Cast Iron Chicken with Smokey Spice Rub is your next Sunday dinner favorite. You’ll love the smokey, garlicy, lemony flavors!
This Cast Iron Chicken with Smokey Spice Rub is a perfect recipe to add to your Sunday dinner rotation. The chicken is brined so it stays incredibly moist during cooking, then it’s rubbed with a smokey, garlicy, lemony spice rub mix that you are going to love. After the chicken is browned in a cast iron pan on the stovetop, you’ll pop it in the oven to finish cooking. I like to serve it with extra lemon wedges on a bed of rice that soaks up all the delicious pan juices!
You can make the spice part of the smokey garlic spice rub ahead of time and store it in a glass jar in your cupboard. When you’re ready to cook, all you have to do is add some minced garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, and you are ready to go! The star of the spice rub is the smoked paprika, it really ups the flavor and blends so well with the chili powder, cumin and coriander that round out the mix. Honestly, you can rub this spice mix on just about anything, roast it, and it will be delicious!
I am a recent convert to brining poultry. I tried it for the first time last year on my Thanksgiving turkey and couldn’t believe the results. The turkey stayed so moist and tender during cooking, and the meat also had better flavor. So I thought why not brine the chicken for this dish? Since we will be browning the chicken in the pan first, then finishing in the oven, I didn’t want to take the chance of having it dry out and ruin the dish. This is especially true of the white meat chicken breasts, which can dry out very easily during cooking. You’ll want to start your chicken brining either the morning or night before, aiming for at least eight hours in the brine.
This is a very simple brine, just salt, sugar and soy sauce. For convenience, I bought a package of skin on, chicken on the bone that was already cut up. The pack I bought had two really large chicken breasts and 4 legs. Since the breast pieces were so large, I used my chef’s knife and cut them in half for ease of serving. This also kept all the pieces of chicken about the same size so they finished cooking at the same time. If you know how to break down a whole chicken, you could certainly do that, or buy chicken thighs, whatever pieces you like the best.
When you are ready to cook, you’ll remove the chicken from the brine, dry it off and then give it a good rub down with the Smokey Garlic Spice Rub. Brown the chicken in your cast iron pan, then put the whole pan in the oven to finish cooking. The main reason I like to use cast iron for this recipe is that you can move the pan from stovetop to oven without worrying about the pan being ruined. Another great thing about cast iron is that it distributes heat very evenly across it’s surface which helps the chicken brown and cook evenly.
While the chicken is finishing roasting in the oven, you can cook the rice on the stovetop and prepare your side dishes. It’s also delicious with Cumin Scented Rice. I happen to think this delicious, smokey, lemony chicken goes perfectly with some Garlic Green Beans! Give it a try next weekend!
- 1 package chicken on the bone, my pack had 2 breasts and 4 legs, but get whatever pieces you like the best.
- 8 cups water
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil for browning
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving
- Brine the chicken. You'll want to start this at least eight hours ahead of cooking, or overnight. In a small sauce pan, add two cups of water, the salt and the sugar from the brine ingredients. Heat over medium heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
- In your large brining bowl (big enough to hold the chicken and the brining liquid), combine the remaining 6 cups of water, as cold as you can get it, plus a cup or two of ice cubes. Also add the soy sauce. Add the sugar/salt water from the saucepan to the bowl and stir to combine. Your water solution should still be relatively cold.
- Add the chicken to the brine and cover the bowl. Place in the refrigerator for eight hours, or overnight.
- When you are ready to cook, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine solution. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine all spice rub ingredients. Rub your spice mixture on the chicken pieces and set on a plate by the stove. Heat your 12" cast iron pan (or other oven proof skillet) over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. When hot, but not smoking, add your chicken pieces and brown each side for about 5 minutes.
- Once the chicken is browned, move the whole pan into the preheated oven. Roast for about 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Let rest for 15 minutes, loosely covered with tin foil.
- Put your cooked rice in the bottom of your serving dish, then top with the chicken pieces. Spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken and scatter your lemon wedges over the top.
- Dig in!