I still remember the first time I tried to cut up a whole chicken. I was a young teen and my mom worked during the day and would sometimes ask me to get dinner started or at least prepped. One day she called from work and asked me to cut up a whole chicken that had been defrosting in the fridge. (Mom never bought cut-up chicken because it was a lot more expensive.) I got the chicken out, looked at it, and then called her back asking, “How?” She attempted to talk me through it but the minute I saw the heart, liver and other parts coming out, I got light-headed and had to stop. I didn’t attempt to cut up a whole chicken for another 30 years.
Today on KKTV 11 News @ 10am, Executive Chef Justin Boudouin from The Cliff House at Pikes Peak demonstrates how easy it really is to cut up a whole chicken. It does take a bit of practice if you’ve never done it and it does make a huge difference if you use a really sharp knife*.
*Dull knives are less safe than sharp knives. Though a dull knife will cause less damage if it grazes your skin, you have to cut more vigorously and exert a lot more pressure with a dull knife, which decreases your ability to control the knife and raises the potential for accidents. And you shouldn’t put your good knives in the dishwasher. The force of the water can decrease the sharpness of knife edges.
You’ll notice Chef and I both are wearing gloves. Raw chicken can make you sick and cross-contamination can occur when you don’t get your hands washed thoroughly after handling it. It can get under your nails or stuck on your rings, which can then be transferred to whatever you touch. Wearing gloves ensures your hands are kept clean. Also, if you rinse your raw chicken, make sure you clean the sink afterwards and never cut up a raw chicken and then place food on the same surface or use the same knife without proper cleaning.
Why bother cutting up a whole chicken versus buying one already cut up? Because it can save you a ton of money. I can find whole chickens on sale at the grocery stores, usually anywhere from 69 cents a pound to 99 cents a pound. A 3 pound chicken will easily feed a family of 4, so for about $3, you can feed your family with a tasty protein. And everyone can choose their favorite piece. Another advantage of buying a whole chicken and cutting it up yourself is you’ll have bones for a future stock, which Chef Boudouin will show us how to make next week. When I cut up a chicken, I toss the bones in a freezer bag and save them until I’m ready to make stock.
I usually wear something fabulous I found at one of our local thrift/non-profit/consignment stores to show that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to look good. Today’s top came from Discover Goodwill and cost me a whopping $2.99! (It was priced at $5.99 but was half off that day.) Saving money on food and clothes to me, is always a good thing.