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Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken

I roast two chickens at a time, each in their own 9 inch cast iron skillet. If you prefer, the two chickens could be placed in a single roasting pan large enough to accommodate them. When roasting two chickens, select birds of a similar size to ensure that they cook evenly in the same length of time. Prepping raw chickens can be a messy task, but I have found that lining my prep area with a generously sized piece of freezer paper helps to make cleanup a breeze.
Course Main Course
Author Jennifer from 1840 Farm

Ingredients

  • 2 3-4 pound whole chickens
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoon lard or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and position the oven racks in the bottom third of the oven. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator to allow it to come closer to room temperature as the oven preheats.
  2. Line your prep space with a large piece of freezer paper if desired. I like to use two small prep bowls, filling each with ample coarse salt and pepper to use when seasoning the chickens. Having the seasonings at the ready allows me to season the chickens inside and out without contaminating my pepper grinder and salt cellar.
  3. Remove the chicken from its packaging. If your bird contains a packet of organs in its cavity, remove them. Rinse the chicken under cold water if desired before transferring to the prepared freezer paper. Using paper towel, pat the chicken dry inside and out. It is important that the chicken be as dry as possible. Any moisture will create steam in the oven which will prevent the skin from becoming crisp.
  4. Liberally season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. If you like, you can truss the chicken using a length of kitchen twine to tie the legs together and hold them tight to the body. Trussing the chicken will help to hold the legs close to the body, keeping it in a beautiful shape and also helping the meat to cook evenly and the breast to stay moist.
  5. Prepare a cast iron skillet for each bird by placing each skillet on a burner over high heat. When the pan is hot, add a Tablespoon of lard or olive oil to each skillet, swirling carefully to coat the bottom surface of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium high and add a prepped chicken to each pan. Allow the chicken to cook for five minutes undisturbed.
  6. Transfer the skillets to the hot oven with the legs facing the back of the oven. Placing the breast in the front of the oven (the coolest spot) will deliver a slightly lower temperature and help to ensure that the breast meat does not overcook.
  7. After 30 minutes, turn the skillets 180 degrees to encourage even browning. I like to very gently tilt the pan to encourage any juices that have collected in the cavity to run into the skillet. Take care to not splash the hot liquid out of the pan when doing so.
  8. Roast the chicken for another 20 minutes before removing the skillets from the oven to check for doneness. When done, the birds should be golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone should register around 160 degrees. Juices from the chicken will run clear when it is fully cooked.
  9. When the chicken is finished cooking, add a generous teaspoon of the minced thyme to the juices that have collected in each skillet. Allow the chicken to rest for ten to fifteen minutes. This rest period will encourage the meat to stay moist and the pan juices to warm the fresh thyme.
  10. Remove the trussing twine from the chicken. Carve and serve, basting the chicken with a bit of the herbed pan juices.
  11. If you happen to be serving mashed potatoes and gravy with your chicken, add a bit of the pan juices to your gravy to boost the flavor and add a beautiful color.

Recipe Notes

When your meal is finished, the bones and skin can be used to make a delicious and nutritious bone broth. You can learn how and why I make bone broth in a slow cooker and Instant Pot right here:

How to Make Bone Broth in an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker