Recipe: Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

With air temperatures tumbling each day faster than you can say "naebok", homely meals at the end of a long, blustery day is just the thing to get you ready for the long oncoming winter. This is probably why I'm finding a craving for more hearty and homely meals lately. I've been a fan of using slow cookers for a while now for its convenience and time-saving ways which still yields fantastic meals. Using this recipe you can prep a whole chicken simply by putting on some marinade and throwing it into the slow cooker.

The result is a super tender, moist, and flavorful whole chicken which can make for an easy, lazy weekend, no-frills-but-still-"fancy" dinner at home. The prep time takes only a few minutes and then the slow cooker does the rest of the cooking for you, saving you time and energy to do other things.

As a bonus, the leftover bones, trimmings, and other stuff can be thrown back into the pot to make an incredible chicken broth (instructions coming up next) which you can use right away in other dishes or freeze and store for later use. It's a meal with a bonus goody for you.

With a salad and some dressed grains, this is an easy meal which also yields plenty of leftovers.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

You'll need:
- 1 small-medium sized whole Chicken suitable for roasting (go for the hormones/antibiotics free if you can and with giblets removed for convenience)
- 1 Lemon, cut in half
- 1/2 a small Onion, sliced
- 1-2 small Potatoes, in 1/4" slices
- 2 tbsp of melted Butter
- 1-2 tbsp of Olive Oil
- 1-2 tbsp of favorite Herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, etc). Chop them up if they're fresh.
- 1/2 tbsp of minced Garlic
- 1 tsp of Black Pepper
- 2 tsp of Sea Salt
- 1-2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper (Optional if you like it a little spicy)

1. Spray a little cooking oil spray in your slow cooker before adding the potatoes and onions. 
Note: You can even add some carrots or other vegetables but just make sure you have enough room to close the lid on the slow cooker once you add the whole chicken.

2. Combine your melted butter, olive oil, minced garlic, and choice of spices and herbs. Taste and adjust to your liking.

3. Add your lemon halves inside the chicken cavity then place your whole chicken (with neck and giblets removed) into the slow cooker atop the vegetables. You can choose whether or not to leave the skin on. Take your melted herb and spices and pour and rub it onto your chicken. Make sure to get it all around and under the skin if you choose to keep the skin on. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Check for doneness with thermometer or fork and knife.

4. When the chicken is done, you can serve as is after removing the lemon from inside. However, as those familiar with a slow cooker knows, the disadvantage of cooking meat in it is that while the meat is tender and moist, it's nearly impossible to get a nice crispy exterior. If you're a fan of crispy skin, set the chicken in an oven-safe pan and broil it for 4-5 minutes, letting it rest for a few minutes after before serving.

In my case, my mini oven does not fit a whole chicken so I actually put it on my skillet on medium-high heat for a few minutes. If you opt for this method, you need to handle the chicken carefully as the chicken will be very tender and extremely fragile.

By investing just a few minutes into the prep work you'll get a nice, fall-apart tender chicken on your table in minutes!

Keep the bones afterwards (and neck) in the freezer as I'll be showing you how to make some bomb chicken broth with them soon!