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Chicken is a versatile and popular meat that can be used in a variety of dishes.
However, not all cuts of chicken are created equal.

From the tender and juicy breast meat to the flavourful thighs and drumsticks, this guide will help you understand the different cuts of chicken and how to cook them to perfection.

The Different Cuts of Chicken Meat and How to Cook Them

Different cuts of chicken meatChicken is a healthy and delicious food source that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
When cooked properly, chicken is a safe and nutritious food.

Chicken is a popular food source worldwide, and for good reason.
It is a lean protein that is low in fat and calories, and it is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Chicken can be cooked in a variety of ways, making it a versatile and delicious ingredient.
Chicken cuts and poultry cuts are the same parts.
Poultry refers to all types of domesticated birds that are raised for food, including chicken, turkey, duck, and goose.

The different cuts of poultry are determined by the part of the bird from which they come.
For example, chicken breasts come from the breast of the chicken, while chicken thighs come from the legs of the chicken.

Is Chicken Meat?

Chicken is considered meat as it is the flesh of the animal.
However, it is classified as “white meat” rather than “red meat” like Beef, Lamb, or Pork.

It is important to note that some cultures do not consider chicken meat to be non-vegetarian, so whether or not it is considered meat depends on one’s cultural and social background.

Nonetheless, from a technical standpoint, chicken is a type of meat and contains animal protein.

The Health Benefits of Eating Chicken.

The nutritional Benefits of Chicken are good.
Chicken is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
It is a low-fat protein, which means that it is a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Chicken is also a good source of vitamins B6 and B12, which are important for energy metabolism and brain function.
Chicken is also a good source of niacin, which is important for the health of the skin and nervous system.

Chicken Breast Calories

Chicken breast is a popular lean protein source that is low in calories and high in nutrients.

An 85 gram (3-ounce) serving of boneless, skinless chicken breast contains approximately 140 calories.
The calorie count can vary depending on the cooking method and any added ingredients or sauces.

Grilled or baked chicken breast is a healthier option compared to fried or crumbed/breaded chicken, which can significantly increase the calorie count.
5. A chicken breast with skin contains more calories and fat compared to a skinless chicken breast.
6. To reduce the calorie count, it is recommended to trim any visible fat before cooking.
7. Chicken breast is also a good source of protein, with an 85 gram (3-ounce) serving containing approximately 26 grams of protein.

Health Concerns

There are a few health concerns associated with eating chicken.
One concern is that chicken can be contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
To reduce the risk of getting salmonella from chicken, it is important to cook chicken thoroughly and to avoid cross-contamination.

Another concern is that chicken can be high in sodium.
To reduce the sodium content of chicken, it is important to rinse chicken before cooking and to avoid using salty seasonings.

Cooking Methods for Different Cuts of Chicken.

Once you’ve chosen the right cut of chicken for your recipe, it’s important to use the right cooking method to ensure that it’s cooked to perfection.
For example, grilling or baking is best for lean cuts like the breast, while slow cooking or braising is ideal for tougher cuts like the thighs and drumsticks.

Understanding the Different Cuts of Chicken.

Cuts of ChickenBefore you start cooking with chicken, it’s important to understand the different cuts, their uses and what makes them unique.

The most common cuts of chicken include the breast, thighs, drumsticks, wings, and whole chicken.
Each cut has its own texture, flavour, and cooking time, so it’s important to choose the right cut for your recipe and cooking method.

For example, the breast meat is lean and tender, making it perfect for grilling or baking, while the thighs and drumsticks are more flavourful and work well in stews and curries.

Whole chickens;

whole chickenA whole chicken can be used for a variety of dishes, including roasted chicken, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, chicken tacos, chicken stir-fry, chicken salad, chicken curry, chicken enchiladas, chicken and dumplings, and chicken alfredo.

There are several ways to cook a whole chicken, including roasting, grilling, and slow cooking.

Cooking a whole chicken.

  1. For roasting, preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F), season the chicken with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes per 450 grams (1 pound).
  2. For Barbecue smoking, season the chicken with your desired spices or Dry Rub, and bbq for 6-8 hours.
  3. For slow cooking, place the chicken in a slow cooker with your desired seasonings and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Chicken Head;

chicken headsThere are some cultures that use chicken heads in cooking, but it is not a common practice in most Western countries.

In some Asian and African cuisines, chicken heads are used to make soup or broth for their rich flavor and gelatinous texture.
They can also be used in certain dishes as a garnish or for presentation purposes.

Cooking chicken heads.

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 176°C (350°F).
  2. Then, remove the skin from the chicken head and rinse it well. Place the chicken head on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and season it with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C).

Chicken Neck;

Chicken necksChicken necks are safe and edible for humans to eat.
They are often used in soups and stews for added flavour and nutrition.

However, it is important to properly clean and cook the chicken neck before consuming it.

Cooking chicken necks.

  1. To cook chicken necks, start by seasoning them with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.
  2. Then, heat up a skillet or pot with oil and add the chicken necks.
  3. Cook them for about 5-7 minutes on each side until they are browned and crispy.
  4. You can also add vegetables and broth to make a flavourful soup or stew.

Chicken Back;

Chicken backsChicken backs do contain meat, but it is mostly dark meat and can be tough and fatty.
Some people use chicken backs to make stock or broth, but they are not typically used for eating on their own.

In some cultures, chicken backs are considered a delicacy and are commonly used in soups and stews.
However, in other cultures, they may not be commonly consumed or considered edible and and may not be readily available at grocery stores.

Cooking chicken backs.

There are several ways to cook chicken backs, including boiling, baking, and bbq grilling.

  1. You can use chicken backs to make stock or broth by slowly simmering them in water with vegetables and herbs for several hours.
  2. For boiling, simply place the chicken backs in a pot of water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.
  3. For baking, season the chicken backs and place them in a baking dish, then bake in the oven at 375°F for about 45 minutes.
  4. For bbq grilling, marinate the chicken backs and grill over medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes on each side.

Chicken Wings;

Chicken wingsChicken wings are a popular Appetiser and can be grilled, baked, or fried.
They can be served with a variety of sauces and dips.
Although they are a popular appetizer or snack, they can also be used as a main, for example they are great served alongside many Rice dishes.

Cooking chicken wings.

There are several ways to cook chicken wings, but three of the easiest methods are baking, frying, and grilling.

  1. To bake chicken wings, preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F), season the wings with salt and pepper, and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  2. To fry chicken wings, heat oil in a deep fryer or large pot, coat the wings in flour or batter, and fry for 8-10 minutes.
  3. To grill chicken wings, preheat your grill to medium-high heat, season the wings with your favorite spices, and grill for 10-12 minutes on each side.

You can also Broil/grill. chicken wings for a different texture and flavour.

Chicken Breast;

Chicken breast filletChicken breasts are a lean cut of meat and are perfect for grilling, baking, or sautéing.
It is a white meat with very little fat and it is the perfect cut to slice up in stir-fries, marinate and grill, pan-fry or oven roast and filled with your favourite filling.

Cooking chicken breast.

There are several ways to cook chicken breast, but three of the easiest methods are baking, frying, and grilling.

  1. To bake chicken breast, preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F), Crumb, or season the wings with salt and pepper, and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  2. To pan fry chicken breast, heat oil in a Frypan or skillet, coat the fillet in flour or batter, and fry for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Other popular ways to cook chicken breast fillets include Barbecue grilling, broiling, sautéing, poaching, and stir-frying.

    More options include marinating the chicken, coating it in breadcrumbs or spices, or stuffing it with cheese or vegetables.

Chicken Tenderloin;

Chicken tenderloinChicken tenderloin is a cut of chicken meat that comes from the breast. It is a small, thin strip of meat that is lean and tender, making it a popular choice for recipes that call for chicken.

They are slightly more tender than the whole breast and are great crumbed and baked, or quickly chargrilled and tossed in a hot salad.

Cooking chicken tenderloin.

There are many ways to cook chicken tenderloin, including grilling, baking, sautéing, and frying.

  1. One easy recipe is to season the chicken with salt, pepper, and your favourite herbs or spices, then cook it in a skillet with a little bit of oil until it is browned and cooked through.
  2. Another option is to marinate the chicken in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs, then grill or bake it until it is tender and juicy.

Chicken Thighs;

Chicken thigh filletsChicken thighs are a more flavourful cut of meat and are perfect for slow-cooking or braising. They can be used in stews, curries, and casseroles.
Can be bought as fillets, Maryland or thigh cutlets.
The thigh has a higher fat content than the breast, giving it more flavour and making it the perfect cut for slow cooked casseroles and stews.

The thigh is the portion of the leg above the knee joint. Thigh meat is also dark and like the drumstick, has a great deal of flavour.

Cooking chicken thighs.

There are many ways to cook chicken thighs, including grilling, baking, sautéing, and frying.

  1. Baking;
    One of the most popular methods is to bake them in the oven.
    To do this, preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F), season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and place them on a baking sheet.
    Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  2. Other options;;You can also grill, sauté, or slow cook chicken thighs for delicious results.
  3. They can be put into stews, curries, casseroles or even as chicken skewers.

Chicken Drumsticks;

Chicken drumsticksChicken drumsticks are a great cut for grilling or baking. They can be used in stews and soups and are perfect for a family dinner.
Another cheap and cheerful option!
Drumsticks include the lower portion of the leg quarter (the portion between the knee joint and the hock).

The dark meat of the drumstick is regarded as one of the tastiest parts of the chicken.

Cooking chicken drumsticks.

Chicken drumsticks are a versatile and delicious protein that can be prepared in a variety of ways.

  1. To bake chicken drumsticks, preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F), season the drumsticks with salt and pepper or they are delicious when baked in a sticky glaze or marinade, crumbing is another winner.
    Now bake for 45-50 minutes.
  2. Pan fry;
    To start, season the drumsticks with your desired spices and herbs, along with salt and pepper.
    Heat up a skillet with a small amount of oil over medium-high heat, and once hot, add the chicken.
    Cook for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  3. Other options;
    Alternatively, you can bake or grill the drumsticks for a crispy and flavorful meal. Pair with your favorite sides for a satisfying dinner.
    It is juicy and can be used in whole number of ways ranging from stew or curries, to smoked, oven baked or pan fried.

Chicken Mince;

Chicken minceChicken mince, also known as ground chicken, is a type of meat that has been finely chopped or ground into small pieces.
Chicken mince is a leaner option compared to beef or pork mince, making it a healthier choice for those watching their fat intake.

Cooking chicken mince.

Some of the best ways to cook chicken mince include making chicken meatballs, burgers, tacos, stir-fries, and meatloaf.
You can also use it in soups, stews, and casseroles, or as a filling for stuffed peppers or zucchini boats.

Experiment with different spices and seasonings to create a variety of tasty dishes.
Try substituting beef mince for chicken mince in spaghetti or lasagne!

Chicken Tails;

Chicken tailsChicken tails are edible. However, they are not commonly consumed in Western cuisine and may not be readily available at grocery stores.

In some cultures, chicken tails are considered a delicacy and are used in soups or stir-fry dishes.
It is important to properly clean and cook the chicken tail before consuming it.
h4>Cooking chicken tails.

Chicken tails can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, baking, frying, or even slow-cooking.

  1. To grill chicken tails, marinate them in your favourite sauce for at least an hour, then grill them over medium-high heat for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. To bake chicken tails, season them with your favorite spices and bake them in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 25-30 minutes.
  3. For frying, coat the chicken tails in seasoned flour and fry them in hot oil until golden brown and crispy.
  4. Slow-cooking chicken tails is also an option, as they can be added to soups or stews for added flavoru and nutrition.

Chicken Feet;

Chicken feetChicken feet are edible and are actually considered a delicacy in many cultures. They are rich in collagen and can add flavour and texture to soups and stews.
However, some people may find the appearance or texture unappealing.
h4>Cooking chicken feet.

To cook chicken feet, first clean them thoroughly and remove any nails or rough patches. Then, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes before simmering them in a flavourful broth for several hours until they become tender.
Serve them as a snack or use them as a flavorful addition to soups and stews.

Recipe ideas using chicken

Chicken Parmesan.
This classic Italian dish is a crowd-pleaser and easy to make.
Coat chicken breasts in breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, then fry until golden brown.
Top with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, then bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Chicken Fajitas.
Marinate chicken strips in a mixture of lime juice, garlic, and spices, then sauté with onions and capsicu/bell peppers.
Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, and sour cream for a delicious and healthy meal.
Chicken Alfredo.
Cook chicken breasts in a skillet until browned, then add heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and garlic.
Simmer until the sauce thickens, then toss with cooked fettuccine noodles for a creamy and comforting meal.
Chicken Caesar Salad.
Grill or bake chicken breasts, then slice and serve over a bed of romaine lettuce.
Top with croutons, parmesan cheese, and a homemade Caesar dressing for a light and refreshing meal.
Chicken and Rice Casserole.
Combine cooked rice, chicken, and vegetables in a casserole dish, then top with a mixture of cream of chicken soup and milk.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown for a comforting and easy meal.
Chicken Stir-Fry.
Sauté chicken strips with vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers, then toss with a homemade stir-fry sauce made with soy sauce, honey, and ginger.
Serve over rice or noodles for a quick and healthy meal.
Chicken Tacos.
Season chicken breasts with taco seasoning, then grill or bake until cooked through.
Serve in warm tortillas with your favourite toppings like salsa, avocado, and shredded cheese for a fun and easy meal.
Use Our Chicken Recipes.
Our chicken recipes are carefully curated and tested to ensure delicious and satisfying meals every time.

They are also easy to follow, use simple ingredients, and offer a variety of flavours and cooking methods.
Plus, cooking with chicken is a healthy and affordable option for any meal.
So why not try one of our chicken recipes today?

FAQ

How to store chicken meat?
To store chicken meat safely, it should be kept in the refrigerator at a temperature of 4.5°C (40°F) or below for fresh meat and below -20°C (-4°F) for frozen.
It should be stored in its original packaging or in a covered container on the bottom shelf to prevent any juices from dripping onto other foods.
Cooked chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Why is it important to cook chicken?
All raw meat and many other foods contain bacteria and most are harmless.
However, some of these bacteria, when ingested in sufficient quantities, can produce food poisoning.

The good news is that all these organisms are very easily killed by normal cooking temperatures.
Therefore, if you cook chicken properly and follow basic hygienic food handling practices in the kitchen then the risk is removed.

How do you know chicken is properly cooked?
Chicken should always be thoroughly cooked. Cooking to a temperature of 75°C (167°F) at the centre of the thickest part of the meat should be sufficient.

The amount of time you need to cook chicken of course depends upon the type of cut and how big it is, although a good rule of thumb is you cook it for about an hour per kilo.

The safest way to know whether the chicken meat is adequately cooked is to use a digital thermometer pierced into the thickest part of the meat.
There should also be no pink coloured meat right through the thickest part and, when pierced, the juices that run out should be clear, not pink.

A ChefStemp thermometer is the ideal tool for anyone looking to cook accurately and on time.
Using the ChefStemp thermometer helps you determine the optimal temperature for cooking meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and other recipes.

With a large LCD display and easy-to-read temperature indicators, it also provides fast and accurate readings for quick results in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

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Can chicken be slightly pink?
No, it is not safe to eat chicken that is pink. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. If the chicken is still pink, it may not have reached this temperature and could potentially make you sick.
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Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry is the author of Good Food To Eat, a website that provides recipes and cooking help.He is a home cook who enjoys sharing his passion for food with others. Lowry’s mother is a chef, and she taught him the basics of cooking and baking when he was young.He also has experience running a catering business with his wife, specializing in finger foods and full meals for people with dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegan, and low-carb.Through his various cooking experiences, Lowry has learned what makes a great recipe: simple to follow, yet delicious and satisfying. That’s why he focuses on creating step-by-step recipes that are easy for anyone to make, regardless of their cooking skills.