Wednesday, April 6, 2011
It wasn't the chicken that was gross. It was what they put in the chicken. At some point in the processing and packaging of the carcass, someone added saline implants to these chickens, and it was not pretty. Apparently, it's a pretty common practice. Injecting saline between the skin and the flesh adds moisture and flavor to a product, and these implants, something like the consistency and texture of mucus, are gross. Chef Garvey demonstrated how to take apart the chicken into legs, thighs, wings, breasts and tenders. We followed, immediately noting the slimy saline slipping out of from under the skin after the first incision. My guess is these chickens were never treated right and probably needed the extra juice when it came time to cook. The carcasses had obviously been jostled en route to the Institute. I don't think I pulled out one intact wish bone (although maybe that was me), and by the end of class, there was just slime and mucus and chicken juice all over everything.
At home, things went a bit more smoothly. This organic minimally processed chicken courtesy of Trader Joe's cost about $5 for the entire thing and did not with saline injections. The skin was tight, the meat taut. The wish bone came out in one piece, and it made a nice roast.
Instead of giving you all step-by-step instructions on breaking down a chicken, here's a link to a video of my teacher fabricating a chicken. It has great tips on general knife handling as well as help with the bird.