What do I do with a whole chicken?

Does the thought of a whole chicken intimidate you?

So many of us were raised on skinless, boneless, tasteless chicken breasts that we hardly know what to do with a real, fresh whole chicken.

At first it may seem like extra work to you, but let me assure you that it is worth it! The flavor is so far above and beyond anything you have ever tasted in the store.

Probably, the all time easiest way to prepare a whole chicken is to place a thawed whole chicken with a small amount of water in a slow cooker on low in the morning before you head off to your day's work. You will come home to a wonderful aroma and dinner can be ready quickly with the addition of a side dish or two.

Our family’s favorite way to enjoy a whole chicken is to roast it. If you google roast chicken, you will likely find hundreds of ways to do it.

I love simple meals, but I do not want to use unwholesome ingredients from a box. My solution for a roast chicken is to get out my trusty black roasting pan and place a 1/2 inch of water in the bottom. I lay the fresh or thawed chicken in the water breast down-to keep the breast meat moist. I put the lid on the pan and slide it into the oven. I go about my business while it bakes at 325 degrees for 3 hours or until I can round up the family. For added flavor, spices can be rubbed into the body cavity or onto the skin. It really is that simple!!!

When it comes out of the oven, I pour off the juices and save those to use as chicken stock in other recipes. Cut up the chicken into serving size portions and enjoy.

After we have eaten our fill, we carefully pick any remaining meat off of the bones. The carcass can be boiled to make an amazingly flavorful chicken stock. The stock along with the leftover chicken pieces will make another delicious meal or two.

Of course, if your family loves to grill or use a smoker, you can enjoy your whole chicken that way too. Most grills and smokers come with instructions on how to prepare your chicken.

If you would like to learn how to cut up a whole chicken here are a couple of helpful videos:

How to cut up a whole chicken and debone

How to cut up a whole chicken with bones intact

I hope you now feel empowered to tackle that whole chicken. Once you’ve tasted a fresh, pasture-raised chicken you will never want to go back to the “grocery store kind” again.