Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crockpot Chicken

I'm just going to come out and say it - I have a huge dislike for all raw meat (cooked meat is fine and yummy in my tummy!). It's all slimy, stinky and worst of all, it drips all over the place. That and I'm always worried I didn't wash my hands enough or touched something without washing and am going to get everyone sick. Needless to say, when I saw this fabulous recipe, I was a little nervous about touching a whole raw chicken. That and the gizzards, gross. But we'll get to that part later.

Thus comes the crock pot - you can set it and forget it and it keeps everything nice and moist. I love, LOVE mine for soups and sauces and am always looking for new ways to use it. Especially in the summer when it's super hot out and the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven and heat up the house. I'm not a huge fan of dark chicken meat, and to avoid drying out the chicken in the oven (which I've been know to do - sorry Ryan), I thought cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot would be a fabulous idea! Plus, you can use the extra meat for other recipes such as enchiladas, soups, sandwiches, or you can put the extra meat in freezer bags and freeze for easy grabbing when you need chicken in a snap (this is what I did).

So off to the store I went to hunt down a whole bird. You'd probably laugh at me if you saw me at the grocery store going through the whole chickens trying to find the right one. I'm the crazy lady with three plastic bags over her hand touching them all. Like I said, I don't like raw meat juice! After touching about ten of them, I found the right one - just at 5 pounds. There was a note on the package that said there might be some gizzards missing (aww, so sad - NOT), and since it was a Foster Farms chicken, I assumed the gizzards would be in a bag. At least that's what one of my girlfriends Amanda said. Ya, she was wrong. I get the bad boy home, unwrap it and when I open the bird, I see the heart and all other organs rolling around. SO GROSS. I grabbed the tongs and went to town pulling them out. I must admit, they were interesting looking, but I pulled them out quickly and thew them in the trash. After a quick rinse and pat down, she was ready for the seasoning rub down and to be put into the crock pot. Set it and forget it!

After a long day at work, the house smelled heavenly when I got home. The chicken was placed on a bed of sliced onions and they had caramelized and there were lots of juices at the bottom of the crock pot (perfect to use for home made gravy!). The chicken was so tender that when I tried to pull it out, the drumsticks fell off! This chicken is literally FALL OFF THE BONE TENDER! The darker meat was so tender and juicy, but the breasts were not as moist as I was hoping. I am not sure if I cooked it too long (recipe says 8 hours, but mine was in more like 10 to 12), but I will definitely be trying this one again breast side down so it will retain moisture. That or I will cook it on the weekend where I can be at home to watch it and make sure to not over cook it. If you try this one (and you should!), play with the flavors. I stuffed the cavity of mine with two garlic bulbs cut in half and a cut up lemon. I think the lemon was a little strong and there was not enough garlic coming through. You can never have too much garlic! That and you can mix up the dry rub with whatever you like. You definitely do not have to follow the rub recipe - add what you like, take away what you don't.

Here's how to do it!

crock pot and ingredients

bed 'o onions!

spice rub and lemon & garlic for flavor inside the bird

chicken pre-cook

chicken after cooking all day - I peeled back the skin to see if the meat was done.

see, told you the legs fell off!

this does not look pretty, but you can see the meat and bones literally fell apart. and you can see the lemons I put inside!

cooked chicken meat sans bones. this meat will be shredded and put into the freezer for later meals!

The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot (from


2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 onions, sliced
1 large chicken

  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Enjoy!

As you can see, I did not take any pictures of the chicken post bag removal and pre crock pot. But don't let my chicken juice phobia stop you from making this. It super easy and really flavorful. If you've tried this before (or make this after reading), let me know how it turns out. I'm wondering if my slightly dry breast meat is due to the brand of chicken or just simply overcooking. Although this one did not turn out as well as all the rave reviews I read, it is not going to stop me from trying it again. It's such a great way of cooking the chicken and it's an economical meal.  I scored my bird for under $1 a pound! Next time I think I am going to just use garlic (lots of it!), pepper and seasoning salt. I'm already salivating.

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