Introduction: Chicken in a Watermelon

About: Synth chick for electro-rock band, Former Human Beings

At first glance, you may think this is an early Halloween Instructable for a creepy recipe. Please don't look away! It's not as hideous as it may seem! It's actually a fantastic recipe in a not-so-traditional form that results in an uber tender chicken meal. The original recipe was posted in the New York Times as an April Fool's joke, but I made some of my own adjustments, and it was one of the most spectacularly juicy chickens I'd ever had. No, you can't taste the watermelon, and yes, it is so worth the time to do this. Summertime makes watermelons abundant and cheap, so please give this a try. It's an awesome summer party showstopper. I've added one of my own savoury watermelon salad recipe to the bottom as you will have an overabundance of watermelon "meat" from doing this. :)



  • 1 large watermelon (about 15 pounds)
  • 1 roaster chicken, (about 5 pounds)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 whole lemon, poked with fork several times
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter


  • sharp knife
  • ice cream scooper or large spoon
  • 6 wooden skewers
  • large baking dish
  • saucepan

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

When choosing your watermelon, make sure it's going to be big enough to hold your chicken once it's emptied out. You might want to purchase these at the same time so you can guesstimate the size. My 5lb bird worked perfectly in my 15lb watermelon. Also, because I wanted this to be a cool presentation of turning a watermelon into a slow-cooker pot, I chose one that was aesthetically cute!

You can peel all the skin off your chicken if you'd like to cut down on the fat, but I love its flavours in the gravy that's made at the end. Plus, I feel like it aids to its tenderness. I don't know. I'm not a chef, I just love to eat.

The original recipe for this used Chinese five-spice powder and soy sauce. I gave that a pass and tried a mix of curry, turmeric, chili and garlic. You can go with any spices or rubs you prefer.

Step 2: Turn Your Watermelon Into a Pot

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut a tiny horizontal slice off bottom of watermelon so it won't roll away. How sad would that be?! Cut off the top third of the watermelon horizontally. This will be your lid to your pot.

Use a pairing knife to make a guide around the perimeter of the watermelon lid and base. Scoop out the watermelon from the lid, then score the inside of the melon to take out big chunks.

After you take out big chunks, finish hollowing out the base by scooping out the rest.

Step 3: Rub Your Chicken

To make the spice rub, in a bowl, mix together the curry powder, turmeric, garlic powder, chili powder, and brown sugar. Stir in some salt and pepper.

Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper.

Place the fork-pricked lemon inside chicken.

Lift up the skin of the chicken and rub in some of the spice mix all over.

Step 4: Lock the Chicken in the Watermelon

Rub the rest of the spice mix all over the outside of the chicken, the place the chicken into the base of the hollowed watermelon.

Top with some more salt and pepper.

Put the lid of the watermelon on top, then use skewers to lock it into place. If you skip doing this, the lid will come off as it shrinks in the oven and that's rubbish! Please don't skip!

Step 5: Bake at Two Temperatures

Place chicken on a large baking pan. It will eventually accumulate quite a bit of juice, so you might want to line it with foil to help keep things clean. I didn't. I love elbow grease. Bake in 400 F oven for 2 hours.

Lower heat to 300 F and cook for 2 1/2 hours longer. Occasionally check on it to make sure your baking pan isn't overflowing.

Carefully remove melon from oven, then remove the skewers.

Step 6: Make the Gravy

Remove the lid and tip out all the juices from the melon and the baking pan into a saucepan.

Bring juices to a boil over high heat, then lower and simmer until it reduces a bit.

Whisk in 2 tablespoons of cold butter, then pour into a serving bowl or gravy boat.

Step 7: Serve It Up

Before you tear the chicken up, you'll want to gather everyone around and do a, "Look what I can do," and an air kick. If no one's around, take a selfie next to the big melony chickeny mass and send it around. Anyway! Just tugging at the chicken will cause it to fall apart in pieces because it's so tender.

Spoon gravy over chicken and enjoy!

Step 8: What to Do With All That Watermelon You Cut Out

This is one of my favourite savoury salads I make out of watermelon. Give it a try with some of that excess watermelon you've got now!

Spicy Cashew Watermelon Salad


  • fruit of half a large watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 a bunch of fresh mint, torn
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced (1/2 if you want it milder)
  • 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 small lime
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 inch block of fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic

In a bowl, mix together the watermelon, mint, tomatoes, avocado, cashews, jalapeno, and sesame seeds.

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, lime juice, and vinegar. Grate in the ginger and garlic. Drizzle over salad and mix well.