Category Archives: Chicken

Le Coq au Crock

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken

Yeah, that's right I'm talking to YOU.

Over the years I’ve regularly come across recipes for roast chicken that call for bunging the whole bird into a crock pot and just letting it go for four or five hours, and although I find nothing to quibble with in terms of the labor involved (next to none), I have up to now shied away from this approach mostly on principal. To me, the crackly skin and pan drippings of an oven roasted bird are among its main attractions.

Also, most crock pot recipes rely on spice rubs for flavor, and I just can’t seem to go there. I know people love them and the food cognoscenti swear by them, but in my experience they disappoint, usually because they are overly salty, inedibly spicy or both. Three bites into the Moroccan lamb and I’m parched and coughing, leaving me with no alternative but to wash it all down with vast oceans of beer, which – in addition to being an integral part of the backyard grilling experience – is the only cure for the double header of excessive salinization and digestive conflagration. Trust me, no good can come of that.

It wasn't pretty. I blame the rub. Via

Just ask the nice folks who invited us over for a barbecue last year and ended up having to help Mr. Slattern wrestle me into the car at three AM sobbing about the ’03 ALCS and ranting about “that-pussy-Alex-Rodriguez-and-his-asshole-buddy-Jeter.” Needless to say, we were not invited back and subsequent letters of apology were returned to sender. I suspect our hosts may have since left the state. I was also informed that a lesser man would have considered that behavior to be grounds. Point taken.

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Is it just me, or does this look as unappealing as it is unhealthy?

Roman Chicken, courtesy the Food Network

This is Giada De Laurentiis’s Roman Chicken, which the Food Network is touting as a “healthy choice,” presumably to pander to all those soon-to-be-blown New Year’s resolutions. Now, I assume the Food Network employs a passel of food stylists, cooks and photographers to ensure that each and every dish is shown to its best advantage, with maximum visual appeal, promising a party in your mouth. So how to account for this? Is it me, or does this look like it’s already been chewed and partially digested? Puzzling.

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Go ahead. Roast a chicken. What are you scared of?

courtesy Epicurious

Who doesn’t love roast chicken with gravy and potatoes? The sight of a whole bird emerging brown and sizzling from the oven scratches a deeply primal itch. As a dinner, it’s both profoundly satisfying and ridiculously easy.

What’s that you say? Your bird’s thighs are always undercooked while the breast is as dry as packing foam? You don’t have three hours between now and dinner? Gravy, are you for real?

Faugh, that’s right I said faugh. You are obviously working way too hard. Turning the bird? Madness. Stuffing the bird? Eww, plus I hate anything that involves wet bread. Hours to cook? Ninety minutes tops and you can bake the potatoes at the same time. Gravy? Child’s play.

The secret is using small, unstuffed birds cooked at high heat.

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