Chicken: Tip Sheet
Estimating Quantity To Buy
- Chicken Wings: Two to Three servings per pound. Number of wings will vary according to size.
- Breasts & Legs (thighs and drumsticks): 1/2 to 3/4 pound depending upon how prepared and what else is served with them.
- Small Chickens: 3 to 3 1/2 lbs. usually halved for broiling or barbecuing. Four servings per bird.
- Whole Chickens: 3 to 4 lbs. may be divided into wings, legs, thighs, breasts and back providing 5 to 8 servings, per bird, depending upon size.
- Roasting Chickens: 4 lbs. and up — approximately 2 servings per pound depending upon what is served with them.
One serving per pound of chicken usually allows for leftovers to be served in casseroles, salads, etc.
What Does It Mean?
- Eviscerated, Oven Ready, Ready-To-Cook, Pre-dressed, all these terms are synonymous. They all refer to poultry which has been drawn and is ready for use with a minimum of preparation.
- Dressed Poultry means poultry from which blood and feathers only have been removed. Dressed poultry is always undrawn though butchers may remove head, feet, and viscera as a service to customers at the time of sale.
How To Store Chicken
- Fresh unfrozen chicken should be stored in the coldest spot in the refrigerator and used within two to three days.
- Frozen chicken should be kept frozen until time to thaw it for cooking. It is preferable to thaw in the refrigerator. Once defrosted, cook within 24 to 48 hours if chicken can be refrigerated, otherwise cook at once.
Why Are Some Poultry Joints Red When Poultry Is Cooked?
- Red blood corpuscles are manufactured in the long bone marrow and as the joints are porous in young birds, ice crystals containing red corpuscles pierce the joints and cause discoloration. This is quite harmless.
When Is Chicken Cooked?
- To judge when poultry is done, wiggle leg. It should move easily at hip joint. Or protect fingers with clean cloth and pinch drumstick and breast. The meat should feel soft.
- As a final check, chicken will be fork tender and juice will show no pink tinge. However, avoid frequent “stabbing” with a fork during cooking — it causes loss of juice.
For chicken roasting times, here’s a nice chart: Roasting Chicken.
Know The Grades
- Grade A. Birds must be plump and well formed. Keel bone (breast bone) may be slightly crooked there may be minor discolorations, a few pin feathers and short tears in skin. There must also be showing of fat over breast and thighs.
- Grade B. Must have good appearance though it is allowed a slightly crooked keel bone. Will probably not be as well fleshed as grade A, is allowed a few short skin tears, minor discolorations and pin feathers that don’t seriously detract from the appearance.
- Utility. A bird in this category must grade at least a B quality but has one or more parts of the bird missing such as wing, drumstick, section of skin, etc. This can occur during processing.
- Grade C. Usually used for canning. Is fairly plump and may have large skin tears, pin feathers and prominent discolorations.
Source: Vintage poultry booklets (Canadian)