How to Cook a Whole Chicken
"Your whole chickens sound amazing, but I’m just not quite sure how to cook one. I’ve never done something like that before!"
Listen, you’re not alone. I had never cooked a whole chicken before moving to the farm, either, but it turns out to be much easier than you think!
You’ve likely cooked chicken from the store before, boneless and skinless that’s ready to salt, pepper, and throw on the stove.
Our chicken is different because it comes with the bones in and skin on, which seems like a downside, BUT, it’s really a bonus!
How so? Well, the bones and skin is where all of that rich, chicken flavor and golden nutrition lies, and the ultimate treasure - collagen. Collagen is a protein that keeps skin smooth, joints strong, muscles building, and much more.
And in all of that, lies the start to your next meal - chicken broth - but we’ll get back to that.
So, to cook a chicken with bones in and skin on simply requires a little more care when consuming the cooked product, but other than that, it’s nearly the same.
Our family’s go-to for cooking a whole chicken is the InstantPot, but you could easily use a small crock pot or roasting pan to achieve the same thing.
To start, you’ll want your chicken thawed. Pull it from the freezer and set into a pan in the fridge to thaw the chicken over 1-2 days. When it’s thawed and ready to cook, take off the packaging and remove any giblets inside the chicken cavity.
From there, you need only oil and season it. Salt, pepper, sage all go well with chicken, but you can season it however you like. Spicy or savory, it’s up to you!
After the chicken is rubbed generously with oil and seasoning (inside and out), set it in your cooker (InstantPot, slow cooker, or roasting pan).
***Pro tip from Tina: I stick balled up aluminum foil on the bottom of my crock pot so the chicken is moist and the skin gets crispy.
Cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. The InstantPot offers a poultry setting you can use, otherwise refer to a recipe for specific slow cook or roasting instructions.
To serve, simply pull the meat off the bone and enjoy! Be conscious of small bones.
BONUS: After the meat is cleared, you can make a hearty chicken broth with the remaining bones and tissue. Simply transfer the bones and scraps to a stock pot with 4-6 quarts water and any desired herbs/vegetables (onion, garlic, carrots, celery). Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 2 hours. Strain the broth into a jar and you’ve got it! Use it over the next few days in a meal, enjoy on it’s own, or freeze for the next time you need chicken broth.
A whole chicken is truly a great thing to cook and enjoy with your family! Give it a shot if you haven’t before, and let us know if you have any questions. Thanks!