Why It's A Good Idea To Remove Chicken Skin When Slow-Cooking

Chicken in slow cooker
Chicken in slow cooker - julie deshaies/Shutterstock

There are many ways to cook a chicken to achieve a specific texture or taste. You can perfectly fry chicken to get a crispy outer layer with a savory flavor. Or you can grill chicken if you prefer a charred crust and a smoky flavor. There's also the easy option of making chicken in a slow cooker set at a low temperature for an extended period. This method can result in incredibly juicy and fork-tender meat. To help achieve that desirable result, you should remove the skin from the chicken before it's cooked, regardless of which of the best slow-cooker chicken recipes to make at home you pick.

The skin of a chicken cooked in a slow cooker will not become a delicious, crispy outer layer because the temperature is too low, and the method is too moist to allow the skin to crisp up. Slow-cooking chicken with the skin still on can also make the meat super oily and the skin rubbery. Not only could this make the chicken slippery, which would make it harder to transfer from the slow cooker to a plate or baking dish, but the meal may taste unpleasantly greasy.

Read more: The 12 Best Grocery Store Rotisserie Chickens, Ranked

Chicken Skin As A Flavor-Blocker

Chicken cooking in slow cooker
Chicken cooking in slow cooker - Rosamar/Shutterstock

You want your slow-cooked chicken to be tender, juicy, and tasty, but leaving the chicken skin on the meat while cooking might not produce the flavorful meat you were aiming for. That's because chicken skin can act as a barrier between the meat and any added seasonings and sauce, effectively blocking the delicious flavors from penetrating the chicken. Peeling off that skin is especially beneficial with slow-cooker chicken recipes that prominently feature flavorful seasonings and sauces, such as slow-cooker chicken in Italian tomato sauce.

If you slow-cook your chicken with the skin on, it will likely develop an overly soft texture, making it too mushy to enjoy eating. You may wonder if you can sear the chicken to give the skin a crispy golden brown crust before slow-cooking the chicken. Unfortunately, if you cook seared chicken "low and slow" in your slow cooker, the seared skin of the chicken will still turn rubbery, which is why you're better off removing it. Since removing the skin before slow-cooking chicken is a good idea, you should know how to do so properly.

Chicken-Skinning 101

Person removing skin from chicken
Person removing skin from chicken - TheFlatCapChef / YouTube

If you're prepping a whole chicken, shallowly slice the skin covering the breast from top to bottom then peel the skin off in large strips. When working with a whole bird, taking the skin off the breast should be fairly easy; the legs can be more of a challenge. Using paper towels to hold the chicken can improve your grip on the slippery fowl.

Removing skin from individual parts is often easier. To skin a chicken breast, grab the skin from the pointed end of the breast and firmly pull it. If the skin is stubbornly attached, slide a knife under it to loosen it. To remove the skin from chicken wings, carefully cut the skin off starting at the skin flap on the side of the wing. Taking the skin off chicken wings is difficult; you might want to just leave it on.

If you're working with chicken thighs, pull the skin back and slip a sharp knife sideways under the skin, cut it away from the meat then pull it off of the thigh like a sheet. To remove skin from a drumstick, use two paper towels, one sheet in each hand, so the leg doesn't slip out. Hold the drumstick with one hand, and with the other hand, pull the skin off from the top of the leg down. The skin should come off cleanly.

Once everything is skinless, trim off excess fat, and you're ready to slow-cook your chicken.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.