I Bought A Whole Chicken. Now What?

Please note this page is still a work in progress but it already contains lots of good information worth sharing – more is coming soon though.

Somewhere amidst the fast food craze, two income household boom, and one-stop grocery store shopping, whole chicken fell out of favor with many Americans.  By preying on people’s inability to cook, cut up and overall work with a whole chicken, conventional poultry producers now have a much higher-end market for their chicken pieces.  Never mind that the boneless chicken breasts you buy in the store may come from a chicken with disgusting tumors or sores on the rest of its body.

There is almost a fear in regard to how to handle a whole chicken, but many pastured poultry farms sell whole chicken as their primary product.  Consumers concerned with how the animals they eat are raised and what those animals are fed have started buying whole chickens again and are now faced with learning what to do with them.  This holds true too for those driven simply by frugality – a whole grocery store chicken is way cheaper than a pieced one. Fear not folks, whole chicken is pretty darn easy to handle.

One Slow Food Farm customer has saying that sums up the question of how to cook a whole chicken rather well, she simply asks, “How do you cook pieced chicken?  Cooking a whole chicken is the same except time in the oven changes some.”  It really is that simple. But what if you don’t want to a cook a whole chicken?  Then you can piece it out – this is super easy too.

Katie Burkhart, The Hill Country Cook, teamed up with Jennifer Huf of Slow Food Farm to create these videos on how to piece a whole chicken. The first one shows how to split and then quarter a whole chicken. This method results in bone-in meat only and no waste. The second video shows how to cut boneless breast meat off the bird and how to piece out the remaining chicken a littler further – perfect for frying and Katie’s Good Ol’ Fried Chicken” recipe is to die for.  So, if you need a little guidance on how to make that whole chicken not whole click on the links below and settle in for an educational kitchen experience (just bear in mind this is Jennifer’s first video debut so cut her performance some slack):

How to Split and Quarter a Chicken
How To Piece A Chicken

Of course piecing the chicken is only half the battle, so Katie has included recipes on her site as well so you’ll know what to do with the chicken once it’s all separated out. Check out the following when you’re looking for a tasty way to prepare your Slow Food Farm chicken:
Good Ol’ Fried Chicken
Flat Brick Chicken
Picnic Chicken
Dijon n’ Dill Chicken

Recipes for cooking a whole chicken will be up soon. In the meantime, rub that puppy with some butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, throw some rosemary sprigs in the cavaity or between the legs and the body and cook at 400 degrees for about an hour and half, until a thermometer stuck in the meaty part of the leg reads ~160 degrees. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then enjoy.

Additional chicken recipes, including some for cooking the whole chicken will be up soon.  Also, ideas and recipes for how to stretch and/or piece that cooked whole chicken will be appearing as soon as time allows.  Until then take the whole chicken challenge, buy one, piece, cook it, or keep it whole and cook it but show that whole bird no fear.  And remember ugly still tastes good so it’s okay if your first piecing go rounds don’t go exactly as planned.