Poultry Basics

Reading Guide

Preview Scan the section and choose a Content or Academic Vocabulary word that is new to you. When you find it in the text, write down the definition.

Content Vocabulary

• maturity

• connective tissue

• market form

• trussing

Read To Learn

Key Concepts

• Identify different kinds, classes, and market forms of poultry.

• Explain how poultry is inspected and graded.

• Describe how to handle, store, and prepare poultry for cooking.

Main Idea

Poultry products are available in a variety of forms and classes. They must be handled and stored properly to stay fresh.

Graphic Organizer

As you read, you will find eight factors you must consider when choosing a poultry product. Use a diagram like this one to help organize your information.

Academic Vocabulary

Factors for Choosing Poultry

Factors for Choosing Poultry

Graphic Organizer

Go to this book's Online Learning Center at glencoe.com for a printable Graphic Organizer.


NSESC Develop an understanding of the behavior of organisms.

NSES F Develop an understanding of community health, and natural and human-induced hazards.

l k Mathematics

NCTM Data Analysis and Probability Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data.

NCTE National Council of Teachers of English NCTM National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

NSES National Science Education

Standards NCSS National Council for the Social Studies

What Is Poultry?

Birds that are raised for human consumption are called poultry. Poultry products are usually less expensive than many meat products and may be adapted to a wide variety of dishes. You may also use a wide variety of cooking techniques to cook poultry. Before you cook poultry, you will need to understand the eight factors for making the right choice: kind, market form, class, style, color, odor, inspection, and grading. You will also need to know how to safely handle and store poultry.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) categorizes poultry according to species, or kind. The kinds of poultry include chicken, turkey, goose, duck, pigeon, and guinea. Each kind of poultry is divided into different classes based on the age and gender of the bird. (See Figure 22.1.)

Poultry is similar to meat in structure. Both poultry and meat are made up of muscle, connective tissue, fat, and bone. Poultry flesh is made up of protein, water, and fat. The fat in all types of poultry is found just underneath the skin.

L ]FGURE22lT Poultry Classifications

' Poultry Choices There are many different kinds of poultry available. What kinds of poultry would you choose for customers who prefer tender or very tender poutlry?

Type of Poultry


Cornish hen

Fryer or broiler Roaster

Capon Stewer



Young turkey Yearling turkey

Mature or old turkey


Young (5-6 weeks); very tender

Young (9-12 weeks), male or female; tender

Young (3-5 months), male or female; tender Male, under 10 months; very tender Mature female, over 10 months; tough

Young bird, male (tom) or female (hen); tender Hen or tom, with tender flesh but firmer cartilage

Fully mature, but tender

Hen or tom with tough flesh and coarse skin


Young goose

Mature goose

Under 6 months; tender Over 6 months; tough


Broiler or fryer duckling

Roasting duckling Mature duck

Young, with soft windpipe; tender Young, with hardening windpipe; tender Old, with tough flesh




3-4 weeks; light, tender meat Over 4 weeks; dark, tough meat


Young guinea Old guinea

Under 6 months; tender Up to 12 months; tough

* Nutrition Notes *

Poultry Nutrition

Poultry is packed with protein. A 3^-ounce roasted chicken breast with skin has about 197 calories, 30 grams of protein, 84 milligrams of cholesterol, and 7.8 grams of fat.

CRITICAL THINKING How does poultry fit into a well-rounded diet?

Maturity and Tenderness

A bird's age is commonly called its maturity. Older poultry is tough. If you want tender poultry, select a younger bird. Tenderness is also affected by the amount of exercise a bird gets. The more a bird exercises, the more connective tissue is created. Connective tissue holds muscle fiber together. A bird with more connective tissue will have tougher flesh.

Birds that rarely fly, such as turkeys and chickens, have lighter-colored wing and breast meat, commonly called light meat. The parts of a bird that have more muscle and connective tissue, such as the thighs and legs, are darker in color. This is commonly called dark meat. Light meat has less fat and cooks faster than dark meat. Dark meat has more fat and generally takes a longer time to cook. Duck and goose are composed of mostly dark meat. All poultry has giblets, the edible internal organs of the bird.

effect does exercise have on poultry's toughness?

Evaluating Poultry

Poultry is available in many market forms, classes, and styles. Market form is the form poultry is in when it is purchased. Fresh poultry works well when the poultry is to be cooked within one to two days. Frozen poultry may be kept for up to six months.

Many establishments find fully cooked poultry convenient to use in recipes for soups, salads, and casserole dishes. It can be purchased frozen and canned.

The two classes of poultry are maturity and gender, or whether a bird is male or female. Old birds are tougher than young birds and male birds are tougher than female birds.

Style refers to the state of the bird when it is received at a foodservice operation. It will also reflect, or demonstrate, the amount of processing that was done. Poultry is sold whole or in parts, bone-in or boneless, or ground.

Foodservice operations purchase poultry either whole or in parts. Poultry that has been prepared and packaged is called ready-to-cook, or RTC poultry. Whole, fresh poultry is usually less expensive than cut poultry and can be cut into pieces by foodservice professionals.

^^J Light and Dark Different parts of poultry can be divided into light and dark meat. Which parts pictured here are light meat, and which are dark meat?

Judging Quality

As a foodservice professional, you need to be familiar with what makes a poultry product acceptable, or of good quality. There are two main ways to judge quality in poultry:

• Color Poultry color should vary from cream to yellow. It should not be purple or green from bruising or spoiling. Dark wing tips are also a sign of spoilage. Do not use poultry that is spoiled.

• Odor Poultry should not have a strong odor, or feel sticky under the wings or around the joints. A strong odor and sticky feel indicate, or show, that the poultry is spoiled. Discard any spoiled poultry immediately.

Inspection and Grading

All poultry must be federally inspected by the USDA to see that it is processed in sanitary conditions and is safe to eat. The poultry should also be free from visible signs of disease. Poultry that passes inspection earns the USDA Inspection Stamp of Approval. However, poultry must be properly handled and stored to stay fresh and safe.

Find the Label Grading and inspection stamps are attached to the wing of the bird by a tag. If the bird is processed and shipped in packaging, you will find the stamp on the product packaging.

I Turn the bird on its side, grasp the breast, and ^ begin cutting between the breast and the leg. Turn the bird over and repeat.

Pull the leg back and cut along the backbone to remove the leg. Turn the bird over and repeat. Set the legs aside.

Pull the leg back and cut along the backbone to remove the leg. Turn the bird over and repeat. Set the legs aside.

Most poultry should also be graded. USDA inspection is required for poultry, but grading is optional. The poultry grading system uses letters to show the level of quality. The highest grade poultry can receive is an A. Grade A poultry is higher quality and is a more consistent product. For a bird to earn Grade A, it must:

• Have clean skin with no blemishes, tears, cuts, or bruises.

• Have no broken bones.

• Have all feathers plucked and removed, including pinfeathers.

Birds that do not meet these standards receive grades B or C. Lower-quality birds that receive these grades are used to make processed poultry products where the presen tation is not as important, such as chicken fingers or turkey pot pies.

the differences between USDA inspection and USDA grading?

Safety Check

^ Thawing Poultry

Never defrost any poultry product at room temperature. Always thaw poultry in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours of defrosting time for every 5 pounds of poultry. Once raw poultry thaws, it should be used within two to three days. CRITICAL THINKING What could happen if you defrost poultry at room temperature?

^ Cut along each side of the backbone toward ^^ Use the tip of the knife to expose the breast-the front of the breast. Then, remove the bones and ribs.

entire backbone.

entire backbone.

^ Grasp the back of the breast Lay the boneless breast on ^ To separate the drumstick and remove the breast and the cutting board and split from the thigh, cut between keel bones. into two pieces. the joints.

^ Grasp the back of the breast Lay the boneless breast on ^ To separate the drumstick and remove the breast and the cutting board and split from the thigh, cut between keel bones. into two pieces. the joints.

Flip the bird over, and tie a knot In the twine.

Continue reading here: Truss

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