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Not all braises are destined for cast iron pans. Acidic cooking liquids, such as wine and tomato juice, can strip away seasoning, especially when simmered for long stretches of time.

This one-pot feast, however, was designed to thrive in a cast iron skillet—even new pans that haven’t built up a durable, polymerized patina—and sized specifically for our extra-large No.16 Double-Handled Skillet. It begins with a generous amount of oil and bacon fat, and uses the low-acid combination of beer and chicken stock as the braising liquid. Placed on any standard-size (or larger) grill, the No.16 allows you to cook enough chicken to feed a crowd, then go grill to table without having to dirty any extra serving dishes.

Photo: Benjamin Muller

Recipe: Beer-Braised Chicken Legs with Bacon and Potatoes

Yield: 6 servings

Instructions

1.

Generously season the chicken legs all over with salt and place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. (If time doesn’t allow, you can skip this step and season the chicken with salt just before searing.)

2.

Prepare a medium-hot grill (your grill will need a cover for this recipe). Place a No.16 Double-Handled Field Skillet over the grill grates and add the vegetable oil and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon has rendered some of its fat and is beginning to crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a bowl, leaving the fat behind.

3.

Season the chicken legs with pepper (and salt, if you skipped the dry-brining step) and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook until well browned on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes, then flip the chicken over and push to the side of the skillet. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the flour and stir until well mixed with the onions.

4.

Arrange the chicken legs, skin side up, around the skillet and scatter the potatoes and bacon around. Add the beer, mustard, sugar, thyme, and enough chicken stock to submerge the chicken about ⅔ the way up. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then cover the grill and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken registers 165°F, 30 to 45 minutes (cooking times will vary by grill, so start checking your chicken every few minutes after the 25-minute mark).

5.

If you want to recrisp the chicken skin, you can quickly sear the legs over hot grill grates. Otherwise, season the braising liquid to taste with salt, sprinkle the parsley over the chicken, and serve.


Seasoning Rating: Safe

This extra-large braise is pretty easy on your skillet, thanks to generous oil and bacon fat, plus lower-acid braising liquid. Clean up promptly using chain mail on any stubborn residue, and be sure to wash the outside of your skillet if you're cooking on the grill and oil up afterwards.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.