Sometimes you just shouldn’t cook, or, an eventful Memorial Day
May 27, 2012
For years, I didn’t buy whole chickens, because the first time I tried to cut one up, it looked like the guy from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre got hold of it. If I got a whole chicken, it was to roast. I haven’t cut up a chicken for probably 25 years.
But it’s Memorial Day weekend. I had two whole chickens in the freezer. And I was bound and be damned that I was going to grill chicken, because I have five more coming from the farm in June. So after breakfast, said birds having thawed in the fridge, I determined it was time to try it again.
So I did what any determined chef would do. I went to the Interwebs. Where I Googled “how to cut up a chicken.” Where I found this video from the Test Kitchen at Gourmet magazine. And I watched it. Twice.
And I set upon the chicken with a will, albeit with a way-too-dull knife that I keep forgetting to take to the Farmers’ Market to get sharpened. And you know what? Other than a few ragged edges, due in large part to the dull knife, it worked pretty damned well. I mean, all the pieces are recognizeable.
So, by midafternoon, there were eight chicken quarters on the grill. And not just on the grill; grilling with the time-honored West Tennessee 4-H Club method. A homemade sauce based on oil and vinegar, with spices, chicken quarters grilling low and slow, getting basted every so often with the sauce.
And then we blew a fuse, and I got busy tending to that, and doing assorted other stuff, and I had kicked the temp up just a little, I thought…but it was more than a little. And I went back out there and I had burnt those sumbitches plumb up. And I had not EVEN had a drink yet.
And I cursed. Eloquently.
So I got in my car and stormed off, and started haunting barbecue joints until I found Stubby’s was open, and they would have chickens ready about 5 p.m., yes, they would. So I paid for two chickens (and I think I may get a third one when I go back to pick ‘em up), and came home, because 5 was about when I planned to have the other chicken quarters done before I cremated them.
And I came home and popped a beer, my first of the afternoon, because I deserved it, don’t'cha know, and I sat down on the couch. And I looked out the front window and thought, “What the hell is this? It looks like smoke.”
And it was. Because Child C and Soon-to-be Son-In-Law 2 had gone outside to smoke a cigarette, and had flipped the butts out toward the yard. Where they landed in the flower bed. Where about a 10-foot stretch of the flower bed, not yet planted, thankfully, is now charred black.
So after we extinguished the burning flower bed, I came in and had another beer, because, well, I needed it by then. And now I’m about to have someone drive me to get the chicken, then come home and boil the corn, and at least we’ll have good sides.
You and y’mama ‘n ‘em couldn’t PAY me to go to the fireworks show tonight, though.