Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crock Pot Sticky Chicken

I first saw this recipe for Sticky Chicken on Deep South Dish. Mary's chicken looked and sounded so easy and delicious that I put it into my meal plan right away. In addition, I had another recipe that I've wanted to try that calls for 1 lb. of rotisserie-style chicken, and I knew there would likely be enough leftover to make it. A whole chicken sells for just 89 cents a pound at my local grocery, so Sticky Chicken qualifies as an excellent meal to work into our rotation. Delicious, easy to stretch into 2 or 3 meals, and economical. Love it!

Mary's Sticky Chicken recipe instructs to bake at 250 degrees for 5 hours. As I read through her post, I wondered if this could be done in the crock pot. Mary posed the same question at the end of her post. The answer is YES! I searched cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot and quickly found a recipe. It just said, "Cook on low for 8 hours." That's it. No big secret. However, in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Slow Cooker Cooking" I read that it's best not to cook a whole chicken in the crock pot unless you're cooking it on high because the low heat might keep the meat in the bacterial "danger zone" for more than two hours. Okay...I was conflicted. Then Sunday morning came brought another bout of the stomach flu to our house, so I figured, "I'm already washing out the barf bucket and washing sheets, what do I have to lose?" Not really...I mean yes, really the stomach flu briefly re-visited my daughter, but I wasn't really going to invite salmonella poisoning into our home. I did some research and I found lots of conflicting views on slow cooking a whole chicken. In the end, I decided to go for it. I resolved to cook the chicken on HIGH for the first hour to get it out of the danger zone and then turned it down to the LOW setting for the remainder of the cooking time. It worked beautifully. I was shooting for an internal cooking temp of 180 degrees when the bird was finished. After 5 hours in my crock pot (1 hour on HIGH, 4 hours on LOW), I decided to check the temp. My meat thermometer skyrocketed to 200 degrees! I think I succeeded in killing any bacteria.

I served it up with mashed potatoes and oven roasted carrots, and smothered everything with a gravy that I made from the drippings. Doesn't this combo just scream Sunday Dinner?

To make the chicken, just combine the seasonings in a small bowl. This is kosher salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, and crushed thyme.

Next, I prepared the chicken. I removed the neck and giblets, then I rinsed the whole thing off and patted it dry. My daughters were particularly fascinated by my dealings with a whole bird and kept talking to and about "Mr. Chicken". Lovely. I may have perpetuated this behavior by making Mr. Chicken wave to them with his wings. Me and my sick sense of humor, I tell ya. I've mentioned before that I am not squeamish about dealing with raw meat. I grew up on a farm, ya'll! When I was a kid, we used to raise and butcher our own chickens. I was "the plucker". Ick. Admittedly, this is a really horrible job and I didn't really enjoy chicken for quite some time after this assignment was complete. However, it did not "scar me for life". From early on, I knew exactly where our food came from. As a result, I've never kept it a secret from my own kiddos. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me to discourage my children from "enlightening" their friends. As a result, I've needed to make an apology or two to other parents. I've since explained to my oldest that not everyone really wants to hear about grandpa's cows as they enjoy their Happy Meal. Apparently, the teaching gene is present in my first born. : )

Rub the chicken inside and out with the spices and loosely cover before putting it into the fridge overnight to allow the meat to marinate.

The next day, I quartered and onion, stuffed it into the cavity and dropped my chicken into the crock pot. I cooked on HIGH for 1 hour and LOW for 4 hours.

The chicken turned out flavorful and fall off the bone tender. By cooking it in the crock pot, you do sacrifice the deeper color and crisping of the skin that you'd see from an oven roasted bird. Everyone enjoyed this, especially my 5 year old, who had miraculously recovered from her stomach bug and ate more than any of us. The chicken yielded more than enough meat for a family of 4 (considering 2 of the 4 are little) and I had plenty of meat to bag up for tomorrow's Fabulous Focaccia Sandwiches.

Here's the recipe:

Rotisserie Style Sticky Chicken for the Crock Pot
Adapted from a recipe by Mimi Hiller
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
and adapted again by me.

1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
4 teaspoons of kosher salt
20 turns of the pepper grinder
1 Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 teaspoon of dried thyme, crushed

Remove neck and giblets from chicken if it has them. In a small bowl, mix together thoroughly the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, paprika and thyme and rub this mixture all over the inside and outside of the chicken. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight if possible, to marinate. Before cooking, quarter the onion and stuff into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken in your crock pot and cover. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour and LOW for about 4 hours. Check temp at 3 hours to avoid overcooking. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature is between 175/180 degrees when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.

I think that I'll use Mary's disclaimer here: The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking poultry at oven temperatures of 325 degrees or higher. You should proceed with this recipe with that knowledge and at your own risk.


Mary | Deep South Dish said...

You are so funny! I had a carton of eggs recently that had a feather stuck on one of the eggs and that freaked me out for days LOL!!! I was also watching that Food, Inc. on PBS recently and there was a chicken farmer who does things the old way, open air, slit the neck, behead, pluck, wash - the whole nine yards. I know that happens, I just don't know that I want to SEE it!!

Hey, thanks for the shout out. I'm gonna do one in the crockpot sometime myself! I read that high/low thing too, so glad to see you tried it.

teresa said...

oh my gosh, i love this recipe! we will definitely be trying this soon!

Kim said...

Thanks for sharing the information about cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot. It is something that I've wanted to do for awhile now, but have had the same conflicting thoughts that you have. I love your idea of cooking it on high for the first hour to kill any bacteria.

The chicken looks really, really moist and I am definitely a big fan of that.

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