I devour chicken at least three times week…fried, broiled, grilled, barbecued, smoked…it’s all good. But because of that, salmonella paranoia looms over my head, in part, because of the media hype: watch any cooking show and you’ll see the camera zooming in on the host, lathering up their hands, scrubbing them until they’re raw because they even glanced at a piece of chicken. It’s all to satisfy the panicky corporate lawyers so that nobody gets sued for something that can easily be avoided.
I use these steps to avoid salmonella worries in my kitchen…
I open the plastic wrapper of the chicken in the sink. You won’t believe how much stuff splatters around when you simply unwrap the chicken. Do it in the sink and it won’t fly onto your countertop, windows, or fruit bowl.
I buy a set of very sharp and very cheap kitchen knives. These are the ones that are usually around 12 bucks for 3 knives. Unlike my expensive prized chef knife, I sanitize them by throwing them in the dishwasher and not washing them by hand. When they get dull, I toss them out and buy new ones. They’re not for every job in the kitchen, but they are perfect for any questionable food product like raw chicken.
While I’m at the store, I also buy a couple of acrylic cutting boards. The size and shape are a personal preference, but the idea is to use these boards when slicing and dicing chicken or any other nasty gooey thing. The muck stays on the board, which is easily sanitized by tossing it in the dishwasher. The last thing I want to be doing with my deluxe wooden butcher block is bleaching and scrubbing that sucker because I cut up a couple of chicken breasts on it.
Finally, I buy myself a box of cheap disposable gloves. I like the lunch lady style gloves. What? The main thing is to make sure they don’t slip off your hands while handling a sharp knife. When I’m done prepping the chicken, I just toss the gloves.
To be safe, I still rinse my hands with soap and water afterwards. But I don’t feel like I need to dip them in a vat of sulfuric acid to get them clean, and my kitchen workspace remains spotless.