Fast baked chicken? Snort. That’s just crazy talk.
Well, it would be if you did it the old-fashioned way, prepping the bird, preheating the oven, baking for a few hours and pulling out a chicken with dry breast meat, rubbery, yellow skin and under-cooked thighs. Sigh. Who needs it?
This two-step method uses a hot skillet on the stove top and then in the broiler. Because both methods transfer heat directly to the meat rather than using air as an intermediary, the cooking is done much faster. Your chicken will be done in ONE hour, and all pieces will be moist, with an added treat of crispy skin.
Here’s the Trick
This method requires a good, broiler-safe skillet, because you’ll be starting the chicken on the stove top to get the thighs cooking, then you’ll transfer it into the broiler to catch up with the breast meat. I use my trusty cast-iron skillet for this job, but any broiler-safe skillet will work.
You’ll need to flatten the bird for the broiler. You can do this quickly and easily by removing the backbone – or butterflying the chicken. See the video below for help on how to do this. (Trust me, it is not hard to do!)
Once you have the chicken flattened, you need to pierce the skin liberally with the tip of a paring knife – about 3/4″ apart, particularly on the legs. This will prevent bubbling which brings the skin too close to the broiler element, causing scorching. Tying the legs together will keep them from “reaching for the sky” and getting too close to the element during broiling.
When you get to the broiler, use the High setting and set the skillet about 12″ away from the broiler element (further away than most people think of when they use a broiler). Too close and you’ll get spotty heating.
Easy and Fast Baked Chicken:
- 1 4-5 lb. whole chicken, backbone removed and flattened, excess fat removed and discarded, skin pierced at 3/4″ intervals (see above)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (optional, for sauce)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional, for sauce)
Rub 1 tsp oil into the skin. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken – about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken (as in the video above).
Heat 1 tsp oil in the broiler-safe skillet over high heat until just smoking – you want it toasty. Carefully place the chicken into the skillet, skin-side up. It’s easier to test for done-ness if you place the breast side toward the handle.
Immediately transfer the hot skillet to the oven, on a rack set 12″ from the broiler element. Do NOT preheat the oven.
You’ll rotate the chicken halfway through, so turn the skillet handle all the way to one side of the oven.
Turn on the broiler and broil the chicken for 25 minutes. Rotate the skillet (just turn the handle to the other side of the oven) and broil for another 20 minutes. Test for internal breast temperature of 155 F. If not quite there, let it go a little longer, but don’t miss that 155 F mark. The chicken will continue to cook for another 5 minutes after removing from the oven, and if you overshoot this temp, your white meat will be dry, dry, dry.
Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a platter to rest for 10 minutes.
If you would like, you can throw some thyme and garlic into the skillet and let it steep for that same time. Skim off the fat and use this as a very tasty sauce with your chicken.
If you need a broiler-safe skillet, here’s a good one from Amazon I found:
And, as always, leave a comment or suggestion.