For the Super Bowl this year we decided to make a whole chicken in the slow-cooker instead of re-heating some frozen wings and other crappy-yet-delicious frozen food. We put the new slow-cooker to use and roasted a whole chicken. Instead of the spice rub below, I made my own out of garlic, onion, chili powder, paprika, and pepper. You really do need to rub it under the skin to get the flavor in the meat, otherwise it’s just bland. Cooking breast side down kept the white meat incredibly juicy. Give it a shot if you have a big enough slow-cooker. I used a 4.25lb chicken in my 5qt slow-cooker for 4.5 hours. Probably could have taken it out at 4 hours because the dark meat slid right off the bones.
Slow-Cooker Whole “Roast” Spice-Rubbed Chicken
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: We wanted to create a whole “roast” with a fragrant, warm spice rub. To make the spice blend, we combined garam masala, chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper. But when we simply rubbed the chicken with the spice mixture, we were disappointed with the results. The meat had weak flavor at best, and, even after hours in the slow cooker, the spices had a raw, harsh flavor. We found that the solution was to microwave the spices with a little oil to bloom their flavors before rubbing them onto the chicken. Now our chicken was moist and juicy and had the bold, warmly spiced flavor we were hoping for.
Cooking Time: 4 to 5 hours on Low
Slow Cooker Size: 5 1/2 to 7 Quarts
Note that garam masala is a boldly flavored spice blend; its potency will vary from brand to brand. Check the temperature of the chicken after 4 hours of cooking and continue to monitor until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees. You will need an oval slow cooker for this recipe.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and Pepper
1 (4 1/2- to 5-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
1. Microwave oil, chili powder, garam masala, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in bowl, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute; let cool slightly.
2. Use your fingers to gently loosen skin covering breast and thighs of chicken; place half of paste under skin, directly on meat of breast and thighs. Gently press on skin to distribute paste over meat. Spread entire exterior surface of chicken with remaining paste and place chicken, breast side down, in slow cooker. Cover and cook until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 4 to 5 hours on low.
3. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve chicken, discarding skin if desired. Serve.