Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hello Lover.

So far nothing in my protein fabrication class has been too gross, until we got to chicken. I only jumped back and closed my eyes when Chef Garvey jabbed a skewer along the backbone of a lobster that was supposed to be in a trance but wasn't actually. And OK, I did yelp and sort of cry when we accidentally clicked on a rabbit killing video on YouTube, but the crying was more in shock, I swear. But the chicken really made me want to yack. Also, I will never buy another non-organic bird again in my life.

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.

4 comments:

chefmadness said...

I saw you at school! I want to take protien fabrication this fall. It looks very interesting. I like butchering meat.

Jess said...

ewww my stomach is doing little flips. it takes a lot to gross me out but thinking about chicken carcasses getting "jostled" is enough to do it.
I just roasted a chicken today, and I have found a good source for chickens where I live, so I feel pretty good about it. but I almost gagged when I read your account of "slime and mucus and chicken juice all over everything". what a vivid writing voice you have! haha

Maria said...

And this, my friend, is exactly why I no longer eat meat :)

Jess said...

you crack me up! I keep coming back to this and seeing "Hello lover" with an extended chicken wing and it just makes my day.