If you are reading my food blog, chances are good you like to cook. Because let's face it, I'm just not that funny or naked. And if you like to cook, chances are good you've seen somewhere an exciting-sounding recipe for chicken under a brick. You know, you bake or grill a spatchcocked [giggle] chicken under a foil-wrapped hot brick to quickly brown both sides and not overcook and dry out the meat.
Where Matty and I live, homes are covered in cheap stucco and bricks are not used. If they are, the neighbor hens run about asking each other what those people must do for a living. Needless to say, bricks can be bought but that would not be frugal. So why not use Old Ironsides, my trusty cast iron pan? We'll call it "Chicken Under A Cast Iron Pan" and congratulate ourselves on the completely utilitarian and not at all cute or catchy name.
We begin with half a chicken (there are only so many mouths to feed in my house; this will be dinner and two lunches) and we season liberally above and under the skin. I used Spade-L seasoning for chicken because I still had some and it's tasty. Don't hate.
Tip #1: To keep the skin in place, it's best to season, pull the skin back over the meat and refrigerate overnight. By the time you are ready to cook the skin will be stiff (stop sniggering) and you have a better chance of it covering the meat while you cook.
Next, we heat the grill (I do not have the ventilation system to deal with a hot, skin-on chicken indoors) and a cast iron pan until they are rocket hot. Then, we place the chicken on the grill and the pan on the chicken.
Once the chicken is down and the pan is down, they can't be moved until everything browns, otherwise everything sticks and you start pulling that crispy chicken skin right off the meat.
Tip #2: Make certain YOU CAN CLOSE THE LID around the pan handle before you set the pan down.
The chicken skin is mostly fat, and when you put a crazy hot pan (or brick, whatever) on the mostly fat skin on top of the rather uneven bird, you should know that the pan can move around. This is not something I've ever heard mentioned on Food effing Network.
Tip #3: It will be unstable. Be careful.
Now that I've learned these important tips the hard way, I do see the chicken-under-a-brick concept being a regular in my house. The top and bottom browned very nicely and the middle was not overcooked and terrible like grilled chicken usually turns out. Yes, by all means, use a meat thermometer.
All I have to do now is scrape the chicken skin off the bottom of my pan. Which is what happens when you have to twist the pan to get the lid to close. See? Lots of valuable information today!
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