Types of Poultry & Poultry Basics
The definition of poultry is simple. Any bird that is raised for their eggs or meat is defined as poultry. This fits all birds including the various chicken types.
Different Types of Poultry:
- Game Hens
How Long Do Chickens Live?
Well-cared for chickens treated as a pet can live for many years. Chicken lifespan can vary depending on living conditions. In backyard conditions, they can live for 8-10 years, like a dog. The breed and diet can also play into the lifespan.
Do Chickens Eat Ticks?
Yes. Chickens can eat ticks which can be helpful if you are raising them in a backyard setting. They can also eat other insects such as flies and mosquitos.
Types of Chickens
- Jersey Giant
- Cornish Game Hen
There are several types of chickens that are defined in classes of age. Knowing these classes will help you decide on the proper purchasing and cooking method to ensure accurate preparation.
Cornish Game Hen
Game hens are typically 5-6 weeks old and are young or immature progenies of a Cornish chicken. It is very flavorful. The best method of cooking is to split and roast or grill.
What is a Broiler Chicken or Fryer Chicken?
Young and with tender meat and smooth skin, the broiler/fryer chicken is typically 6-8 weeks in age and is lean. It will have a flexible breastbone which is a good sign of the age. It weighs up to 2kg (4lb) and lends itself well to any cooking method as it is very versatile.
If there is one thing that is universal, is the worlds’ love for chicken.
A roaster is a few weeks older than a fryer. There is not much variation between a roaster and a fryer besides the age. This can affect flavor and tenderness. It has tender young meat with smooth skin. The breastbone is less flexible than the fryer and aged around 8-9 weeks. The weight is 2kg and over. It is suitable for any cooking method.
What is a Capon?
A capon is a castrated male (Caponette will mean chemically castrated). It has tender meat with soft smooth skin. A capon is bred for well-flavored meat and contains a high proportion of light meat to dark meat. A capon also has a high-fat content. A Capon is 4-6 months old and weight between 2-4 kg (6-10lb) and over. The preferred method for cooking a capon is roasting.
A fowl is a mature female. It is quite flavorful but less tender than a fryer/roaster. The breastbone has no flexibility. The age of the fowl is over 7 months and will weight 1kg (2lb) and over. The best cooking method for a fowl is to stew or braise.
Duck is one of my favorite types of poultry due to its exquisite fat and excellent texture. If you’ve never had duck before, I implore you to try it. There is nothing game-y about a duck. It goes very well with a variety of sweet berry sauces, making it even more delicious. The most common type of duck used is a young duckling. Duck only contains dark meat and large amounts of fat. To make the fatty skin edible, you must render as much fat off the meat as possible. Duck has a high percentage of bone and fat to meat. A 2 Kg duck will only feed 2 people while a chicken of the same weight will serve 4. Eating duck at medium-well to medium is fine and there is no danger of foodborne illness.
A goose contains only dark meat and has very fatty skin. It is usually roasted at high temperatures to render the fat.
Roasted goose is popular at holidays and is often served with an acidic fruit-based sauce to offset the fattiness.
Not as common as many of the other types of poultry out there, and in fact most of these types you’ll have to actively seek out, however, the pigeon does have roots in history where it was an important part of a diet. The young pigeon is not the pigeon you find on the streets but rather raised for the purpose of being eaten. Usually referred to as squad, its meat is dark and tender, suitable for broiling, sauteing or roasting. There is minimal amounts of fat on the pigeon and would, therefore, benefit from barding.
We all know about turkey and we should all know the differences in cooking a turkey compared to cooking a chicken. The difference in size alone means that the cooking methods and cooking times change substantially. Turkey is the second most popular types of poultry. It has both light and dark meat and a relatively small amount of fat. Younger turkeys are much more economical and can be prepared in almost any manner. Best cooking methods for the typical young turkey is roast or cut into cutlets and sauteed or pan-fried.
Handling Chicken Safety
Poultry is highly perishable and particularly susceptible to salmonella bacteria. As such, it is critical that the poultry is stored at the right temperatures. Be sure to store fresh chickens and other small birds on ice or at 0C – 2C (32F – 34F) for up to two days. Larger birds can be stored for up to 4 days. Freezing poultry is recommended at -17C (0F) or below and should be brought up to temperature gradually and always at cooler-temperature.
Foie gras is a bit controversial right now due to the manner in which it is harvested from the goose. However, it is still an important piece of the culinary arts and is important to know what it is and how to cook it. Foie Gras is the enlarged liver of a duck or goose that is considered a delicacy since Roman times. Today, it is produced in many parts of the world by methodically fattening the birds by force-feeding them specially prepared corn while limiting their movement and activity. Fresh foie gras contains two lobes that must be separated, split and deveined. The better foie gras will be smooth and lighter in color with a more delicate flavor than that of duck.
Fresh foie gras can be grilled, roasted, sauteed, or made into a pate. Keep in mind when cooking foie gras that if cooked for too long it can literally melt away due to the high amounts of fat within it. In 2007, foie gras was banned in some areas and a movement has started to ban it completely due to allegations of animal cruelty.