Chicken is domesticated fowl that is raised for consumption. It is the most popular type of meat consumed in Canada.
The edible muscle portion of chicken contains around 72% water, 20% protein, 7% fat, and 1% minerals. The meat of younger birds is more tender than that of older birds.
More on Chicken
6 Classes of Chicken
- Cornish hen (very tender, 4-6 weeks old, 850g or less)
- Broiler/fryer (tender, 39042 days old, 2kg or less)
- Roaster (tender, 10 weeks old, 2kg or more)
- Capon (very tender, 4-6 months old, 2-4kg)
- Fowl (tough, 7 months +, 1 kg+)
- stag (very tough, 10 months, 1.5kg+)
Grading and Inspection
Grading in Canada is to determine conformation, fleshing, fat, and dressing (defects, discolouration, bruises, blemishes). It does not distinguish tenderness. There is Grade A, Grade B, Grade C, and Utility.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency assures the public that chicken is safe to eat by inspecting processing plants.
Chicken, like all poultry, is a potentially hazardous food (PHF). Salmonella is the most common type of bacteria found in poultry. Health Canada advises consumers to only eat chicken that is well-done (74 degreed C, or 165 degrees F).
Other Categories of Poultry
- guinea fowl
Prairie chickens were cooked by pioneers by cleaning, plucking, drawing and trussing, followed by dusting them in flour and searing them in hot bacon fat. "Five or six birds were put in a large stew pot. Several cups of stock, a few onions, spices and a drift of flour were added to the bacon fat in the fry pan and the mixture was boiled and poured over the prairie chickens. The pot was covered and baked for two hours" (Canadian Food Words, p 222).
Ways to Cook
Chicken can be cooked in almost any cooking method:
- poached, simmered, boiled
- sautéed, stir-fried, or pan fried
- stewed or braised
- shallow-fried or deep-fried (breaded or battered)
- grilled (ground like burgers, spatchcock, or in pieces)
- roasted and baked
- low-temperature cooked (immersion circulator)
Other ways to improve flavour and tenderness
- smoked (hot or cold)
A simply cooked chicken breast or whole roasted chicken is a measure of cooking know-how. To cook it juicy and flavourful but not dry, undercooked or bland can be challenging. When done right, it is admired for its simplicity.