I’ve read on other blogs that people have roasted whole chickens in their slow cookers. I love the idea of a whole roasted chicken, especially when Jay’s working out of town and I only have myself to feed. A roasted chicken can be used in so many dishes, and it’s easy to store in the fridge and pull from it as needed. Unfortunately, I’ve always disliked store-bought rotisserie chickens. Whether from Sobeys, Superstore, Save-On… they’re all the same – dry and blah. Then I found the rotisserie chickens from Costco. OMG. Now those are some tasty birds! Until I read the label that is… Apparently the chickens at Costco come to the store already prepped in a brine, ready to hit the rotisserie. If you’re curious to see what you’re eating, check out the label next time.
Hence, my quest for a slow cooked, mouth-watering, juicy roasted chicken at home. I have a beautiful pottery dish for making beer can chicken in the oven and of course we’ve got the one for the BBQ. But personally I don’t think beer can chicken is really that amazing (I don’t think the beer really moistens the chicken that much).
I purchased a Maple Leaf Prime chicken, on sale at Sobeys for $7.69/kg. It was about 1.7kg (close to 4 lbs). I chopped up 2 small onions (into quarters – you want fairly big chunks to keep the chicken off the bottom of the slow cooker) and placed them on the bottom of the insert. I also threw in 4 or 5 full garlic cloves just for fun. I squeezed half a lemon onto and into the chicken, putting the lemon inside the chicken so it can release lemony goodness as it roasts. I chopped off the big chunks of fat near the neck hole, and inserted a number of garlic cloves between the skin of the chicken and the breast meat, just to add a bit more flavour to the chicken. I then sprinkled sweet paprika all over the chicken – top, bottom, inside – and also Schwartz’s poultry seasoning. I cooked the chicken on high for 4.25 hours. I think it would have been fine with just 4 hours.
Verdict: Sadly, it cost more money and takes more effort to make a good roasted chicken at home than it does to by a rotisserie chicken from the local grocery store. However, you know exactly what is in it. The bird was not as juicy as a brined Costco rotisserie chicken, but it was definitely better than a rotisserie from anywhere else. The breast was moist, not dry! The little bits of roasted garlic under the skin were awesome. I think next time I’ll put even more! Will I make a chicken in my Crockpot again? For sure!
If you wish, you could pull the bird out of the slow cooker, plate it, and put it under the broiler to crisp up the skin a bit. I was actually impressed with how the skin looked – a nice brown color, but it was a bit soft. I don’t eat the skin, so I realize I pretty much peeled most of the seasoning off. You can use the juices to make a chicken gravy (do this in a pot on your stove, not in the slow cooker). You can also salvage the garlic from the slow cooker and use it as a spread on fresh bread. I have a friend who puts 40 cloves of garlic in the slow cooker and does exactly that.
Note: some websites indicate that instead of large onion chunks, you can crumple up balls of aluminum foil (4) and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker prior to putting your chicken in it. This keeps the chicken off the bottom.