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Slow cooker whole chicken AND make bone broth: hack my efficiency please

by (3280)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:45 PM
Created May 19, 2012 at 12:41 AM

I bought a whole cut-up chicken so I can eat the meat AND make bone broth in my slow cooker in one session (so one clean-up cycle).

Previously, I'd cook the chicken over-night (about 8 hours) on LOW, wake up in the morning, take all the meat off the bones, toss the bones back in for 12 hours on LOW, along with 2T of apple cider vinegar.

That worked pretty well.

However, I was wondering if I'm over-cooking the chicken.

As an experiment, I wanted to see how the chicken came out if cooked for a shorter period of time.

So, I put the cut-up pieces on HIGH at 7pm, before figuring out how long it should cook.

I dug out my slow cooker recipe book and it said something about LOW & HIGH arriving at the same temperature, high just doing so faster.

It also said something about not opening the lid for the first several hours as it heats up.

It mentioned that the internal chicken temperature should be 180 degrees (I presume I must lift the chicken out of the liquid to ensure my instant read thermometer gets the chicken temp and not the liquid temp.

Questions:

  1. How long should I cook the cut-up chicken on HIGH?

  2. Will I get better results doing the chicken on high so there would be more time for the bones to be in the liquid without all the meat around them?

  3. What's the most efficient sequence of cooking times, steps.

Thanks,

Mike

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1002 · May 21, 2012 at 3:17 AM

I used to have a hard time having it jell too, but then I stopped using vinegar and now I can just about stand a spoon up in it after it's cooled (even after I take the fat off the top!) I really like using lemon juice too....Happy Cooking! It's amazing what good broth adds to the dishes it's used in.

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3280 · May 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I've made bone broth about 6 times so far. 5 of the times it was only slightly gelly. Twice I got it to be super gelly. I think my problem was there was too much water. This time, I used less (8 cups not 12), and I'm leaving the lid off for a few hours to let it reduce down a bit further. 10 more hours to go !!! Thanks for the confirmation about a 4 hour HIGH cook time being ok.

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3280 · May 19, 2012 at 2:45 AM

correct, no need for double cleanup. I was soo hungry I must have been delirious !

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3280 · May 19, 2012 at 2:45 AM

After 3.5 hours on high, I opened the lid and took out a breast. My instant read registered 200 degrees F so I knew it was safe. It cut nicely (not stringy). I already brushed my teeth so I didn't try any, but I'm optimistic it will be tasty with a good texture. I just added the vinegar & tossed the bones & skin back in, along with 1 tsp of salt. It occurred to me after writing that indeed, there would not be a need for 2 cleanings of the crock pot.

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1002 · May 19, 2012 at 3:21 AM

I cook the whole thing for about 4 hours on high, pull out the chicken with a strainer spoon (spider), and pull all of the meat off. Then I put the bones back in and keep cooking the broth for another 6-8 hours, depending on convenience. Works every time. Even on the stovetop in a dutch oven.

1096aa84d006fe967128ffbd37e8070e
1002 · May 21, 2012 at 3:17 AM

I used to have a hard time having it jell too, but then I stopped using vinegar and now I can just about stand a spoon up in it after it's cooled (even after I take the fat off the top!) I really like using lemon juice too....Happy Cooking! It's amazing what good broth adds to the dishes it's used in.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · May 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I've made bone broth about 6 times so far. 5 of the times it was only slightly gelly. Twice I got it to be super gelly. I think my problem was there was too much water. This time, I used less (8 cups not 12), and I'm leaving the lid off for a few hours to let it reduce down a bit further. 10 more hours to go !!! Thanks for the confirmation about a 4 hour HIGH cook time being ok.

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3924 · May 19, 2012 at 2:34 AM

It seems to me the only way you will get a bone broth in one step is if you cook it long enough that the meat falls away from the bone and the exposed bone has a chance to demineralize in the broth. This might actually take longer than your original method. My guess is at least 30 hours for a good bone broth.

I cook chicken in the crockpot all the time and I personally don't think 12 hours on low is too long to cook crockpot chicken. Eight hours on low or 5-6 on high is probably best, but 12 is okay. Also, I don't think 12 hours in a crockpot is long enough to cook bone broth. I think 20-24 hours is better, although if you're getting a good gelatinous bone broth then maybe your crockpot or vinegar is better than mine. One thing you might try is cooking your chicken on a weekend or day you don't work, so you could put it in the crockpot in the late morning or around noon, then eat the chicken for dinner (6-8 hours cooking time). After dinner, strip the rest of the meat off the bones, put your yummy meat broth in the fridge, and toss the bones back into the crockpot with some water and vinegar and make your bone broth for 24 hours until the next evening.

Also, I don't see why you need to do two clean-ups of the crockpot when you cook your chicken/bone broth in two steps. Why clean it when all it had in it is chicken and broth, and you're going to immediately turn around and cook the bones to make more broth?

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3280 · May 19, 2012 at 2:45 AM

correct, no need for double cleanup. I was soo hungry I must have been delirious !

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