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When did chickens get super-sized?

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I usually buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts individually frozen in a 5# bag from GFS (restaurant supply). It states on the bag that they are 4 oz. portions, which is just perfect for us---I cook for just the 2 of us. Well, I was out of them and the local Kroger was advertising Perdue boneless, skinless "fresh" chicken breasts for $1.87/lb., so I decided to buy a package for tonight's dinner. I thought it was strange that the smallest package was over 3 lbs., but figured I'd just freeze the breast halves I wouldn't use today. Well, I get my 3.85lb. package home and find there are FOUR breast halves in the package! That means EACH breast half is over 3/4 lb.! One was particularly large, so I had to weigh it---it was over a FULL POUND! Geez, I've seen smaller TURKEY breasts!
What's going on? What happened to a single chicken breast half being a serving for one---not a whole family?!!
Is Perdue alone in this, or are all the "supermarket chickens" so super-sized?

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  1. The meat on a Bell & Evans normally weigh in at ~6oz. each, but can vary widely. I had one package with 3oz and another with an 8 oz'er.

    If you found boneless breast >12 oz each, and foghorn leghorn topped out at over 1 pound that is extremely unusual and frightening. Sounds like they had an over abundence of oven roaster chickens (Stop and shop in CT was selling these for $.69 per pound two weeks ago) and they are selling the roaster breasts as broilers.

    1. I buy chicken at Whole Foods. This last year, they have never had a chicken under 5 lbs. They are enormous- Bell & Evans. No, they tell me, chickens do not come in 3 lb sizes! I hacve coq au vin cooking on the stove now and had to double the liquid portions because the chicken was so large.

      6 Replies
      1. re: emilief

        that's not true. we serve 3-lb bell and evans chickens where i work. (steakhouse, so guest gets the entire bird.)

        1. re: emilief

          I'm w hoto. i buy B&E 3-4 times a week and usually have 3-3.5 lb'ers. This time of year you can get larger, but i normally stay at this size if whole. WRT the B&E breasts, just look in the case, they will have all sizes.

          1. re: emilief

            I bought a 3 1/2 pound chicken from Whole Foods last week.

            1. re: Megiac

              Which Whole Foods was that? My two local ones only ever have 5 pounders...

              1. re: California Sunshine

                Denver. They always seem to have smaller ones.

            2. Mutant chickens are everywhere. Especially the big names like Tyson and Perdue. Like you, I don't understand the point of a breast half that feeds a family of four. Purdue has come out with a perfect portions product that is like your GFS product but not frozen, although you can. That is why many people have stopped buying supermarket chicken breasts. I mean what do they do to these chickens to get them this way?

              3 Replies
              1. re: bonmann

                This is kinda funny from a timing standpoint. Last week I was running late, wanted some wings to eat while watching the bb game, so just grabbed a box of Tyson Hot and Spicy Wings. Didn't look like much for 4 bucks, but I was in a hurry.
                Of the 14 oz the box contained, 10 of it had to be bone. These were the smallest chicken wings I've ever seen. I've never bought the prepared wings before, and damn sure won't again, but there wasn't a wing as big as my thumb in the box.
                I e-mailed the company asking if they were sure these weren't pigeon wings.
                They did offer me a refund, which I declined, but I'd really like to see these tiny little chickens in the before picture.

                1. re: Bobfrmia

                  Now I have this picture in my head of large breasted chickens with little bitty wings!

              2. It is pretty much a supermarket thing. I just hate it, I quick roasted 2 last week for a simple supper. I should have frozen one for another time,we split one and still had some leftover tastes for the girls (dogs). I think the supermarkets get the nice little birds for their rotisserie and fried chickens.

                We are lucky to have an insependent meat market here in Bloomington, IN. The Butchers Block. They get their chickens from a local producer and going in and getting just what you need or a perfect little 3 lb. roaster is wonderful. 'Course their other meats and supplies are great too. I buy almost all of my meat from them. I only buy supermarket meat when I am presed for time. I'd complain to the store manager and if you have a nice independent see what they have.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Candy

                  I love it. Once a month I'll buy a 4 or 5 pounder and roast it - my sister and I get three nights of roast chicken each, then I'll strip the carcass and use the bits for another night or two of chicken pot pie and the carcass for stock. That's 8-10 meals and half a gallon of stock for $10 worth of chicken. Awesome.

                2. Even the organic chicken breasts at my butcher's are huge -- they usually weigh 3/4 of pound, and sometimes closer to a whole pound. It's ridiculous! I'm a single person, and I don't always want that much chicken (especially if money is tight and I don't want to "invest" in multiple servings when I really only want one).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Ruth, here's what I usually do is before packaging it for freezing: I split the chicken breast lengthwise down the middle, trying for two relatively even portions. That way, if I need one that's about 4-6 oz., I don't have to double the recipe to accommodate the humongous-sized chicken breast.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Yeah, but sometimes I don't want to pay for chicken that I don't really need. The Smart chicken breasts that I buy aren't cheap -- they're $8.99/lb. Sometimes I don't want to buy $9 worth of chicken when I only need $4.