We roasted a chicken in a solar oven, on a sunny, 4th-of-July morning in Elk County, PA.
After 20 minutes of preheating, the oven reached 300F, so the bird went in, in a covered roasting pan, at 10am.
All we did was drink iced tea, chat, and realign the oven, a bit, about every half hour. It was easy. The inside temperature, when closed, stayed steady at 325F, and the oven gave off very little heat. We had time, clear skies, and good company. Some neighbors stopped by--one “saw the metal and thought something had fallen off the house,” another thought the oven looked “like a robot,”….
Our chicken was cooked by 12:30p.
Concerned that it wouldn’t brown at all, I’d sprinkled the skin with some paprika for color, some sugar for crust, and some light drops of oil for heat on the surface. The bird did brown, but not aggressively. The skin was firm and nicely cooked, but not quite “crispy," except for the few areas where the bird appeared to have cooked in contact with the metal lid.
The flavor and moisture in the meat were remarkably good. I added no water. I did put some garlic-herbed butter under the skin, plus some lemon and garlic inside, and I salted and peppered the whole thing.
Everyone seemed to approve of the chicken we cooked in this solar oven.
As predicted, the clouds rolled in around 2:30p, so we finished our drinks, packed-up the experiment, and judged it a good, peaceful Independence Day.
Solar oven types vary in size and function. This one is the size of a small suitcase and weighs 23 lbs. It’s said to cook nearly anything, but it doesn’t claim to deep fry, which makes sense.