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Whole chicken in a slow cooker............"No Harm/No Fowl"

n
nsgirl Sep 9, 2013 07:45 PM

Yeah, I'll try anything once.

It seems like this fabulous concept is suddenly the darling of the internet. "Just like Rottiserie!" (like that's not a red flag)...."Mouth watering results" (this was also true, but not in a good way).

I am not even much of a slow cooker fan. But every Christmas I wind up with the latest can't live without gadget from WS. So I dragged out my big, shiny, barely used All Clad, with you, my friends, in mind!

I looked at at least five thousand blogs by Moms who are PASSIONATE about photographing their love of cooking for their families. Which brought on such a wave of misgiving about my parenting priorities. I don't do things like strap on babies and snow shoe to a local butcher for happy looking dead, grass fed, meat. For many years I had quite a different definition of a "Happy Meal". What kind of horrible Mom am I?

Anyway, so I texted my son at Cornell, just to check in. He's fine. He even said: "grrrr I'm FINE Mom!" So it was back to just me and the chicken and the crock pot........

I did the super easy method, that seemed most universal. I dusted it with S&P, garlic and paprika, and threw in a few extra garlic cloves. It was a 4 poundish bird. I cooked it on high for about 1.5 hours, and on low for about 1.5 hours. (And I took it's temp with my high tech meat thermometer from Mother's Day!)

But there is no way this was a roast chicken. The skin was the worst part. It was thick, pale and squid-ish in appearance. The body itself also shrank a lot. When I decided to remove it into a big bowl to do it's "setting" thing, it literally fell in half, top and bottom.

After an hour or so, I did try a few bites before bagging it up for a soup or something tomorrow. It wasn't overly great or horrible. I'll be able to do something decent with in a day or so.

But make no mistake. This is NOT a roast chicken! Not even close. It wasn't even really a stewed chicken. It was just a soaked, jiggly chicken after four hours.

So I guess when you you come across a truly "awesome" online recipe for a basic like this, don't just walk away. Run!

  1. k
    kitchengardengal Sep 9, 2013 07:59 PM

    A coworker once asked me how I made roast chicken, because some of the other gals were talking about how good mine was.
    I told her exactly how to roast it in the oven, but when she made it, she was not impressed. I couldn't figure out how hers came out soft until she mentioned proudly that she'd "even used a roasting bag". I don't know if those things are still around, but she had steamed chicken, not roast chicken. I've never used oven bags, and never felt a need.
    The coworker wasn't really convinced that it was the bag at fault.
    And yes, crockpots aren't kind to chicken. DH made us some chicken cacciatore in the crockpot a while back, and it was a mushy mess with little bones scattered in the shards of meat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kitchengardengal
      f
      freshmanjs Sep 9, 2013 08:24 PM

      I'm not sure the bag was the issue. A roasting bag, used properly, will produce browned and crisp skin.

      1. re: kitchengardengal
        f
        FreddieJaye Sep 9, 2013 09:05 PM

        I must agree with freshmanjs. Whenever I have cooked poultry in a roasting bag, the skin was evenly golden.

        No crock pot chicken for me, either; the meat can't even support itself on the bones. Try to move it and everything goes to hell.

      2. v
        Violatp Sep 9, 2013 08:34 PM

        I blame Pinterest. And, don't get me wrong, I have my own little Pinterest addiction.

        But most of what is in the food category is akin to a train wreck. I am especially horrified by the ones that would have you slow cook frozen ravioli and sauce for 6 hours or so. I can't even... I just don't... It's just...

        Gaaaah.

        1. DuchessNukem Sep 9, 2013 11:19 PM

          Lol. Thanks for jumpin on that grenade, sister. I love love love my slowcookers but that prep is just chicken corpse abuse. I think that's at least a misdemeanor in some northern states.

          I will leave skin on at times when braising chicken in the crockpot (for flavor, fat, and to keep the flesh moist), but it gets pulled off before serving. (Last week, chicken paprikash, cute fat thighs, so tasty!)

          (And while you've got that shiny monster out... how about getting ahead on a huge pot of beef or lamb stew? Freeze up single-serve and drive some out to the kiddo -- do a leaf and winery run!)

          2 Replies
          1. re: DuchessNukem
            n
            nsgirl Sep 10, 2013 05:50 PM

            You are entirely welcome!

            Well of course WE all know that this was never going to result in a roast chicken! Der.... Still I was intrigued that there could be so much buzz about this method.

            Anyway, purely for closure, I quickly ripped some big chunks of the meat off and threw the rest of it in a stockpot for a couple of hours with several generous handfuls of the frozen veggie leftover end things that I actually save in my freezer all summer because it is too hot to make things like stock. (At least you all will relate to THAT habit!).

            It did result in an epic batch of chicken soup! I don't know if the "pre-stewing" thing had anything to do with this. But it was so great that now that the cold weather is coming, I might just consider it worth the extra step!

            1. re: nsgirl
              chowser Sep 10, 2013 06:39 PM

              Braise the chicken in the crock-pot. When it's finished, remove from pot, take off the meat and put the carcass back in the crock-pot for a few hours w/ carrots, celery, onions. You'll get great chicken stock.

          2. melpy Sep 10, 2013 02:59 AM

            Did this once when first learning to cook. Chicken basically disintegrated. Never again.

            1. sunshine842 Sep 10, 2013 04:00 AM

              Yep, you can't roast in a closed, moist environment.

              There are ways to make good chicken in the crockpot, but this ain't it.

              1. chowser Sep 10, 2013 04:19 AM

                It always surprises me how many people rave about the results of crock pot chicken--from whole chicken to the one where you put chicken breast, covered w/ a jar of salsa to the one where you cover it w/ cream of whatever soup, etc And, then some try it and decide crock pots are bad when it's the technique that's out there that is bad. The worst is the 365 day crock pot blog which has become a book. Coq au vin crock pot, just dump and let it go--that easy...

                http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/...

                I'm a big slow cooker fan, for the record. It's just not as easy as dump and go and it takes more time than braising on the stove/oven.

                1. C. Hamster Sep 10, 2013 05:17 AM

                  Why would you ever think you could ROAST anything in a crock pot?

                  Obviously you cannot.

                  Roasting = dry heat
                  Crock pot = moist heat

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    n
                    nsgirl Sep 10, 2013 09:08 PM

                    To be fair, I was very honest that I knew this wold NOT be a roast chicken.

                    It was basically an experiment! I was curious about an internet food fad that seemed too good to be true. It all seemed a bit humorous.

                    Sorry, I guess I am already thinking ahead to future generations who have to self teach like I did. Thank God I had way less access to information!

                  2. l
                    littlemissmuffin Sep 10, 2013 06:11 AM

                    I make whole chicken in the crockpot often and we like it! It isn't roast chicken like my mother made with a crackling skin, but it is tasty in it's own right. I think the key is keeping the chicken elevated. I cut lemons in half and cover the bottom (also strew about some garlic cloves and herbs) then place the chicken on top, and it steams to a beautiful clean white. It has a faint lemony flavor and is very juicy, and leftovers make great chicken salad. I think I'll make one today!

                    Now as for that 6 hour ravioli...no. Just no.

                    1. Atomic76 Sep 10, 2013 07:09 PM

                      Slow cookers are awful for a whole chicken, as you've discovered. I don't know what some people are even thinking when they say the chicken cooked in them is good.

                      The only instance that kind of works, is if you are making pulled chicken and using boneless skinless chicken breasts. Or I've heard of people using the crock pot to make chicken stock from leftover bones.

                      I even tried a recipe by Trisha Yearwood for crock pot mac and cheese, and it was hideous.

                      There is a recipe for a steamed whole chicken, it's called Hainanese Chicken:

                      http://www.steamykitchen.com/5068-hai...

                      But the rubbery skin looks awful to me. Some people apparently like it, hence this dish.

                      1. eLizard Sep 11, 2013 10:49 AM

                        i did this once. the results were abysmal. overcooked steamed chicken with rubbery skin.

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