Mastering Cast Iron Chicken
BY ERIC GUIDO | MAY 01, 2020
Not just a cool name,
Cast Iron Chicken is a huge crowd-pleaser, which also gives the chef (you) the
ability to do most of the work beforehand through proper preparation. Also,
imagine a perfectly cooked chicken with moist white meat, intensely flavored
dark meat, and crispy skin. What’s more, you can build your entire dinner in
one large pan. Serve it family-style or plate it; you’ll be everyone’s hero the
moment they get to the table.
How is this all
possible? It’s the combination of high heat, regulated and evenly distributed
through the weighty, density of cast iron, along with applying a technique that
many refer to as Spatchcock to your chicken. Fancy names aside, what we’re
simply doing is partially deboning and partitioning the bird into even-size
pieces that will cook together perfectly.
Sounds like a lot of
work, right? Honestly, it’s not. With just a little practice, you’ll find
this to be one of the easiest yet deeply satisfying preparations in your arsenal.
So, get your kitchen
shears, your sharpest knife, and your favorite cast iron pan, and let’s roast some
of the crispiest, most flavorful chicken that you’ve ever tasted.
The video tutorial is packed full of hints and tips to cook the perfect Cast Iron Chicken.
For the marinade:
1 tbsp garlic granules
1 tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp basil
1 tsp apple cider
3 tbsp extra virgin olive
For the pan:
3 ½ - 4-pound chicken
2 - 3 red potatoes (cut
to bite-size pieces), tossed with olive oil, garlic granules, paprika, salt,
3 - 4 stalks of celery
(cut to bite-size pieces)
3 - 4 carrots (cut to
4 - 6 Shiitake or
Portobello mushrooms (quartered)
3 - 4 slices of bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinot Noir (2016 Montsecano
Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley). Find it on Delectable.
Carricante (2014 Terre
Nere Etna Bianco Santo Spirito). Find it on Delectable.
Sangiovese (2018 Uccelliera
Rosso di Montalcino) Find it on Delectable.
Share your own wine pairings on Delectable and check out what others have paired with cast iron chicken.
Preparing Your Marinade
and Your Bird (4-5 hours prior to dinner):
1. In a small bowl,
combine the garlic granules, salt, paprika, oregano and basil. Then add
your apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, and whisk together until
With this marinade, the meat will soak in an intense amount of flavor over a shorter period of time, which will result in an added crispiness to the skin.
2. Now prepare your
station; have a large cutting board, a bowl for trimmings, a large Ziploc bag, butcher’s
twine (about 18 inches long), a pair of kitchen shears, and a sharp boning
knife (or other sharp, thin gauge blade.)
3. Lay the chicken,
breast down, and, using the kitchen shears, cut along and through the backbone
and ribs along each side of the spine. (Save the spine for stock and also
remove any neck or liver reserved inside the bird for later use.)
4. Fold open the
spineless bird like a book. You could technically stop paring the bird
down here if you like. You’ve achieved Spatchcock, but I prefer to have
more control of the pieces.
5. Run a sharp knife
under the remaining ribs of the chicken to separate them from the breast meat,
and then cut through the breastbone with your kitchen shears to remove
them. Repeat this process on both sides of the rib cage. Look for any
small bone particles or sharp edges that may be poking out and trim those out
6. Now cut along the
skin that attaches the thigh to the chicken, being careful not to remove any
skin from the breast. Repeat this with both thighs. The leg and
thighs can now be placed into your zip lock bag.
7. With the breast still
facing down, tuck the wing tips under the breastbone and tie them with your
butcher’s twine. Flip the breast over, and with your hand, fold any skin
or meat that is hanging off the breast back underneath, and cross the butcher’s
twine across and back under. Flip one more time and tie the twine
8. Place the chicken
breast into the Ziploc bag.
The chicken will rest in the marinade for 4-5 hours before cooking in the cast iron pan.
9. Stir the marinade one
more time and pour it into the Ziploc bag, on top of your chicken.
10. Press as much air as
possible out of the bag and seal it.
11. Place this into your
refrigerator for at least four hours, flipping it over from time to time to
evenly distribute the marinade.
Cast Iron Chicken:
1. Preheat your oven to 450
degrees, with the cast iron pan inside of it. Start this at least 20
minutes prior to cooking, to assure that both the oven and pan are up to full
temperature. I like to also add a small cooking grate at the bottom to
prevent the vegetables from burning. This is also a good time to take out
your chicken and allow it to start coming up to room temperature in a bowl on
Preheating the cast iron pan in the oven will ensure it warms up evenly.
2. Once fully heated,
remove the cast iron pan from the oven (careful, it’s hot) and add the potatoes, carrots and celery. I like to keep them as separate as
3. Now lay your chicken
breast across the middle and toward the top of the pan.
4. Next add your legs
and thighs on both sides, crossing the legs over the thinnest part of the
breast. Season generously with salt.
Placing the chicken legs over the smallest part of the breast will prevent the breast meat from overcooking.
5. Place the pan back
into the center of your oven, bring the heat down to 435 degrees, and set the
timer for 40 minutes.
6. Make sure to check
the chicken at around 25 minutes to ensure no parts are taking on more color
than others, and if necessary, lay slices of bacon over those areas. Also
add your mushrooms to the pan around the edges of the chicken.
Placing the bacon on top of the skin that is cooking faster is a great way to even out the crispiness of the skin.
7. At 40 minutes, remove
your chicken and mushrooms from the oven and take it out of the pan, then cover
lightly with aluminum foil. It should rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Return the pan with
the vegetables to the stovetop over a high flame, and sauté them in the rendered chicken fat.
While the chicken is resting, sauté the vegetables and bacon in the rendered chicken fat
9. Once complete, you
can plate by placing the roasted vegetables along the sides of a large serving
platter and then place the chicken in the middle, for tableside carving, along
with the mushrooms and garnish with bacon. Or, you can plate individually,
carving the breast, thighs, and legs in the kitchen, and then build individual
Plate by placing the roasted vegetables along the sides of a large serving platter and then place the chicken in the middle, for tableside carving, along with the mushrooms and garnish with bacon.
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