Want a boatload of cooked chicken to use in more ways than you could ever dream of? Hands down, the easiest way to cook a whole chicken. All you gotta do is make this once or twice a week to use immediately, or fill a couple of ziploc sandwich bags and freeze for another time. Lose the is-it-done-yet fear factor for good, cause this’ll be the moistest, fall off the bone, cooked to perfection chicken you’ll ever produce. The only, dare I say, drawback, is no crispy skin, which can be easily achieved with a quick trip under the broiler. And don’t you dare chuck the flavour-loaded juices – simply pour in a container, refrigerate, skim off the fat and if you’re not going to use it right away, carry on to make a gorgeous stock, or freeze concentrated juices in ice cube trays to add to sauces, stir-fries or anywhere you need a little flavour-laden moisture. Waste not, want not … your grandmother’s always watching!
First, you need to make a sling for your slow cooker so you can easily remove the chicken once it’s cooked. It starts with measuring the length of sling you’ll need for your slow cooker, and the easiest way to measure what length your sling needs to be is to use a piece of string.
1. Drape a piece of string so it hangs over the sides.
2. Make a mark so you’ll know how long your string is.
3. Get out your foil, measure the length you need and fold it lengthwise to make 3″ wide strips.
4. Place the longest foil sling in first and the shorter length in over top.
5. Get the spices sorted and measured.
6. Mix the spices together thoroughly.
7. Be sure to pat your bird very dry before you get rubbing.
8. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the entire chicken.
9. You want the rub on the bird, not caked on your hands so trust me when I say, use gloves to rub the heck out of your bird.
10. Meet your magnificently massaged bird.
11. Place the chicken in the crock pot.
12. Place the lid on, turn it on to high and let her go.
13. Looking good …
14. Looking very good.
15. Time to check the internal temperature – perfect!
16. This perfectly cooked chicken is ready to go, but if you want to crisp up the skin, turn on your broiler.
17. Carefully lift the chicken out of the crock pot (with the help of your slings) and place it on a oven-friendly platter.
18. Broil briefly to crisp up the skin, slip out the slings and meet the easiest roast chicken you’ll ever put together.
19. And a word about the nectar of the Gods in the bottom of your crock pot.
20. Set a strainer over a bowl or 2-cup measure.
21. Pour the liquid through to strain out the bits.
22. And voilà, a ready to go pan sauce. Either use as is, portion and freeze for later, or reduce on the stovetop by boiling for a few minutes.
1. First you want to make a sling for your slow cooker so you can easily remove the chicken once it’s cooked. See the photos above to walk you through it.
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsps. sea salt
- 1 tsp. each black pepper, garlic powder & onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne or hot smoked paprika
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds
4. Rub the spice mixture thoroughly over the chicken. Place in your slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours. Use a meat thermometer to be sure it’s cooked – you’re looking for an internal temperature of 160°F.
5. Using the slings, carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place on a large baking dish. If crispy skin is important to you, place the chicken under the broiler for 5 minutes. Let the chicken rest briefly before serving.
6. Strain juices from the slow cooker and either use as is as you would chicken stock, portion and freeze for later or reduce on the stovetop by boiling for a few minutes.
- any spice blend, homemade or store-bought – garam masala, curry powder, taco blend, old bay seasoning
- any dry rub, homemade or store-bought – barbecue, thai, smoky
- add a little heat – cayenne, chili powder, chipotle powder, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, grated fresh ginger
- go for sweet spices – cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cocoa powder
- go for classic flavour combinations – asian, italian, greek, mexican
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- sloppy joe mix
- taco blend
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Make your chicken with whatever herbs and/or spice rub you like and here’s where your cooked chicken can end up – there’s something here for every taste: