Flat Roast Chicken

Flat Roast Chicken

Removing the backbone from a hen and roasting the bird flattened in a cast iron skillet reduces the typical cook time to about an hour.

We just love our cast-iron cookware. Versatile and easy to maintain, we use it for everything these days, including frying fish, baking cornbread or roasting veggies like carrots, cauliflower and potatoes. Then one day we had an epiphany! If we can whip up veggies in a cast-iron pan, why don’t we try poultry? Now we roast an entire chicken, minus the backbone, in about an hour and it is the simplest, juiciest, and tastiest roast bird that we’ve ever encountered. So what are you waiting for? Grab your biggest cast iron skillet and try it out!

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 50 to 60 minutes + 10 minutes rest time


  • 1 roasting hen, 6 to 8 pounds, backbone removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove. Save the backbone in a zip-top plastic bag in the freezer to use to make broth at a later time. Rinse the chicken, and then pat it dry with paper towels. Open the chicken’s legs and spread the bird down flat, skin side up. Press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten it. Salt and pepper generously on both sides.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet on high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter; swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken, skin side down. Allow to brown (without moving) for 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over, careful not to break the skin, and transfer to the oven.
  3. The chicken is done when it is golden brown and cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the bird, not touching bone, should read 165°F. Remove the chicken from heat, place on a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan drippings and swirl around, using a spatula to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, red pepper flakes, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces, drizzle with fresh lemon sauce and pan sauce, and serve immediately.

TIP: A fryer chicken, which is 3 to 4 pounds, may also be used. Directions are the same, except the cook time will be reduced to 40 to 45 minutes and the meal will serve 4 to 6 people. Also, if you don’t have cast iron cookware, any ovenproof skillet will work.

YIELDS: 6 to 8 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to Flat Roast Chicken

  1. Ricky Martin says:

    Good post. Its realy nice.

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