to position the dark meat towards the back of the oven.

3) Since this roasting method requires frequent basting, it is important to do it as quickly as possible to better maintain oven temperature.

4) See our Basics for Roasting a Holiday Turkey – Part 3 for more information on how to decide whether to use the breast or thigh for testing internal temperature*.

5) This bird is so amazing all on its own, that a spoon or two of a delicious deglazing sauce just before serving is all you need, which is nice if you don’t feel like making a full blown gravy. You can add a chopped onion and carrot to the roasting pan about 50 minutes into the roasting to enhance the flavor of the roasting juices. A little minced garlic or shallot sautéed in the drippings before adding the deglazing liquid will add even more flavor. Simmer this sauce for several minutes allowing it to reduce and concentrate, then strain through a sieve before using.

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