Monday, November 3, 2008

Chicken, So Many Ways, So Little Time

I'm a Texas girl - I eat beef! I am very blessed to live in San Antonio, Texas. We have a grocery store chain that started in Kerville called HEB. They are so on top of their game that they are the only true grocery store left in town. All other grocery stores are attached to the big box chain stores called Super-W**-**** and Super-T*****. They have the best prices and awesome store brand products as well as the name brand and many gourmet and specialty products.

Their beef is just to die for. They own and raise all their own cattle. They control them, they slaughter them before 36 months, which is when Mad Cow begins to manifest. They raise different qualities of beef to include organic. They slaughter in their own plant and wet or dry age up to 21 days. There is nothing like HEB beef. But more about HEB beef in another post. This one is about chicken.

I don't like handling poultry. I have always been afraid of contamination and poisoning myself if I handled it wrong. So those frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts seemed the safest to use. Those things could sole a shoe if cooked too long. They are dry and have no flavor. Sometimes they are so large I wonder what steroids that athletic chicken took to get so big. Do they drug test chickens?

Hoby and I met and the beef girl shied away from chicken and the man who didn't have HEB beef shied from beef. One day we discussed why I didn't like chicken. So the hunter in Hoby de-boned a chicken, kept the skin on and there you have our love affair with chickens.

I buy whole chickens - a very economical way to purchase chicken - and Hoby de-bones them. We split the chicken in half and place each half in a zip lock bag. Then when we are ready to cook we decide from a number of bottles of sauces in the refrigerator or a few dry rubs in the pantry. Hoby then seasons it up, opens a beer, heats the grill and there we have some of the best chicken in Texas!

A few weeks ago I stopped off at HEB and found a basket of sauces and dry rubs marked down. The rub had an expiration date of November 2009. So I just couldn't pass up bottles of sauce at 50 cents each and dry rubs at 25 cents each! WOW! So I got two of everything.

One of the dry rubs was Char Crust Dry-Rub Seasoning for All Meat and Fish. It is put out by Char Crust, Inc. Chicago, IL 1-800-311-9884. The blend we got was Original Hickory Grilled. It has wheat, salt, sugar, spices, caramel color, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, paprika, mustard, and natural hickory smoke flavor. We have tried it on a New York Strip steak and found it to be subtle and really let the flavor of the meat through.

Tonight Hoby season both sides of the chicken with the rub, salt and pepper and let it sit for about an hour. Then he took his beer, tongs and chicken to the grill. In Texas we grill year round, rain, 100 degree heat, we grill. Tonight it is in the low 70's and dropping into the 50's before sunrise.
Dad called while Hoby was grilling and the great bird hunters are off again at 3:30am for another hunt. Weather and conditions are identical to the successful weekend they just had.

Hoby also made a salad and heated up left over Yukon Gold Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes we made in the KitchenAid stand mixer a few days ago from The Mixer Bible.

As I previously mentioned, I purchased several sauces and rubs that day for pennies on the dollar. The following week I was going down the isle and saw the rubs I picked up for 25 cents each. There they were on the shelf priced at over $6 each. Each time we get out a chicken half we debate over which sauce to use. Thus far all have been excellent!

Also on the menu tonight was a Cibatta Bread I made yesterday from The Mixer Bible. After we started the KitchenAid we noticed how liquid the "dough" was looking. I studied the recipe and discovered that I used a cup of water with the yeast and not half a cup. But this is a blog for another day. Needless to say - the Cibatta Bread might not really be Cibatta Bread, but some type of new variety that tastes really good.

Next time you don't know what to do with chicken, just pick up a few rubs and sauces and try something new!

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