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How to Buy Chicken

Knowing how to buy chicken will result in quality meals. When buying chicken, look for Grade A poultry. It’s economical because it has the most meat in proportion to bone. The packages should be well-sealed and not leaky. Check the sell-by date, and check for odors that could mean it’s spoiled.

Chicken skin color isn’t an indication of quality or fat content. A chicken’s skin ranges from white to deep yellow, depending on its diet. But if the skin looks gray, stay away.

Most kinds of chicken fall into five categories:

  • Broiler/fryer: A seven- to nine-week-old bird weighing between 2 and 4 pounds. Flavorful meat that’s best for broiling, frying, sautéing, or roasting.

  • Capon: A 6- to 9-pound castrated male chicken. Excellent as a roasting chicken because of its abundance of fat. Not widely available in supermarkets (it usually needs to be special-ordered).

  • Roaster or pullet: From three to seven months old and between 3 and 7 pounds. Very meaty, with high fat content under the skin, which makes for excellent roasting.

  • Rock Cornish game hen: A smaller breed of chicken weighing 1 to 2 pounds. Meaty, moist, and flavorful for roasting. Also called Cornish hen.

  • Stewing chicken: From 3 to 7 pounds and at least one year old. Needs slow, moist cooking to tenderize. Makes the best soups and stews.