Purchasing Poultry

For a printer-friendly version of the Retail Cuts of Pork chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

When purchasing poultry, look for the USDA Inspection Label and Grade. All poultry must be inspected to make sure it is healthy and slaughtered under sanitary conditions. Grade A is the grade usually found in grocery stores.

Frozen poultry should be:

All poultry should be free of skin tears and bruises and have a fresh odor. Fresh uncooked chicken should be firm and moist with a creamy yellow skin color. Skin color may vary, but it is not a factor in quality or freshness. Chicken comes ready to cook in a variety of ways, including whole, halved, quartered, in serving pieces, and in boneless cuts.

Turkey should have the same qualities, with a white skin. Turkey can be purchased fresh or frozen in a variety of ways, includin whole, in parts, steaks, cutlets, and processed in smoked and cured forms.

Choose the poultry based on the type of cooking methods being planned. With any methods, use slow, even heat for tender, juicy, evenly done poultry. Cook to the well-done stage but do not overcook. High temperatures or overcooking may result in tough, dry meat.

How much to buy?
Chicken

whole

pieces

 
1/2 pound uncooked with bone in
1/2 breast, 2 drumsticks, or 4 wings per serving
Turkey

whole

cuitlets and steaks

ground

 
1 pound per serving
4- to 6-ounces per serving
4 ounces per serving

For a printer-friendly version of this chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

 

Cooked poultry equivalents
Type Ready-to-cook weight Approximate cooked yield
broiler-fryer chicken 3- to 4-pounds 3 to 4 cups cubed chicken
stewing chicken 4 1/2- to 6-pounds 4 1/2 to 6 cups cubed chicken
boneless turkey roll 5- to 6-pounds 10 to 12 cups cubed turkey
turkey 12 pound 14 cups cubed turkey

For a printer-friendly version of this chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

 

Types of Poultry
Type How to cook
Broiler-fryer chicken
All-purpose chicken that is young and tender, weighing from 3 to4 pounds. It is best to buy the whole bird; the bigger the bird, the more meat in proportion to the bone. Cut-up chicken and boneless chicken parts, such as thights and breasts, will cost more per pound, but offer greater convenience.
broil, fry, roast, braise, stew, barbecue, poach
Roasters and Capons
Weigh from 4 to 6 pounds
roast
Stewing Chickens or Hens
Weighs 4 1/2 to 6 pounds and are very meaty. It is a mature older bird and less tender; it requires moist-heat cooking.
cook in liquid, simmer (use in stew or soups)
Rock cornish hen (game hen)
Small, young, specially bred birds, weighing 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. They have all white meat. Most supermarkets carry these birds frozen; but they may be special ordered fresh.
broil, grill, microwave, roast
Turkey
Whole turkeys range in size from 4 to 30 pounds; the larger the bird, the more meat in proprtion to bone. Most are young and labeled that way. Fresh and frozen turkeys have equal quality.
roast
Duck
A dark-meat bird with a high proportion of fat and bone. Weighs 4 to 5 pounds. Available frozen in most stores.
roast
Goose
A dark-meat bird weighing 4 to 14 pounds, depending on the maturity of the bird. It is a fatty bird with a slight "gamey" flavor. Available frozen in most stores.
roast
Pheasant
A small bird that weighs 2 to 3 pounds. Frozen pheasant is sold in supermarkets in season, roughly from October through January.
roast, briase

For a printer-friendly version of this chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

 

Back to top

 

© Copyright (2002) Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907. All Rights Reserved.