Knowing how to break down a whole chicken is most definitely a skill worth having. Buying a whole chicken from Tyner Pond Farm versus buying individual pieces not only saves you money it also sets you up with chicken bones to make a delicious stock. I am what you would call a chicken cutting novice, prior to this I have never done such a thing! With that being said, I did it, fairly well might I add. Breaking down a whole chicken can only improve with practice, but even as a first timer I'm confident that these directions are easy to follow and you'll be slow grilling your chicken in no time!
The first thing that you'll need to do is choose the weight of your chicken. For my purposes, I purchased a lovely 4-5 pound chicken. I allowed my bird to thaw in a sink full of water for several hours. You want your chicken to be completely thawed before you begin. Remove your bird from it's packaging and give it a good rinse. Be sure to pat that bird dry! This will help to prevent accidental slips. The following steps will yield 8 pieces of chicken: 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and 2 wings.
Lay the bird on its back. Wiggle a wing to determine where the joint attaches to the breast. To separate the wing from the breast, use a sharp knife to cut through the ball joint where it meets the breast. Repeat with the other wing.
Pull a leg away from the body to see where it attaches. To remove the whole leg, first cut through the skin between the thigh and the breast.
Continue to pull on the leg and wiggle to determine where the thigh meets the socket in the back. Use your knife to cut through that joint. Repeat with the other leg.
Place each leg skin-side down. Flex to see where the ball joint between the drumstick and thigh is located. Look for the thin line of fat. Cut through the line of fat to separate the thigh and drumstick, wiggling the joint as needed to determine where it is. Repeat with the other leg.
To remove the backbone, start at the head end of the bird and cut through the rib cage on one side of the backbone with kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Repeat on the other side of the backbone to remove it completely. (Reserve the backbone and neck for chicken stock, if desired.)
To cut the breast into 2 halves, place it skin-side down, exposing the breastbone. To protect your hand, fold up a kitchen towel and place it on top of a heavy, sharp knife. Use a lot of pressure to cut through the reddish breast bone and whitish cartilage right down the center of the breast. Now you have 2 breast halves. Cut each breast half in half again, crosswise, if desired. (If desired, tease the meat away from the breast bone using your hands and/or a sharp knife)
And there you have it! A whole Tyner pasture raised chicken broken down in to 8 pieces, ready for the most divine slow grilled chicken recipe you've ever made!
Slow and Low Grilled Mustard Chicken
Instead of the usual method of grilling chicken hot and fast, this easy recipe calls for a quick sear over direct heat and then cooking the chicken slow and low over indirect heat for a longer period of time. This method of cooking is going to give you the most flavorful, tender, and juicy chicken you've ever had, AND you still get that amazing grill flavor!
4-5 pound Tyner Pond Farm whole chicken, cut down to 8 pieces
1 cup dijon mustard
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons light-flavored molasses
1. In a bowl whisk together mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Add the chicken to a Ziplock bag, pour marinade over the chicken and mix it up.
2. Marinade your chicken in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours. Drain the chicken, but do not discard the marinade.
3. Preheat your grill to high heat. If you are using wood or coals, make sure you leave an area of the grill with fewer coals. After the initial sear you will be cooking the chicken over indirect heat.
4. When your grill is hot, place the chicken pieces over direct heat, skin side down. Close the lid and grill for 5 minutes, or until the outside is as crisp as you want it.
5. Use tongs to flip the chicken and place over the low-heat part of your grill. I have a gas grill, so I turn off two out of three of the burners. (The chicken should cover the part of the grill that is turned off). Reduce the heat on the other burner to medium-low heat, between 250-275 degrees.
6. Cover and cook for 40-50 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken, brushing with marinade 2-3 times while cooking.
7. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, if you don't have a meat thermometer you can cut in to the chicken pieces to see if the juices run clear (not pink).
8. Once your chicken has cooked through, quickly sear the other side of the chicken over direct high heat before serving.
9. Meanwhile, add the remaining marinade to a small pot. Add 2 tablespoons molasses. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low until ready to serve.
10. Serve the sauce with the grilled chicken, a little bit goes a long way!