I’ve always felt pretty intimidated by whole chickens (and Turkeys) and how to cook them. I remember my first Thanksgiving at our home and I made a giant turkey for the families and was in panic mode the entire time and oooh the mistakes I made; I left the “innards” in, I didn’t stuff it with anything, and I pulled it out before it was done… like not even near being done. That was a fun meal. It may have scared me because I haven’t made a whole turkey since then but I have made a few whole chickens and each time I have tried a different cooking method.
By far the easiest way to cook a whole chicken; using the crock-pot! My crock-pot and I aren’t really friends. We are more like mere acquaintances; you know, the kind that rarely see each other and when they do it’s a really awkward encounter. That’s our relationship. I kept promising myself I’d use it more after having Poppy so that cooking dinner would be easier… that still hasn’t really happened. But with Baby #2 on the way I think this is a really good time to give our relationship a firm shove into a friendship. This whole-chicken cooking is going to make that a lot easier!
Here’s what I did:
1. Thaw the chicken completely
2. Clean the chicken thoroughly and remove the yuckyness inside. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. This step is crucial so that the seasonings/rub stick and the skin has less moisture and a better chance of crisping up.
3. Time to slather with a rub! I used melted butter, minced garlic, S&P, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, chopped thyme & rosemary, and fresh lemon juice. Once it was all mixed together I slathered it on the outside of the whole bird, under the skin (be careful not to tear it), and inside the cavity.
4. Bring on the veggies! I did a rough chop on an onion, apple, celery, carrots, and potatoes. I used some to stuff the bird with whole peeled cloves of garlic and the rest I used to line the bottom of the crock-pot bowl.
5. Set it and forget it! I put the lid on, turned it on low, and let it go! I checked on it periodically but never removed it from the pot. I let it cook on low for 6.5 hours. I cut a little slice to make sure the juices ran clear & it was ready!
6. Optional step; I like a crispy skin on my chicken so I decided to put my chicken & veggies in a baking dish and put it under the broiler for about 10 minutes to crisp up the skin some. ONLY issue with this; the longer you broil it the crisper gets… the drier it gets. Booo! When it came out of the crock-pot it was perfectly tender and juicy. After the broiler it dried out a bit. Still tasty, of course. If you aren’t a fan of crispy skin – do without the step.
Now, carve, serve, and enjoy!
Oh, and p.s. This is part 1 because I have 2 recipes following that are from this crock-pot chicken! YAY for fully utilizing the whole chicken and preventing unnecessary waste!