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    heather521's Avatar
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    how to cook whole chicken... help!

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    Let me just start off by saying I am not a fan of cooking and I have a LOT to learn. I need help with cooking whole chickens. Someone told me to just stick it in a crock pot. I tried that and put some seasoning in and it was horrible. Help! I would love a few different way to try it. The easier the better!

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    yodiewan's Avatar
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    Hi Heather, welcome to the forum!

    What specifically was horrible about your crock pot chicken? Was it dry, flavorless, or what?

    My preferred method for a whole chicken is spatchcocking/butterflying (removing the back bone and flattening) and roasting it. Although I guess by some definitions, this isn't whole: The Food Lab: How (Not) to Roast a Chicken | Serious Eats

    Most of the time I cook the breasts and thighs separately since, as the post/recipe above explains, they have different optimal final temperatures. Thighs are great in any kind of slow cooked/braised recipe, whereas breasts are not. They will overcook and dry out.

    If you have a pressure cooker, this is the easiest recipe I can think of: Latin Cuisine: Five Ingredient, One Pot, 30-Minute Colombian Chicken Stew | Serious Eats

    There are several other chicken pressure cooker recipes on Serious Eats as well.

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    Yeah, crock pot is okay for a shredded stew but not browning.

    I usually roast halves. Remove the spine, keelbone, and wing tips with scissors then lay the halves yin-yang in the pan (w/ elevated rack). Dry the surface with a paper towel then rub in salt plus whatever seasoning sounds good--peppercorn, dried herbs, mustard, etc. Time and temp are tricky because the bird's size varies--mine average 375F for 1 hour. We want enough time to melt the cartilage in the wings and legs but not dry out the breast.
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    My favorite way to slow cook a chicken:

    -Rub the chicken with salt & pepper. LOTS of salt. Add whatever spices you want, really, but salt is key IMO.
    -Chop up some carrots & onions and put them in the bottom of the crock pot
    -Put the chicken on top of it (still never sure if it should be breast up or side)
    -Cook for 6-8 hours on Low until the chicken is cooked through and falling apart

    It'll let off tons of tasty juices and the veggies underneath will be soft and delicious.

    I never bake chickens because it seems like the inside always takes too long to cook and then the outer portions are dry.
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    Green~Tara's Avatar
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    I like to roast them - very simple and easy, one pot clean up. some from my favorite bloggers:

    with garlic and herbs

    step by step from Nom Nom Paleo

    20 creative recipes from Paleo Leap

    simple roast chicken from Epicurious (I'm not a mustard fan, I just rub it with ghee and put foil over it after it browns)

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    JoanieL's Avatar
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    Easy peasy.

    -Preheat your oven to 400F

    -For ease of clean up, line a baking dish with parchment paper or foil of choice. Put a tiny bit of water in the baking dish.

    -Check the inside of the chicken to see if there are giblets. Farm chicken often doesn't include these; grocery store often has these inside a packet. Dig them out and rinse the chicken inside and out with water. Rinse any giblets.

    -Put the chicken and any giblets in the baking dish. I like it breast up so that skin gets cooked well. Season with at least salt and pepper, though dried oregano and granulated garlic are nice also. Be gently liberal with salting the skin because it helps crisp it. If you want, you can also slip your hand between the skin and the breast and smear some butter over the meat, but it's not necessary.

    -Chicken into oven for 30 minutes. If you have giblets, they'll be done, so take them out and either save them for broths or gravies, or eat the liver, neck, and heart right then. Then LOWER oven temp to 350. The amount of timing at this point will depend on the size of the bird.

    -Check after 30 minutes. Visually, the skin should be crisp. Safety means cutting at the "hip" joint (where the thigh meets the body) produces clear juices with no blood. If chicken isn't done, check every 20 minutes until it is. If you run out of hip joints to check, make a small but deep slice into the breast - it should NOT be pink and should be white.

    -When cooked through, remove from oven and let sit for about 15 minutes before carving.

    Hope that helps.
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    heather521's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips everyone! I will give them a shot!



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    I may a well tell you the only method that results in chicken I'm able to chew. (I have a hard time chewing many meats.)

    - I shop carrots and onions and lay them evenly in my baking pot.
    - I put the chicken in the pot with the breasts up.
    - I put a liberal amount of salt all over the chicken (mostly trial and errors).
    - I put the lid on and check to make sure it's really closed.
    - I put the pot in the oven at 275F.
    - 3h00 for a small chicken (1,3kg), 4h00 for a big chicken (2kg).

    But seriously, the thing that affect the taste the most is the way the chicken is raised. I seriously prefer not to eat any chicken than to eat CAFO chicken and it's only because of the taste.

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    yodiewan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coccinellee View Post
    But seriously, the thing that affect the taste the most is the way the chicken is raised. I seriously prefer not to eat any chicken than to eat CAFO chicken and it's only because of the taste.
    I agree. I think a lot of it is the processing. Most chicken sold in the US is soaked in/injected with a brine solution that waters it down. I can find air-chilled chicken which is better, but still not as good as farm-raised chicken.

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    I prefer to roast chicken in the oven, but in an oven-bag to keep it a tad more moist and to make it easier to capture the leftover juices at the end (plus it means a cleaner oven!). The skin still manages to crisp up beautifully. I rub the chicken with a herb mix I buy from the supermarket, pop it in the oven bag, tie up the bag and punch 6 or so holes in it with a fork so it doesn't burst, place the chicken on top of a roasting dish and then in the oven it goes - 180 degrees celsius, cooked for 30 minutes for every 500 grams of chicken.
    Last edited by Orange; 05-02-2015 at 10:50 PM.

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