It's hard to know exactly, depends on the size and shape of the birds (and why you want to cook roasters in a cast iron pan). My favorite way to roast a bird is to make a mixture of fresh herbs, salt and pepper, add olive oil to make a paste, rub that all over the bird, especially under the skin and in the cavity, throw some carrot, celery and onion in the cavity and truss. Bake at 400 (350 convection) until golden. Very simple. If your birds don't have enough room around them then the air won't circulate and the skin won't brown. If they are crowded they will also take longer to cook. If those things don't matter to you, then by all means, stick them in the skillet on top of a bed of aromatic vegetables and shift them around a bit mid way through cooking--better to make do with what you have than not cook at all! (PS there are recipes for things like "chicken under a skillet" but it sounds like you want to leave the birds whole)
SCP - thanks for the thoughtful answer! I guess I should have been more specific 'cuz I meant that I was using the skillet as a "roasting pan" in the oven.
Anyhow - I gave it try with some help from the internet...2 smallish chickens fit fine in this size w/o crowding and even enough room for some carrots and potatoes in the pan. Rubbed a compound butter under the skin and placed a piece of apple and a 1/2 a cinnamon stick (Alton Brown method). Cooked at 425 for 10 minuets reduced to 375 for about 1 hour till. Crispy skin and juicy meat - great success! As an aside, I seasoned my cast iron the Sheryl Canter safflower oil way and it has been totally non-stick from day 1!! Peace.
Nice, sounds mmmmmmmmm!
I was about to say that real roasting chickens -- two of them -- would be very squeezed in a 16-inch skillet. "Roasters" are typically at least 4 1/2 pounds and kinda hefty. OTOH, If you want to roast two 3-pound fryers, I'd think they'd work -- just! Next time you're roasting a chicken, though, do yourself a favor and get one "real" roaster -- maybe 5 1/2 or 6 pounds. The amount of meat on them is astonishing (in a very good way) and I think they're fun to carve at the table. Besides, the leftovers are SO good cold! ;)
Oh, and here's my recipe! http://www.food52.com/recipes...
Yes, if they fit.
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