Well now. I spent all day and night yesterday worrying I had either wasted a whole chicken, was going to poison myself, or both, but instead it turned out perfect!
I used this recipe for a whole chicken in the crock pot
. Basically just put an onion on the bottom, put the chicken in, put some spices on it, and cook!
The issue started with the supermarket. 1) They only had giant chickens. And only four whole ones! I got the smallest one, 5 and a quarter pounds. 2) It was not cheap. I really should have waited until they were on sale to try this recipe. I paid $10 for the bird. (I spent all last night kicking myself. I could have gotten two cooked birds for $10, and I would have been certain they were good! Instead I paid double the price of a cooked one and gambled that it would come out worth eating at all.)
Then it almost didn't fit in the crock pot. I wasn't about to try to cut it up into pieces. It was bad enough I had to reach inside it to get all the organs out (the stuff of nightmares, I tell you). The bird just fit in the pot and I could close the lid, but you're only supposed to fill the pots half to three-quarters full...
But anyway! Plugged it in, waited five hours, checked it. Falling off the bone! And wonder of wonders, I had a meat thermometer! I had thrown out the one I bought, since the temps were way off, but I happened to spot this one in my drawer. I guess it was a long-ago gift that I had forgotten about. The temp was plenty high enough, so I shut the crock pot off and took out as much of the meat as I could.
It was so good! Really really good. The best chicken I've ever had (not counting fried, covered in sweet and sour sauce, etc). I have no idea how the meat got so much flavor. I tossed most of the spices on the top (and most of them got on only one half, oops), I tossed some into the body cavity, and that's it. The meat was so moist and flavorful. Usually I over-salt things a lot, but I used only what the recipe listed and I didn't need to add any as I ate -- it was that good!
I was a little worried. While it was cooking, there was a lot of fat in the pot. I worried it would be greasy or heavy, but nope. Just moist, flavorful chicken.
If I did it again, I'd want to cut off all the extra skin/fat. The top of the bird (where it wasn't covered in fluids) actually did crisp up! Unfortunately I likely won't do this again. I don't like handling a whole bird. (So big and heavy, so much chance of getting salmonella everywhere!) Plus it's more than I can eat, I know a lot of the meat will go to waste.
But! That being said! I am going to try this same recipe with a turkey breast! And likely with cut up chicken parts. However, if you have a family or don't mind shoving your hand wrist-deep into a dead animal to fish out cold mushy internal organs, then I'd recommend making this as-is. You'd get plenty of meals out of all the yummy meat.
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