Grocery store whole chickens on sale - opinions please?

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by annaraven, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Okay, so I want to get some whole chickens to boil up for broth. DH doesn't like chicken but likes chicken broth and I cook with chicken broth a lot, so I was planning on canning it. (I just pressure canned 11 pints of beef stock yesterday!)

    Safeway and Smart&Final both have sales this week on whole chickens, at $1.29 and $.79 per pound, respectively. Does anyone know if Foster Farms or S&F First Street chickens are raised decently (not abused, not pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, etc)?

    Yeah - I know I could buy organic free-range chicken at Whole Foods or somewhere at some outrageous price but I'm looking for something a little more budget-friendly, if possible.
     
  2. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Foster Farms chicken is ok, it's not free range birds but they are decent birds. Seeing references to Smart Final, Safeway and Whole Foods makes me a little homesick for California.
    I think you'd be ok with the Foster Farms birds. I'm gonna share a link to a Tyler Florence FOOD 911 episode I particularly liked, in it he makes chicken stock with a whole chicken and then proceeds to teach this college student to make chicken noodle soup, a lovely chicken and cocoanut milk soup and a really good looking tortilla soup - using the broth and the leftover shredded chicken in each. Really great...

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food-911/soups-on/index.html
     
  3. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    5,146
    10
    251
    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    hey Mike great share, thanks! I have two leaving for college in the fall and have been teaching them "crockpot soup making from leftovers". this is a good addition . . . they say they are going to have the most popular rooms in the dorms.
     
  4. BettyR

    BettyR Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,834
    30
    191
    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Quote:What do you do with the meat if you don't eat chicken? You can make really good broth with junk pieces of chicken like necks, backs or bones. Just get someone in your family to freeze their junk pieces for you and make broth out of that.

    Or there's the canned both at Walmart, here you can buy the Walmart brand of chicken or beef broth for 50¢ for a 14.5 ounce can.

    At 79¢ a pound you will pay $3.16 for a 4 pound chicken. At 50¢ a can, $3.16 will buy you 6 cans of broth with change left over... That's almost 3/4 of a gallon of broth and there's no waste.
     
  5. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Quote:What do you do with the meat if you don't eat chicken? You can make really good broth with junk pieces of chicken like necks, backs or bones. Just get someone in your family to freeze their junk pieces for you and make broth out of that.

    Or there's the canned both at Walmart, here you can buy the Walmart brand of chicken or beef broth for 50¢ for a 14.5 ounce can.

    At 79¢ a pound you will pay $3.16 for a 4 pound chicken. At 50¢ a can, $3.16 will buy you 6 cans of broth with change left over... That's almost 3/4 of a gallon of broth and there's no waste.

    I haven't found any cheap broth that doesn't have MSG or high fructose corn syrup or sweeteners of some kind. I don't want that stuff in my stock/broth.

    I also don't know anywhere I can buy just necks and backs. Where do you get them?
     
  6. BettyR

    BettyR Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,834
    30
    191
    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Quote:What do you do with the meat if you don't eat chicken? You can make really good broth with junk pieces of chicken like necks, backs or bones. Just get someone in your family to freeze their junk pieces for you and make broth out of that.

    Or there's the canned both at Walmart, here you can buy the Walmart brand of chicken or beef broth for 50¢ for a 14.5 ounce can.

    At 79¢ a pound you will pay $3.16 for a 4 pound chicken. At 50¢ a can, $3.16 will buy you 6 cans of broth with change left over... That's almost 3/4 of a gallon of broth and there's no waste.

    I haven't found any cheap broth that doesn't have MSG or high fructose corn syrup or sweeteners of some kind. I don't want that stuff in my stock/broth.

    I also don't know anywhere I can buy just necks and backs. Where do you get them?

    We can buy necks really cheap at our grocery store for making broth, but if your grocery store doesn't carry them as a rule, you can ask your butcher. When I need something like that he will happily put it together for me. Any grocery store that has a butcher, is cutting up whole chickens to package the various parts....like breasts, wings, ect and has necks and backs they will gladly package for you. Personally I think an old rooster makes the best broth, but I'm not on any kind of special diet and heaven knows I eat way too much sugar in my homemade baked goods to worry about a little of it in my chicken stock so most of mine comes out of a can.
     
  7. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,194
    28
    211
    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Based on this, I would stay away from Foster Farms:
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...chicken-safety/overview/chicken-safety-ov.htm

    ETA: I guess I misread your post. You were asking about how they were raised. In my opinion, if they have that many pathogens present, it is partially due to their living conditions. If you are making broth, you really don't have to worry about getting sick because of the high temp in the canner, but that stat really grosses me out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  8. theOEGBman

    theOEGBman Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,060
    10
    231
    Jan 13, 2007
    Central California
    Quote:That article hit the spot though, it comes down to the consumer. If you dont cook your chicken correctly, you will be more likely to come into contact with all sorts of bacteria.

    As for how they are raised... I have toured a hatchery and a broiler farm, both owned by Foster Farms. I can tell you, I wouldnt hesitate for one second eating their birds. I do on a regular basis, actually. I dont want to jump into a debate but you did ask and I want to let you know that they are raised humanely and safe. They actually have a full organic line as well, I believe. When we toured the hatchery, they had two different lines going. One of chicks for the organic farms and the other one for the conventional farms. It was pretty interesting!

    As for salmonella and other things that may worry you, the process of canning them in your pressure canner will eliminate any bacteria that may be present.
     
  9. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    I wasn't worried about salmonella. More about whether they were raised reasonably humanely and not pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. Thanks for the info folks!

    I've got two chickens in the pot now... Sure smells good.
     
  10. theOEGBman

    theOEGBman Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,060
    10
    231
    Jan 13, 2007
    Central California
    Oh, ok! Well as for that, its illegal to use hormones in the commercial poultry industry. I dont believe someone as large as Foster Farms would risk that, plus broilers grow large on their own, they dont need added help! [​IMG]

    Congrats on the stock. I canned up some from leftover Christmas turkey and its delicious!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by