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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Old 10-14-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
Southern Home Boy
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Default Whole chicken cuts?

For you experienced caterers out there, how many of you cook whole chickens and how do you cut them for presentation/service?
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:29 PM   #2
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Haven't really done the catering thing, but have cooked chicken for large groups of folks a few times.

I prefer to cook chicken parts.

Did the whole chicken one time and don't think I'll do that again. Simply too difficult to cut the chickens into pieces when it's hot off the grill. Seems I'd tear the skin on one part, pull a leg bone with no meat on another bird , etc.

Good luck.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:44 AM   #3
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Chicken parts is less labor and perhaps better presentation. YMMV!
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Old 10-15-2010, 07:13 AM   #4
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I at least cut the chicken in half to cook. It is easy to cut in qtrs or individual pieces that way.
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Old 10-15-2010, 01:25 PM   #5
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The reason I asked is because yesterday, I basically "catered" the company's Safety Lunch.

There were about 30 people. I did three whole butts, four whole chickens, rolls, beans, potato salad and cookies for desert.

Everything but the chickens was easy. But I was trying to figure out how to cut up the chickens in a way that they presented well.

What I ended up doing was spatching them to cook, then, when they were done, I simply disjointed them and then quartered the breast. That way I got 8 comparable pieces per chicken. My food costs were much lower than if I'd gotten pre-cut pieces.

They looked "OK" but not great.

I was wondering what others did if they used whole birds.
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Old 10-15-2010, 01:40 PM   #6
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Never used a whole bird. For something that size just a couple chickens, I would butcher before cooking.
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Old 10-15-2010, 07:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Home Boy View Post
The reason I asked is because yesterday, I basically "catered" the company's Safety Lunch.

There were about 30 people. I did three whole butts, four whole chickens, rolls, beans, potato salad and cookies for desert.

Everything but the chickens was easy. But I was trying to figure out how to cut up the chickens in a way that they presented well.

What I ended up doing was spatching them to cook, then, when they were done, I simply disjointed them and then quartered the breast. That way I got 8 comparable pieces per chicken. My food costs were much lower than if I'd gotten pre-cut pieces.

They looked "OK" but not great.

I was wondering what others did if they used whole birds.
I don't buy in bulk, so can't help too much. However, local grocery stores don't seem to discount too much when it comes to chicken parts vs whole chicken.

Best prices I've seen at Krogers:
Breasts, thighs, legs: $.99
Whole chicken: $.69
Leg quarters: $.39

So, I figure if you get a few breasts at $.99 and a few leg quarters at $.39 your average cost ends up being about $.69 and then you only have to cut the leg quarters. If the parts ain't on sale, the whole chickens are less expensive...but that's what freezers are for.
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Old 10-16-2010, 01:00 AM   #8
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Insulated gloves and a pair of heavy duty kitchen shears. If you can find some all metal shears with the curved blades they seem to work best, but at least get some with a little heft. I take the bird, cut through the breast front to back along the keel bone, flip the bird over and remove the backbone (front to back again). Then seperate the bird into quarters and then pieces. For catering I usually cut the breasts in half crossways into two aproximately the same size pieces.
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Old 10-16-2010, 01:09 AM   #9
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Don't forget to drain the chicken stock from the cavity before butchering the bird. mmmm, gravy!
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:51 PM   #10
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I buy whole fryers--then split them into halves. Sometimes I buy split chicken WOGS if the are on sale. I cook them as halves and quarter them after cooking if it is a "one meat chicken" plate --if it is 2 or 3 meat combo I cut the chicken into eighths by cutting the leg and thigh apart and splitting the breast and wing.

If you are cooking in a smoker that requires no turning or flipping of the chicken pieces--then it may be easier to cook smaller pieces. I cook them in halves because I have fewer pieces to turn or flip.
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