Last week I went to the grocery and I had an interesting conversation about poultry. I do not usually buy whole chicken, since I got married and my husband loves chicken breast, I stop buying whole chicken and I buy only chicken breast or chicken wings. So that conversation with the two poultry experts refreshed my mind about some basic "chicken knowledge".
Basically you can find three categories of chicken in the grocery stores, there are more, but to get those you may have to go to farms or gourmet groceries. The three categories of chicken according to the cooking technique:
- Broiler-Frying: young, tender, all purpose chicken that range from 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 lb (600 gr to 1.5 Kg). This chicken is about 9 to 12 weeks old and contain the least fat. This young chicken is ideal for whom is following a low fat diet or children. This chicken is the most common to find in the grocery.
- Roasting Chicken: Young chicken, their weight is about 3-1/2 o 5 lb (1.5 - 2.2 Kg). Around 3 to 5 month old. Their meat is tender and contain a lot of fat, that's why it should be roasted or grilled.
- Capons: A rooster that has been castrated at a very young age. Capons are fed a special fattening diet that causes their 4 to 9 pound bodies to have large quantities of tender, juicy breast meat. Great for roasting.
That was the theory of my poultry classes. After that I realised that I have bought all my life the Broiler-Fryer chicken type, I think it is the most commun, and ease to find. But I have tried the others types of chicken by my parents.
My parents have a house with a large back yard and now that they are retired, they have in their back yard about 20 chickens and 2 roosters. In the begining they have more rooster but eventually they understood that you canot have too many males in a back yard, too much fights. We have cooked in my parents house the chicken in the different stage of thier life, and I can tell you for older is the chicken the meat is harder, and some times you have to use a pressure cooker.
I still prefere to buy the commun chicken in the grocery and save myself from all the chicken drama at home.