With spring on the horizon and the tip-off of 'March Madness' today, the backyard barbeque is ready to go into full swing. One of the most common choices to meet the barbeque grill, given its versatility in recipe choices and tremendous economic value, is chicken.
That said, barbequing, as well as choosing the right chicken, needs to be addressed for health reasons as well as for culinary decisions.
Of the former, it cannot be underestimated that ‘all chicken is not equal’ as commercial operations have changed the once backyard, family farm chicken coop into a breeding ground for disease. Commercial operations for raising chickens are simply foul, animals crunched into small indoor facilities without room to move, and the breeding grounds for disease and resulting, partially at-least, of drugs to lower the risk of injury. Though beyond the scope of this article the story of commercial farming is not a pretty tale and the exercise and health enthusiasts need to direct their purchasing towards ethical farms to respect the process of drug free (no hormones or antibiotics), organic and free-ranging hens.
• Don’t purchase chicken from ‘big box’ stores. Support local operations that maintain healthy farming habits and bring range free hens to the market.
There is a great deal of discussion of whether chicken should washed prior to cooking, varying from the habits of the illustrious chef Julia Child to suggestions from present day regulatory bodies that are concerned with the splashing of bacteria to other surfaces. The best approach, based upon questionable kitchen habits is not to wash and be very careful with residue from packaging. Any excess moisture on the chicken should be blot dried with a non-chlorine bleached paper towel with said towel discarded immediately following its use.
With that said, ensure you cut the chicken on a clean cutting board that is further cleaned immediately thereafter.
Following cutting the chicken, marinade in a separate clean bowl being careful not to contaminate other surfaces.
Ensure surface of barbeque grill is clean from previous use.
Wash hands thoroughly and further clean all kitchen surfaces with vinegar.
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mix together and pour into shallow dish with two boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Cover and marinate for thirty minutes.
Prepared by John Davies
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