A lesson in how to cut up a chicken, including a video showing the technique used by a butcher who's been cutting up chickens since he was eight years old.
Plus, two great recipes for chicken. Grilled Balsamic Chicken starts in the oven and is finished on the grill, it's a real crowd pleaser and can be served hot, warm or chilled. Vince's Baked Chicken comes from the butcher, Vince Krekeler, it's a great family dish.
“All it takes is a sharp knife and a little experience.” That’s the advice of butcher Vince Krekeler, who began cutting up chickens at his dad’s grocery in Maplewood, Missouri at age eight and is now one of five meat cutters, the modern title, at Freddie’s Market in Webster Groves.
“Cutting meat is a lost art,” says Vince. If he sounds rueful, it’s because working butchers are increasingly rare. In the St. Louis area, only Freddie’s, McDonnell’s Market Place and Straub’s still cut meat behind the counter.
‘Artful’ is exactly how to describe the 50 seconds of swift, sure, practiced knife work that Vince uses to separate one of Freddie’s fresh, ice-packed chickens into wings, drumsticks, thighs, breasts and the back, all for an extra 10 cents a pound. That, good cooks, is art for a price we might all happily invest.
GRILLED BALSAMIC CHICKEN
Time to table: 24 hours
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped green onion
Rinse and dry chicken pieces. Place breasts, thighs and drumsticks in a large ziplock bag. (Save the back and wings for Homemade Chicken Stock.) Mix marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate for 24 hours, keeping meat submerged, turning if needed.
Preheat oven to 325F. Place chicken in a baking dish in a single layer, pour marinade over top. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. (If making in advance, cover and refrigerate. Return to room temperature.)
Heat grill, wipe rack with wad of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil. Finish chicken on the grill, cooking each side 4 - 5 minutes, brushing with marinade.
HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK Throw the back and the wings into a pot with onion, celery, a few peppercorns and cover with water. Let barely simmer for an hour or so, strain and refrigerate. (For more detail, see Homemade Chicken Stock.)
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