Brick Chicken Thigh

Brick Chicken

Chicken skin.  If you’re the type that doesn’t like eating chicken with the skin on, I’m going to let you in on something – you’ve never had it prepared right.  A well cooked piece of skin on a pan fried chicken is like a thin cracker.  A hard, crispy contrast to the moist and tender meat.  How is this achieved?  It’s all about getting good surface contact on a very hot pan.  This is where the brick comes into play.

With brick chicken, you are looking to maximize the skin that is touching the pan and keeping it there.

First, debone the chicken.  I’m working with a chicken thigh because, well, that’s what I had and its my dinner.  Deboning the thigh opens it up so that the whole piece of skin can touch the pan.

Next, you need to make a brick.  If you have a brick, congratulations!  Wrap it in aluminum foil and skip to the next step.  You can use a heavy sauce pan that fits inside the pan, or maybe a casserole dish weighed down with dry beans.  What you’re looking for is a weight to press the chicken down into the pan.

Finally, cook the chicken.  Its that simple!!  Here’s the recipe.

1 or 2 chicken thighs

– Preheat oven to 450°F and have a “brick” ready to go.  I used another cast iron with aluminum foil wrapped underneath

– Debone chicken thigh.  I don’t need to explain it when there are great videos like this one online.

– Let the chicken rest at room temp covered for about 15 minutes.  Room temperature meat is a lot better to cook than cold meat.  It will cook faster and more evenly

– Pat the skin dry with a paper towel and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper… liberally

– Heat up a pan until very hot. Add just a small amount of oil, maybe a 1/2 tbsp.  The oil should be shimmering and almost smoking

*** Let me interrupt this recipe with a quick rant.  Most home cooks don’t know how to cook with heat.  They’re afraid of getting burnt.  They hate getting splattered with oil spitting out of the pan.  I get it.  They are afraid of smoke in the living room or of setting off the fire detector.  There is almost a stigma that if you do either of those things, you’re actually a BAD cook.  Your guests will wonder if you’ve burn something.  The truth is, heat is good.  Restaurants don’t get smoke into the dining room because they have very effective ventilation.  So if you are that cook that is afraid of really turning up the gas, this is your chance to get over it.  Disconnect the fire alarm and open your windows.  ***

– Place chicken into pan with skin side down and quickly place the second cast iron pan on top of the chicken

– Lower heat to medium and let the chicken cook for about 5 minutes.  Take the weight off of the chicken and check the skin for crispiness

– When crispy and light golden brown place chicken in oven for about 8 minutes.  Check for doneness.  The meat should be firm.  The internal temperature should be 165°F at its thickest part

– Serve with anything.  Or make a pan sauce with butter, white wine and some thyme or rosemary (I was really hungry so I ate it as is)

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