Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicken dinners

Now that I have the pressure cooker and it is easier to make stock, I started buying whole chickens again. I like that I can do this with a half-assed plan. Chicken is chicken. There is no one way it needs to be cooked.

Prior to the Sunday grocery shopping trip, I checked the weather and saw that today was going to be pushing 40 degrees. Perfect winter grilling weather. The report, however didn't say anything about the precipitation was luckily dodged between 5 and 6 this evening. I've grilled in the rain and/or snow before and it isn't that big a deal. The hardest part is trying not to track up the house going in and out. Anyhow, upon seeing a 40 degree Tuesday and knowing that I have more time to get dinner ready on Tuesdays because of gymnastics - grilling was happening.  During the Sunday shopping trip, I picked up two fryers from Fresh Market. When they aren't on sale, two of these chickens will cost about $15. A sale drops the price closer to $11. I like getting two chickens because I get a minimum of three dinners out of them, plus a lunch or two and stock.  Plus, I think the chicken tastes better than buying pre-butchered chicken. Especially boneless breasts. Maybe it's my imagination.

After a little bit of handiwork (I'm actually getting pretty good at this), each chicken is broken down into 2 boneless breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and I break up the wings. A boning knife helps, but a chefs knife will do. Here's a good video on breaking down a chicken (there are 3 videos in the series - 1, 2 and 3). To make life easier in the future, I also remove the tenderloin from the breast and take out the piece of sinew that runs through them.

The breasts and tenderloins get wrapped up for the future. I'll probably remove the skin before I use the breasts. I leave them on in case I end up grilling them.I used to freeze the wings and save them until I had enough for a wing dinner. Lately I've just been throwing them on the grill.

The carcass and wingtips get packaged to make stock. This can easily get frozen. So can any of the chicken you don't plan to use this week.

Light up a chimney full of charcoal. I've been using Royal Oak lately. Sadly, I have the phone nymber to the Phillips Hardware store on Central in my phone. I also have the product SKU in there too...for easier ordering. There' no shipping charge if you pick it up at the store.

Got my chicken spice rub together. I'll give you a hint: one of the six ingredients is salt.

Apply the rub liberally and go grill.

It was a little to dark for outdoor photography at 5:30 this evening. I set up an offset fire in the Weber, put all the chicken on the cooler side and flipped everything after about 10 to 12 minutes. They were out there for about 25 minutes. I checked some pieces with a thermometer to make sure they were done and had to use a flashlight (the joys of winter grilling). Dinner is served.

Tomorrow, I'm on my own with the kids for dinner. I think I'm going to use one breast and the tenderloins to make tacos or quesadillas. Thursday will either be a slightly easier one pan take on chicken parm or chicken Marsala. Whatever is left will probably go into some chicken noodle soup. All plans are subject to change. Like I said, it doesn't matter. It's just boneless breasts of chicken. Except, these are fresher and I believe they will taste better than if I had bought them already off the bone.


  1. I have never been a huge "spice rub" guy, but lately I have been obsessed with one.


    Try this. It has salt, sumac, cocoa, coffee, garlic, and pepper. I am in love with sumac as an ingredient lately and this rub highlights it excellently. This rub is a tangy, umami harmony. I have used it on skirt steak and chicken to great effect.

  2. Your Sunday was my Saturday...cooked lamb, chicken and sausage on my charcoal weber....fed not only my husband and I for two meals, but some friends as well.....love the flavor and the weather cooperated nicely.

  3. Mr. Dave- that rub sounds fantastic. Picked up the ingredients I didn't already have this afternoon and that will get put on the to-do list. Thanks for the idea.

    llcwine- everything is better on a charcoal grill. I haven't cooked lamb in awhile. I should try it again.

    Only one drumstick of the grilled chicken is left