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What to do with a Whole Chicken

October 10, 2020

Just because you bought a whole chicken from Seven Sons, or brought a whole chicken home from the store doesn’t mean you have to simply stick it in the oven and make a roasted chicken dinner. There are hundreds of different ways you can cook a whole chicken, which we’re about to go through in this guide!

Roasted chicken is great for holidays, but it can be tedious and messy to undress a whole chicken for a meal over a few days. One of the best ways to prepare a whole chicken is to break it up into pieces before cooking.

If you divide up a whole chicken based on its different cuts, you can cook them all in different ways. Each part has unique ways it can be cooked so you get the best succulent flavor out of the meat. You can experiment with recipes and meal prep to get a variety of meals for the week instead of just the same one repeated!

Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite easy chicken recipes you should try.

Cook Chicken Thighs

Thighs are a great part of the meat because they are thick, fatty, and full of flavor. This is the cut that is right on top of the leg.

The best way to prepare thighs is to bake them in the oven. This method keeps the skin nice and crispy, but leaves the meat inside juicy.

To season them to sensation, you can bake thighs with salt, pepper, butter, and whatever other seasons suit your palate (we like paprika and lemon pepper), put them in the oven, and allow them to simmer in their own juices.

The key to cooking thighs is the slow bake: if you cook them too fast and hot, they’ll lose the juice, but if you cook them too slow, they won’t get that delicious crispy shell.

For more delectable chicken thigh recipes, click through to our chicken thigh cooking guide!

Cook Chicken Tenders

Making chicken tenders from scratch is a great way to cook a whole chicken. It can be a bit tedious, but it’s well worth the work.

This involves slicing the meat into the strip size you prefer—this is up to you, but the typical recommendation is about 1-2 inches wide and 3-4 inches long.

Then, you’ll want to decide how to cook them. There are a multitude of ways you can do this, from breading, to grilling, and lots more. If you usually buy this cut of meat ready-made from the store, why not try making your own?

Check out our guide to cooking the perfect, juicy chicken tenders in your very own kitchen!

Cook Chicken Legs

Otherwise known as drumsticks, separating the legs from your whole carcass is a deliciously versatile method to cook a whole chicken.

Chicken legs are a BBQ favorite and can be smothered in a sauce of your choosing to make delicious drumsticks. If you’re having friends over to watch a game, or just fancy something new for dinner, saucy drumsticks are sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

Like all other forms of chicken meat, there are many ways to cook the legs, so if you’re not a fan of sticky sauce, you can cook them in a simpler marinade. Try olive oil, melted butter, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Marinade in a Ziploc bag for 30 minutes to 12 hours, and bake!

Read our recipe guide for even more tasty ways to cook chicken legs!

Cook Chicken Carcass

Once you’ve stripped all the meat from your whole chicken, don’t forget to use the carcass! Rather than wasting this, you can get even more food for your money.

Carcass can be used to make delicious, hearty soups – perfect for those fall and winter months for warming lunches and suppers. You can also turn it into stock and bone broth, which can act as bases for many more tasty meals like a roast dinner or casserole.

To learn how to use up your whole carcass, save money, and prevent food waste, read our nutritious recipes for cooking carcass here!

Cook Chicken Breasts

This is the juiciest, meatiest part of the whole chicken, so you want to make sure to retain all of that flavor.

One of the best ways to do that is to bake them – and you can do this with a wide variety of seasonings. How about taco flavoring, or cook them in Italian herb seasoning? You can also grill them, as well as cook them on your stovetop.

To learn how to create these delicious marinades and recipes, head over to our chicken breast cooking guide!

The Bottom Line

To cook a whole chicken, you don’t just have to roast the whole thing: it doesn’t have to be a “one-and-done” meal if you don’t want it to be. You can come up with at least five different meals, with different cuts of meat, just from one whole chicken!

Variety is the spice of life, and you’ll be much more satisfied with unique meals each day than with picking off pieces of roasted chicken every day for a week. On the topic of spice, our in-depth recipe guides for each of these cuts gives you plenty of spicy (and mild) marinade ideas for all different ways of cooking your meat.

So, if you want to switch up your dinner routine and impress your friends and family, give our guides a read and put one of our recipes on your menu this week. It won’t disappoint!

…But if all else fails, you can always make a roasted chicken dinner with your own homemade broth, too!

Catherine Hitzfield

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