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Old 04-03-2012, 05:01 PM   #1
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Talk to me about cooking whole chickens

I hate cooking meat/poultry, I hate touching it, I hate seeing blood.So I buy pre packages/ separated parts.If I buy a big pack of chicken boobs Ill have DH separate it, same with burger.BUT Im trying to cut down our grocery budget and I hear buying whole chickens is cheaper than what I currently do.So I need help on how to do this.I cook turkey on Thanksgiving, you can find me at 4am in the kitchen with my gloves on and my eyes half closed stuffing a turkey, so I can do it.Ive got the cooking part down but how do I cut it, separate it and such?Help!

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Old 04-03-2012, 05:13 PM   #2
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Re: Talk to me about cooking whole chickens

I don't stuff my chickens before I cook them (usually) so it's not that icky. Once they are cooked, the meat kind of falls off the bone. One chicken can feed our family of 5 for two full meals, plus soup.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:37 PM   #3
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Re: Talk to me about cooking whole chickens

I actually dont do whole chickens because I dont find it cost effective enough. Cheapest super loss leader sale I can find is .99lb for a whole or $5 for 5lbs box of thighs and sometimes 1.75 for boneless breasts. We dont do broth often though. If I do 2 bs breasts and 3 thighs thats the meat equivalent+ a little of a whole chicken but without all the wasted back, wings, etc.

Youll need to do the math with your prices http://www.cheapcooking.com/costperserving.htm
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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I throw the entire chicken into the crockpot, put on the lid and wait 8 hrs. Then I pull the tender pieces off the bone.

It's so great. Works in enchiladas, stir frys, casseroles, anything.
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:17 PM   #5
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I throw the whole thing in a pressure cooker for 35 minutes. Meat comes out already in pieces it's so tender, and breasts fall off too.
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:25 PM   #6
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Re: Talk to me about cooking whole chickens

When I make whole chickens, I usually make beer can chicken. There are tons of recipes for that online, it always comes out tender. As far as cutting it, you just get some kitchen scissors then you cut off the spine and discard. Once you cut that off lay it flat, grab a knife, cut chicken in half diagonally, then between breast and thigh to separate into quarters.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:21 PM   #7
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Re: Talk to me about cooking whole chickens

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Originally Posted by EmilytheStrange View Post
I throw the entire chicken into the crockpot, put on the lid and wait 8 hrs. Then I pull the tender pieces off the bone.

It's so great. Works in enchiladas, stir frys, casseroles, anything.
This! Slow cooker is totally the way to go. I buy a half dozen chickens at a time from a local homeschool family, freeze 'em and then defrost and toss 'em into the slow cooker. First time I used Lisa's recipe here but it's crazy easy!
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:34 AM   #8
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Re: Talk to me about cooking whole chickens

It is not necessarily cheaper to use the whole chicken. And if you don't eat all the parts or make broth with it, it may not be as cost-effective. You can often get parts, even boneless skinless parts, on sale for cheaper than whole chickens. However in my case I mostly cook whole organic chickens because getting them at Costco (or occasionally on sale at Whole Foods) is cheaper than buying organic chicken parts, we eat ALL of the chicken, and I make stock with the carcass. I am part of the camp that believes you should try to eat as much of the animal as possible to get the greatest nutritional value from it, so it's not just a cost that motivates our meat choices.

I usually cook it in the crock. This makes it the most tender, but it can make the skin kind of slimy. If you peel off the skin anyway, then no biggie. If your family likes to eat the skin, you can cook it most of the way in the crock, take the insert out of the crock and finish it off in the oven to get the crispy factor going. I use the foil ball method, where you make four balls of foil, put them in the bottom of the crock, then put the whole chicken on top breast side down, so all the fat from the back and the dark meat drips down and marinades the rest of the chicken.

We eat all the meat and most of the skin, and throw the bones back into the crock Sometimes it takes 3 meals to do this even with a family of 5, depending on what we use the meat for. Then we throw some carrots, celery, and onion and a few spices in the crock with the carcass, fill it up with water, and let it cook on low overnight to get the stock. I drain the stock through a sieve and put it in two cup portions in quart freezer bags and freeze them right away, unless I'm going to use it that day. Some people like to pour off the stock in another pot, let it cool, and skim off the fat before using or freezing it. I don't, I like having the fat in but to each his own. I then can use the stock for soups, cooking rice, making casseroles, gravies/sauces, etc.

What typically happens with a whole chicken at our house, with two adults and three kids under 9, is first night the older kids get the drumsticks and the youngest and I split a thigh, and DH gets half breast (I get HUGE chickens, much bigger than what you get at the rotisserie at the grocery store). The next day I pick the rest of the meat off the bone, and we can usually get two or more meals out of it. Favorites are burritos (filling mixed with refried beans and rice), quesadillas, BBQ chicken pizza, chicken tortilla soup, white chili, and pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches.
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