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Chicken Yield


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I cooked a chicken today for use in other projects.  I decided to see how much edible chicken I get from a whole chicken and the result is a bit surprising maybe...

 

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43-45% yield it seems... the yield MAY be a little better on an air chilled chicken but I don't know... maybe I'll try that next time.  I normally buy air chilled chickens when the chicken is a main course and not an additive in another recipe....

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John, 

 

Thanks for sharing this. Usually I just carve and serve the yardbird and save the leftovers for later, but the last time I cooked one on the Joe, I stripped the meat from the bones like you did here to serve as barbecued (Alabama White Sauce) chicken. I didn't weigh it, however, so I can't comment on how much actual meat there was, but you give us a good idea. Even though the yield seems low, it still costs out favorably compared to a barbecue joint or prepared in a grocery store deli for what I'm sure was some delicious grilled chicken. 

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5 hours ago, dh14ster said:

John, 

 

Thanks for sharing this. Usually I just carve and serve the yardbird and save the leftovers for later, but the last time I cooked one on the Joe, I stripped the meat from the bones like you did here to serve as barbecued (Alabama White Sauce) chicken. I didn't weigh it, however, so I can't comment on how much actual meat there was, but you give us a good idea. Even though the yield seems low, it still costs out favorably compared to a barbecue joint or prepared in a grocery store deli for what I'm sure was some delicious grilled chicken. 

 

Yea... I am gonna be doing this more in the very near future so I'll do some comparisons because I do believe THIS particular chicken yielded lower than normal.  It WAS a very cheap chicken.

 

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Thinking about this, and went to the USDA website to look for more info.  Sure enough, there was some interesting info.  Not a huge research topic, but they did have a nice compilation: https://data.nal.usda.gov/dataset/usda-table-cooking-yields-meat-and-poultry

 

So, four losses of weight in this process: discarded parts (giblets, neck, etc. that might have been part of the sold bird, but might or might not be cooked), moisture (on the bird, but more so in the meat), fats and bones (could also be counted as part of the discards).  

 

I'd expect kamado cooking to retain more of the moisture than many other cooking methods.  Don't know about fats retention, though.

 

The USDA information that gives total yield is from 1975, and there have probably been lots of changes in both raising and processing chicken over those 45 or so years. But there's also a pretty good range of loss rates in that data (which only includes water and fat losses).

 

It would be interesting to weigh the bones, to compare to the meat value, though.  

 

For comparison though, a lot of fish have an (uncooked) yield of fillet that's about 1/3 of the whole weight.  Even less after cooking.  

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My technique to maximize  whole chicken yield is to first get a meal out of the chicken meat.

 

Then I boil the chicken to go in the direction of chicken stock which generally I make into soup. Homemade stock as we know has a multitude of uses.

 

Instead of noodles, we have been making dumplings. 

 

I will say, that I add in some granular chicken bouillon into the stock.

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Yeah, I discovered "whole chickens" (and "Cornish game hens instead of turkeys") a long time ago.  You can buy a small hen for about $5 around here instead of paying more for parts.  They're delicious on the grill, and you get to pick-and-choose the piece that you like best.  "365 Ways to Cook Chicken" was a best-seller cookbook as soon as it came out, all those many decades ago now, and you can still find it today.

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Never weighed but probably very similar results.

So often whole chicken is on sale way cheaper.  And my daughter loves the smoked chicken.  So I end up smoking 2-3 chickens.  One to have as dinner plus some leftover on a baked potato later in the week.  

Then one that I individually portion and bag up and freeze.  Thaw the night before to throw on a sandwich for my daughter to take to school.  

 

Leftover smoked chicken is good in so many ways.

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On 11/2/2021 at 8:36 AM, mike echo said:

 

Then I boil the chicken to go in the direction of chicken stock which generally I make into soup.

Had more meat than usual left on the last chicken (too many side dishes), had about 1/3 left.  Whole carcass went into the soup pot with some water, salt, black pepper, a carrot or two, noodles and parsley in the last couple minutes.  Really didn't taste any smoke at all in the soup, but the juices and carcass made a delish soup.  Perfect weather for it also.   

 

Nothing left but the clean boiled bones.  Didn't weigh them, though :-D

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Thanks @John Setzler, looks neat. Might be a good gift to some of my more cook-oriented family, come Christmas time.

 

only thing that caught my attention is that the wings do seem to protect the breast meat a bit.  I usually keep those away from there to try to get that meat to finish closer to the thigh meat.  But maybe I'm overthinking it.  Might need to do a double chicken test.  

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