In my neck of the woods, whole chickens go as low as $0.57/pound. Yes, really. There’s generally a limit of three, but yes, the price is that low. In southern California. Who knew?
I buy the limit and stash them in the freezer. Then when it’s time to cook a chicken, I do it by the easiest means possible: the slow cooker.
Cooking a whole bird in the slow cooker is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to prepare a whole bird. It’s not hard. The meat is tender and juicy. And you do very little work.
Ready to learn? Here we go.
1. Thaw the chicken completely.
Typically whole birds are stored pretty cold, so even the ones I buy from the store are often partially frozen when I bring them home. Store it in the fridge in a dish to catch drips while it thaws.
2. Rinse the bird and remove the giblets.
Using cool running water, rinse the chicken and remove the neck and giblets. Sometimes they are packed in a bag, sometimes not. You can use these for cooking or discard. Your choice. (I ditch them usually.) Pat the bird dry.
3. Season the chicken.
Once you’ve rinsed the bird and patted it dry, place it in your slow cooker. Rub on some butter or oil and then season it. You can use any spice blend you like as well as plain old salt and pepper. Sometimes I give it a heavy sprinkling of dried onion flakes as well as salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Consider thyme, herbes de provence, rosemary, oregano, basil, or sage to add to your seasoning.
4. Cover and cook.
Place the cover on the slow cooker and turn it on to high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. You do not need to add any liquid. Chickens today typically have some solution added, so they rarely need added liquid. At the end of the cooking time, the meat will be tender, practically falling off the bone. This is ideal for shredding or simply carve and serve.
I typically serve sliced chicken and chicken pieces one night and then have enough leftover for soup or chicken pot pie the next night. I use the bones and drippings to make broth in the same slow cooker as soon as I’ve finished carving the chicken.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can roast your chicken this way.
Recipe: Chicken in the Slow Cooker
- one whole chicken, completely thawed and giblets removed
- butter, softened
- other spices of your choice: garlic powder, dried chopped onion, rosemary, thyme, herbes de provence, oregano, basil, or sage
- Rinse the thawed chicken and pat dry. Place the chicken in the slow cooker.
- Rub the chicken with softened butter and season with your choice of spices or a seasoning blend.
- Place the cover on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours.
- Carve and serve chicken or shred it for use in another meal.
- Use the bones and drippings to make homemade chicken broth in the slow cooker.