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Chicken: Where to you buy it?

s
spoggly Jan 21, 2009 06:58 AM

Sure, there's chicken everywhere. Not hard to find obviously. I'm curious where people buy chicken on this board. There sure seems to be a lot of thread on beef, but I don't see too many on chicken.

I'm curious about the differences between chicken offered in different places. Maybe some some chicken aficionados can give a bit of a rundown on where to find good chicken, and perhaps more importantly from my perspective (since "good" is subjective) what differences there are in flavors and textures of various sources of chicken locally.

thanks

  1. b
    Burger Boy Jan 21, 2009 07:21 AM

    There are places in Chinatown that sell live chickens and they clean and gut them. There is also a place on Vermont near 8th St that does the same. I believe there is also a place on Virgil just north of 1st on the west side that does the same. I have heard fresh chickens have a stronger flavor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Burger Boy
      monku Jan 23, 2009 05:31 PM

      Big difference in taste of a freshly killed chicken and what they call fresh chicken in the grocery stores. I wouldn't call it a stronger flavor, it just tastes like a chicken should. You order a whole or half chicken prepared any way you want in a good Chinese restaurant and you'll know if it was a freshly killed chicken or not. If you're ordering something like Kung Pao chicken, most likely their using frozen chicken parts. Hormones or no hormone-free range or not, nothing like the taste of a freshly killed chicken. I don't think its a "stronger flavor".

      There's a live poultry place I go to every now and then on Spring/Ord (next to Family Pastry) and you can get a freshly killed whole chicken or they sell fresh kill chicken parts.

    2. j
      JPomer Jan 21, 2009 07:41 AM

      we buy chickens at the Sunday Farmers Market in Hollywood -- they're pricey -- the cheaper guy is 13 bucks a bird -- but they are the best chickens I've tasted anywhere, far better for sure than supermarket, and better even than Whole Foods or Bristol.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JPomer
        e
        ExtraCheesePlease Jan 21, 2009 07:50 AM

        I was just going to say the Hollywood farmer's market. It's very pricey but the chicken are fresh and tastes incredibly, especially if you take a bit of time and brine it before cooking.

        1. re: ExtraCheesePlease
          s
          spoggly Jan 21, 2009 07:52 AM

          How long do you brine their chickens for?

          1. re: spoggly
            e
            ExtraCheesePlease Jan 21, 2009 08:06 AM

            I do for about 3-4 hours. You can do it overnight but I pick up the chicken on Sunday morning. Brine them around 1-2pm and cook them for Sunday dinner (usually just a simple roast with some herbs, butter, olive oil and salt and pepper). Trust me, your eyes will roll to the back of your head in utter happiness. LOL.

        2. re: JPomer
          r
          rezpeni Jan 23, 2009 05:46 AM

          The cheaper guy is the one on the north side of the market? How much a pound? How big are they usually?

        3. c
          Casualis Jan 21, 2009 08:04 AM

          I usually buy my chickens at Sprout Farmer Market, the organic ones. They are not bad at all but a little bit pricey.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Casualis
            TonyC Jan 21, 2009 09:23 AM

            for non-organic yellow feather bird, or 土 chicken, or old "aged" hen, all freshly slaughtered:

            Majestic Poultry (East LA)
            450 N Ford Blvd, Los Angeles, CA‎ (323) 261-4313‎

            $6 a bird.

          2. j
            jaykayen Jan 21, 2009 09:54 AM

            I think good chicken has a bit of a stronger flavor. You'll notice it, but the flavor of your chicken is just one component. What you do with it after can make a big difference.

            Try a dry brine, probably about 1/2 tsp of table salt/lb, plus any herbs/garlic/lemon that you might want to use, and go overnight (or two days!)

            2 Replies
            1. re: jaykayen
              j
              Jack Flash Jan 21, 2009 10:51 AM

              Yes, something akin to the "Zuni Chicken" method. I have tried this a couple of times, and the results have been good, but I've never had the time to give it as much brining/curing as I'd like, which would be anywhere from 48 to 72 hours (I've only done about 36).

              When I'm going a whole bird, I'll buy the Rocky Jr. whole chickens at HOWS markets. They're organic and free-range. I think they run around $2.49/lb, usually between 4-5 lbs.

              1. re: Jack Flash
                j
                jaykayen Jan 21, 2009 09:52 PM

                aww, the Rocky birds in my Whole Foods are HUGE, like 6 lbs! Since it's just me and my BF, I've never bought one, as even half of a bird would be too much.

            2. j
              JudiAU Jan 21, 2009 01:43 PM

              A good chicken has tightly-grained flesh with a real poultry flavor. The breast is in proportion to the rest of its body. At the least it should have access to the outdoors and not be caged. At the best it should have access to forage (grass/bugs, etc) and the equipment to enjoy it (no docked beak).

              The tastiest birds are also the healthiest birds. Most of the farmer's markets have good choices. Kendor offers a tasty cage-free option and Health Family Farm's are pastured. Both are available at the Hollywood Farmer's Market and some others. We salt brine ala Zuni and then air dry the skin for two days for the best flavor and crispiest skin.

              Conventional chicken farming is disgusting. The birds are abused and live in filthy disease-ridden cages. They have flabby tasteless flesh and mutant breasts. They taste more like sponges than flesh. Beaks are docked because the birds are under such stress they poke out the eyes of their fellow prisoners. It isn't worth eating.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JudiAU
                J.L. Jan 21, 2009 05:46 PM

                Second JudiAU. Gotta let those chickens run around. Most conventionally-raised caged chicken taste like rubber in the U.S.

                One of my favorite things to eat outside the U.S. (especially in less socioeconomically advantaged nations) is chicken, 'cuz it tastes like real chicken.

                1. re: J.L.
                  m
                  MaryT Jan 21, 2009 08:50 PM

                  The best chicken I've had is outside US
                  And often the cheap thing on the menu

              2. wilafur Jan 23, 2009 08:51 AM

                lately i've been buying vikon farms chicken at 168 market in sgv.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wilafur
                  keepon Jan 23, 2009 09:06 PM

                  Second Vikon Chicken at 168. About $6 per bird, it's non-mutant variety (i.e. smaller with in proportion breast size), and taste like real chicken. We used that to make Hainan Chicken Rice.

                2. PurpleTeeth Jan 23, 2009 08:55 AM

                  Some of the best I have had are Mary's Chickens
                  http://www.maryschickens.com/
                  Whole Foods just started stocking them. I was wondering if anyone has seen them anywhere else? I also love the chicken guy at the Sunday Farmer's Market but think Mary's are just a bit better.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: PurpleTeeth
                    j
                    Jack Flash Jan 23, 2009 09:36 AM

                    Actually, the Whole Foods markets in Pasadena have had Mary's for several years now.

                    1. re: Jack Flash
                      PurpleTeeth Jan 23, 2009 11:48 AM

                      for some reason the Glendale store just got them. But maybe I was missing them before among all the Rosie's Chix stuff. If fact I had stopped buying chicken there because I didn't like Rosie's.

                  2. p
                    posh Jan 23, 2009 09:19 AM

                    I'm also a big fan of Happy Healthy Farms (other than the name). They're at several farmer's markets around town. Their chickens run 3- 5 pounds at $4. I only buy them when I'm looking for something special because they're expensive, but they always impress. I like to roast them Zuni-style with a little butter.

                    Please avoid mass-produced chicken. Intensive chicken factories are awful for the environment. The poultry industry is notorious for shameful labor practices. And they are so laden with antibiotics and chemical foods that anyone concerned should think twice.

                    There's no reason to eat such filth. You don't "need" to eat chicken, especially when they're so bland you have to cook other things to complete a meal anyway. So you might as well not use them at all. Instead, buy a quality chicken and cook it in a way that makes it better than "chicken."

                    Sorry for the rant.

                    1. e
                      ErikaK Jan 23, 2009 09:40 AM

                      I love buying organic chickens from WF, but am on a budget right now. I have found that the whole chickens at Fresh&Easy are actually pretty good, no giblets, and they come trussed. Definitely easy for a quick weeknight roast chicken. Their parts are good as well (and excellently priced), especially the leg quarters. As good, if not better, than the kosher chickens at Trader Joe's.

                      1. l
                        latindancer Jan 23, 2009 04:55 PM

                        I only buy kosher chickens at Doheny Butcher on Pico.

                        1. b
                          Barbara Ladden Jan 23, 2009 08:11 PM

                          Puritan Poultry in Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax.
                          Fresh and plump.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Barbara Ladden
                            rednyellow Jan 24, 2009 04:32 PM

                            I've been buying from Puritan Poultry for years. I don't know what the particulars are but it's always good.

                            1. re: Barbara Ladden
                              Emme Jan 24, 2009 07:43 PM

                              Third this! I've roasted two birds this week, and they've come out exceptionally moist and fall-ff-the-bone tender!

                            2. Frommtron Jan 24, 2009 11:54 PM

                              I like Healthy Family Farms at the Farmers' Market in SM. They are PRICEY, so be warned. $4.25/lb. The Lily's Eggs guy will also have chickens on occasion for a flat $13 a bird.

                              I also like the Jidori chickens at Mitsuwa. Ask and you can get a bird with the head and feet still attached.

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