Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cooking Chicken in a crock pot

Marian asked how to keep her chicken from coming out like mush in a slow cooker. I know what you mean about overcooking. I'm always afraid I'll get choked on a small bone because the chicken just falls apart. It took a little research, but I think I have come up with some suggestions for you, Marian.

Chicken is already a tender meat and it can be easy to overcook it, especially in a crock pot. White meat always cooks faster than dark meat just because of it's texture. When using white meat chicken pieces with the bone in crock pot recipe, never cook it more than 6-7 hours, but dark meat takes longer and should be cooked 8-9 hours.

Unless your recipe says otherwise, chicken pieces should be placed on top of vegetables in the crock and not so much in the juicies. While the juices help keep the chicken moist, it also helps cook the chicken to it most tenderness, thus falling apart.

One suggestion that I found said that an old "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" said to use frozen whole pieces of chicken. I checked my "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" for this tip and could not find it. I've never put frozen chicken pieces in a crock pot before, but I have put in frozen boneless ribs and cooked them all day. They came out completely cooked and tender, but not falling apart. If using frozen chicken pieces, remember that the internal temperature of chicken should reach 170 degrees for it to be done.

My last tip for using a slow cooker is not specifically for chicken, but for all dishes. I highly recommend using Reynolds™ Slow Cooker Liners. They make cleanup so much easier. I use them every time I use my slow cooker.

Good luck on your chicken dishes, Marian. I hope my suggestions will work for you.



Paulineh said...

Carol thanks for your tips and I like especially the one in regard to putting chicken on top of the vegetables. I personally though wouldn't use use frozen chicken. In my book chicken needs to be thawed so it cooks all the way through.

Marian Allen said...

Thanks, Carol--this will help, but I should have said I was cooking a whole chicken, not parts. Should I only cook parts?

Molly Daniels said...

Yay! You took my advice and tried out the slow cooker bags! Aren't they fantastic?

Carol said...

Marian, if you are cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker, I would reduce the time that the chicken is in there. Remember to check for doneness with a meat thermometer.