It’s amazing some of the conversations I get into with our customers. Where food is concerned some people have some pretty strong views, particularly when it comes to chicken, how it tastes and how they’re bred.
As far as the latter is concerned, we all know the debate about how battery chickens are bred as against the “I died happy”, free range variety. I don’t get into that argument I’m afraid, so that little nugget of decision is down to you!
I am interested however, in taste and value. This snippet is from a blog forum that caught my eye.
“Going to my Mums tomorrow and she gave us a generous amount of money to buy food for a meal. She asked me to get a free range or organic chicken. I think that was because of taste rather than ethical reasons. I normally buy value products, so it was new territory for me. The organic chicken looked yellow and the free range was tiny. And it was £8! I sort of expected this price but was surprised how small they are, so really begrudged buying. I expected them to look well nice, so why did they look so scabby? I’m expecting to be eating the best chicken ever tomorrow. I should say the organic chicken was all wrinkled and saggy looking as well.”
I created a vision of the writer as being young and a KFC fan!
There were some interesting responses in the forum from keen veggies who shouted about not eating meat at all. I thought I would give them a plug – being a neutral.
Let’s take price first. Free range chickens are more expensive as they take longer to reach a good size, therefore more food and care costs.
Now taste. KFC create an amazing coating for their products, plus spices etc., because the chicken they use is pretty tasteless. Fair enough, but you are cooking your chicken on a BBQ for your guests, so you have a choice. Buy a cheap chicken, cook it through and smother it with sauces. No-one will know the difference. If however, you are genuinely interested in tasting the chicken, then try the free range or corn fed variety. The taste is definitely different and more distinctive. Just stuff with a lemon to add some subtle flavouring.
Finally cooking. Try not to cremate the skin and under cook the meat. Salmonella rules that scenario!
So on to my speciality, the rotisserie BBQ. Surprisingly, a relatively cheap chicken tastes a whole lot better when it’s cooked on a rotisserie. The reason is simple. Rotisserie cooking retains the meat juices, so it tastes better and stays tender.
Our young KFC fan is a product of modern, prepared food, so he/she has time to develop their pallet (I hope), but for the BBQ cook, buy the best you can afford and cook it the best way possible – on a rotisserie.
For chicken cuts, use a cooking basket on the rotisserie spit and you’ll get the same as if you were roasting the whole chicken.