I can help with that! There are so many ways to cook a whole chicken that I'm confident we can find something that suites your needs/skill level!
Here we go..
1. Crock Pot
The absolute easiest way to cook a whole chicken (and my go to method for YEARS) is to simply throw that baby in the crockpot. Take your chicken out of the freezer 1-2 days ahead of time and allow to thaw in the fridge. On your chosen cooking day, simply place in the crockpot with a half cup of water or chicken broth and cook on low for 8 hours. You can rub any kind of seasoning on the outside of the chicken that you like. I suggest something with sage or lemon. YUM!
Spatchcocking may sound odd but it is my new favorite way to cook a chicken. If you want a fool proof, tender, delicious chicken this is absolutely the way to go! For an extra moist chicken, try out dry brining.
To spatchcock a chicken, cut out the backbone and lay the chicken flat as pictured to the right. You may need to use a little pressure to crack the breast bone but not much. Spatchcock and let the chicken sit at room temperature for about an hour before cooking. Roast the chicken at 425F until the thermometer reads 157-160F. At this time, remove chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. The chicken will continue to cook during the resting time and the temperature will increase by about 10F.
Optionally, if you are good at planning ahead, spatchcock & dry brine/season the chicken 12-24 hours prior to cooking for optimum flavor and extra crispy skin. How do you dry brine a chicken? Simply salt the chicken all over and let rest in the fridge uncovered* for 12-24 hours. You will use about 4-6TBSP salt.
*yes you read that right uncovered!
This is a popular way to cook chicken that is both fun and results in an end product crispy on the outside & moist on the inside. The name is a bit of a misnomer as you aren't restricted to just beer. You can also use root beer, ginger ale, apple juice, white wine, chicken broth, or even a can of baked beans. The key is to have a half full can of *something* wet and edible shoved into the cavity of the chicken!
To use this method, rub the outside of your chicken with olive oil and your chosen seasonings ... might I recommend thyme, rosemary, & sea salt? Place your half full can into a pan large enough to hold the chicken, then set the chicken over the top of the can. Carefully place the pan in a 350F oven. Cook the chicken 13-15 minutes per pound of meat. So about 1hr 10 minutes for a 5 pound chicken. Alternatively, you can grill your beer but chicken using indirect heat*. After an hour on the grill, check the temperature of your chicken. Continue to check every 15 minutes after that until the thickest part of the chicken thigh reaches 165F. Cooking on the grill will likely take longer (think 1.5 hours for a 4lb chicken) but we all know everything tastes better on the grill! :D
*indirect heat means to only light half the burners of a gas grill or put charcoal on only one side of the grill. Place your chicken on the side where there is no charcoal/flame
4. Smoked chicken
A customer favorite! I don't have much experience using a smoker, however, I have a customer who enjoy smoking 4 or 5 chickens at a time. They then debone all 5 chickens and shred the meat, dividing it up into meal size portions and freeze for use over the next few weeks or months.
Who doesn't LOVE fried chicken?! Frying chicken can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can use an air fryer, convection oven, or a deep fryer. But did you know that you also fry a chicken (even a WHOLE chicken) in a pan on the stove? Just make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point like vegetable oil, sunflower oil, or peanut oil. After the chicken is done cooking, the oil can be strained, refrigerated and reused. Make sure to let the oil cool down before straining! Have fun experimenting with seasonings/breading your chicken. In our experience the best method for getting the breading to 'stick' is to toss your chicken pieces in flour, then dip in egg and finally dip in your spice/breading mix.
Our cut up chickens are ideal for frying but you can also order whole chickens and cut them up yourself. Or you can follow this recipe and deep fry a WHOLE chicken!
*Bonus tip 1: Choose one day a week to do some simple meal prep. I in no way, shape, or form, do I make an elaborate meal plan but I do like to cook up batches of key ingredients to have on hand. So for example, one week I might cook a chicken and some rice with a simple salt and pepper seasoning and then pair those ingredients with different veggies and seasonings for a variety of meals throughout the week.
Bonus tip 2: if you live alone or perhaps your family prefers to not eat chicken more than once or twice a week despite different presentations, I recommend deboning (removing all of the chicken meat from the bones) after your first meal and then dividing the leftovers up into individual freezer containers. Then when you need a quick protein for a meal, it's easy to grab a container and heat it up!
What's your favorite way to cook a whole chicken?? I'd LOVE to hear from you in the comments!
And then head over to our chicken page to fill your freezer with delicious easy meals ;)
Emily & Nathan