I have a confession:
I used to think Crock-Pot recipes were kind of annoying. It seemed like I kept encountering Crock-Pot recipes everywhere, for every time of food imaginable such as Crock-Pot mashed potatoes to Crock-Pot spaghetti. I couldn’t help but question, “Just because you can cook it a crock pot, does mean you should?”
The answer I’ve arrived at is a “We can crock pot that!” attitude in the spirit of Portlandia’s We can pickle that! bit.
I love my big Crock-Pot, so much so, that it’s earned a mostly permanent spot on my kitchen counter. Before college, my mom gave me a small Crock-Pot that lives in my cupboard. I use it less frequently, but find it handy for keeping food warm and making small batches of stew.
When my friend Kristen of Make the Best of Everything posted her recipe for Crock-Pot Rotisserie Chicken, I had to give it a try. I had just bought locally-raised chickens from my friends at Twisted River Farm and her timing could’t be more perfect.
I simply rubbed a small chicken with butter and a seasoning mix before placing it on foil balls. Then, I cooked it on low until the meat was tender and the skin rendered.
The chicken had a texture and moistness very similar to a store-bought rotisserie chicken. The skin wasn’t crispy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how far it had rendered down to a paper-thin layer. Then, I added the chicken’s drippings into my rice’s cooking liquid.
More recently, I tried a different spin on Crock-Pot Rotisserie chicken. This time, I bought a pair of chickens from my friend Shannon who raised them at her pumpkin patch Enchanted Acres. I’ll always remember the excitement I felt upon holding a baby chick for the first time when we visited her days after she brought the chicks home from Hoover’s Hatchery in nearby Rudd.
I followed the The Country Cook‘s advice and stuffed the bird with aromatics. I used fresh lemon, onion, fresh garlic and parsley.
To add flavor to the juices and elevate the bird from the bottom of the pot, I nested it on a bed of vegetables I found in my fridge such as sweet potatoes, carrots celery and onion. With the Crock-Pot set to low, I roasted the bird for about six hours until it began to fall apart.
With this particular chicken, my skin wasn’t as throughly rendered as the first. This may be due to the facts that the chicken had more fat or cooking it on a bed of veggies instead of tin foil created more liquid and steam. I followed Brandie’s advice to simply broil the chicken before serving. The juices that formed in the bottom of my Crock-Pot made a beautiful gravy; one of the most umami-filled gravies I’ve ever tasted.
Cooking a rotisserie-style chicken in a Crock-Pot is not necessarily the fastest way to cook a chicken, nor will it produce results exactly like your grocery store’s, but the method is stress-free and close enough to a real thing that it’s become one of my new favorite recipes.
Jeni’s Take On Cooking A Rotisserie-Style Chicken In A Crock-Pot
Vegetables, roughly chopped. Enough to cover the bottom of your Crock -Pot: I used sweet potatoes, carrots, onions & celery
1 whole chicken
Olive oil or butter
Parsley sprigs, a handful
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/2 head of garlic, sliced in half, or a handful of crushed garlic cloves (skin-on is OK)
Your favorite seasonings: I used a combination of Lawry’s seasoning salt, thyme, rosemary, smoked paprika and sumac.
Pepper, white & black
Garlic or garlic powder
- Layer the bottom of your Crock-Pot with chopped vegetables.
- Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
- Season the inside of the chicken with salt & pepper, and stuff with garlic, lemon slices and more onion.
- Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil or butter and your favorite herbs and spices.
- Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender. This could take anywhere between five and seven hours, depending on the size of your chicken.
- For more rendered skin, put the bird on a pan and broil until it’s as golden as you like.
- To make the gravy, pour the juices and vegetables into a strainer placed over a container. Press the vegetables gently to gather all of the broth.
- As the juices cool, the fat will rise to the top. Strain about 1/3 cup of the fat into a pan and heat.
- Whisk flour into the hot fat, until it resembles the texture of wet sand. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Cook long enough to eliminate the raw flour quality, but not enough to brown.
- Whisk in the broth, a little at a time. The flour-fat roux will thicken the broth. You can always add more liquid.
- Season the gravy with salt, pepper and a little garlic. Drizzle over the chicken.