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

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!

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  1. 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

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

      1. re: kitchengardengal

        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. 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. 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

            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

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

            1. 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.