Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Crock Pot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

Afraid of a Chicken?

For most of my adult life, I have avoided trying to cook a whole chicken. As a kid, I remember watching my mom skin and cut chicken; I remember thinking that I was never going to do that myself. Crazy, I know!

Never say never! Having moved to Scotland earlier this year, with a higher cost of living, I am working on new ways to lower our food costs. And guess what ... whole chickens are less expensive.

Maybe you are like me and have never tried to tackle a whole chicken. Well, I'm hear to share my experience. It may encourage you to try it for yourself.

I was initially inspired by this recipe, Crock Pot Rotisserie Style Chicken, but had to make a few adjustments to fit my needs. I have now cooked chicken five or six times and have gained some level of confidence.

My crock pot is only 3.5 liters (about 3.75 quarts), so I needed a much smaller chicken than this recipe called for. Our local store carries 1.55 kilogram (3.4 pound) chickens at a great price, especially if I buy more than one. I normally cook one right away and freeze the other for a future date.

Here are the spices I use:
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

I pull out my chicken and all the ingredients, and after mixing the spices in my extra shaker, I prepare to tackle the chicken. Some people are much pickier about skinning their chicken. I don't like the idea of cooking the chicken in its skin all day, but I am not going to spend much time getting every bit of skin off.

I give myself about 5 minutes, and quickly remove all I can with a pair of scissors and a sharp knife. I skin the breast and the back first, then work on the legs if I still have time. I rarely skin the wings; it just never seems worth the effort.

You will also want to make sure you remove any innards and the neck that may be inside the chicken. Some stores put this stuff back in the chicken so you can use it. The chickens I buy normally only have the neck (though I did find a tail in the last one ... weird).

This chicken is ready to go into the crock pot. I put it in with the breast up so I can sprinkle and rub in the spices. The legs are still up so I can stuff it and turn it over for cooking.

I normally stuff one small onion (cut in quarters or eighths) and two or three peeled garlic cloves.

The chicken is cooked with the breast down, to keep the meat as moist as possible. For a chicken this size, I normally cook it about 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high.

I don't have any "finished product" pictures because the chicken literally fell off the bone. It makes for easy serving and de-boning, but doesn't look pretty for pictures.

My family loves eating this chicken with rice and broccoli. And even with this small chicken, there is always enough left for a few wraps for lunch and at least one other dinner recipe later in the week. I normally plan for some kind of soup or maybe chicken enchiladas to use up the rest.

A few more hints ... it is easiest to de-bone the chicken as soon as possible after cooking, although I have also refrigerated the leftovers and waited until the following day because of time constraints. If you do the latter, you will need to warm the chicken before trying to remove the bones.

The last two times I followed Keeper of the Home's lead and made broth with the left-overs. I even started a bag in our freezer for veggie scraps (carrot skins, onion ends, celery leaves, etc) to use in my broth. Making broth takes a little more work, but is especially good when I am making a soup with the remaining chicken. If I'm not using it right away, I simply freeze it in jars (or zip-lock bags, if space is an issue) and save it for another time. It thaws quickly and easily in the microwave.

So that was my journey of how I overcame my fear of chickens! Hope you are inspired by my story, or at least amused by my irrational fear!


  1. I am so proud of you! I used to buy whole chickens in Princeton and then have my mom talk me through cutting it up so I could make fried chicken. I have only tried it one time since and had to keep going back to the on-line computer pictures since my mom was gone. I think cooking it whole has to be the easiest.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Actually I share your fear of whole chickens! My husband and I have a great recipe for roast chicken but when we make it, he gets to deal with the raw bird and I deal with the vegetables or whatever. ;-) I would love to try this recipe, I'm just not sure my crockpot is big enough. I should buy a new, bigger one, since I really like crockpot cooking. Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. I felt like I was violating that poor chicken as I looked down is bottom. :) Well done, though!

  4. Great post! I've also tried stuffing a chicken in my smaller crockpot here and not succeeded, but I think I usually by the largest one I can find. I've made more whole chickens in our 2.5 years here than I ever thought I would. But, like you, have discovered how much cheaper and how far it can go! Thanks for sharing. I might have to try a smaller bird and use your technique/recipe.

  5. Oh great job Christy. I got a whole chicken when I was pregnant with Evan and I almost vomited all over just putting my hand in to get the insides that where already bagged. Andy had to come in and finish removing and cutting up the chicken. Have not tried a whole chicken since but you inspire me. I will copy your crockpot recipe. Thank you. Sis Rebecca


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