Edible Bozeman

Roast chicken is one of our favorite weekly meals. That’s juicy chicken with crispy skin usually accompanied by some wilted greens or fresh vegetables, all prepared on the grill. Using a cast-iron skillet replicates being in an oven, except the grill is the heat source. The key here is for the chicken to be “dry”—all moisture dried off—and salted for 1–3 days prior to cooking. The active time for this preparation is very minimal and the result is amazing. Whatever chicken remains after the first meal can be pulled off the bone and used in salads or soups later in the week.

1 small pasture-raised chicken, about 3 pounds
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Up to 1 cup chicken stock

Completely dry the chicken, then salt all over the skin. Place the bird in a dish lightly covered in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days.

To cook, remove from refrigerator 1 hour in advance and wipe any moisture off the chicken inside and out. Add pepper to the breast side of the bird then heat grill or oven to 425°F. Place the chicken back-side down in a cast-iron skillet that is large enough to contain the entire bird (no part should hang outside the skillet). Put on the grill, turn off the middle burner to avoid any burning of the skin, and set the timer for 1 hour. Avoid opening the grill, but do check periodically to keep the heat between 400–420°. Remove the bird from the skillet, allowing drippings inside the cavity to release into the skillet. Place the chicken on a clean surface and cover with foil to rest for 10 minutes.

Add ¼ cup chicken stock to the skillet and scrape to remove all the brown bits. Turn the grill off but leave the skillet inside with the lid closed. After resting the chicken, put the bird back in the skillet, cut off the legs and wings, and cut the breasts in half. Turn on the heat with the lid open and allow the juices to form a gravy. If needed, add more chicken stock. To serve, place the chicken parts in a serving dish and pour in the gravy.

  • Recipe inspired by Zuni Café Chicken adapted by The New York Times.

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