Where to find reasonably priced chickens or parts?
I am tired of going to anywhere from Loblaws to FreshCo to No Frills etc. to find chicken breasts at $20 for 3-4 scrawny breasts! $5 per protien per meal and no veggies, fruit or starches? Who can afford this!
Is there an independent butcher or reliable source for reasonably priced chicken? Whole chickens at $6.00 per bird look reasonable until you realize that will not feed your family of 4.
While I would love free range/organic, it is not in my weekly budget.
I know what I want is available, but it means waiting for specials and hoping they don't run out. But we eat a lot of chicken!
Any suggestions gratefully appreciated!
What area are you in, Diane?
I usually buy a case of leg quarters - 40 lbs, for $48.00 - either processed by Maple Leaf or Olymel, from Chinese supermarkets.
Maple Lodge factory store at Winston Churchill and 401 had their whole chickens on for $2.40 lb last week.
Many No Frills stores have a meat/seafood counter run by 'Charlie's Meat and Seafood'. Their prices are reasonable and cuts are available pre-packaged or right from the meat counter. My most recent purchase was a couple of pounds of ground chicken (breast, in this case) for $3.99/pound.
Charlie's is a Chinese-Canadian company which has a storefront on Broadview just north of Gerrard. There is also a processing plant in Scarborough. Here are the locations, from their website:
I'd also recommend using other parts of the chicken, if you want to save money.
Chicken legs and thighs cost a fraction of what chicken breast costs, and they don't dry out. If you don't mind the taste of dark meat, chicken breast (especially boneless, skinless chicken breast) is a waste of money. If you can't deal with skin or bones, boneless skinless thighs cost much less than boneless skinless breasts.
Boneless skinless thighs are usually around half the price of boneless skinless breasts where I shop. The boneless skinless breasts are often around $15/kg, and the boneless skinless thighs are often around $8/kg. Whether it's worth buying skinless boneless over regular chicken depends on the cook, I guess. The cheaper chickens might not be worth it for someone who doesn't eat skin, doesn't make stock, and/or wants to cook in a hurry (and doesn't want to debone the chicken).
I think the only way to beat $6/chicken would be to buy from in bulk as mentioned by some other posters, from a place like No Frills, a Chinese grocery store, or a chicken processing plant. I would think bulk packs from Walmart must also be cheap. Out west, it's possible to buy relatively cheap Hutterite-raised chickens direct from the Colony. Not sure what the going-rate for chickens might be if you bought them for cash direct from a Mennonite farmer.
I've been paying $8-$12/conventional chicken (and more when I splurge on naturally- raised chickens), so I don't know why the OP considers $6 too much for a whole chicken.
On a tangent, I've come to realize, cheap chicken isn't always a bargain. The chicken I've bought from Metro is usually much fattier than the slightly more expensive chicken I buy from the meat guy at the Market. I'm better off paying $0.50 more per pound, if I don't need to trim 2 tbsp of fat off each chicken quarter.
i've been buying my chicken at Danforth Food Market on Keele St. between Sheppard and Finch. They have awesome tasting chicken and the best prices. Their regular prices are the same as sale prices at the majors. My personal fave is the whole chickens. I've never seen chickens that size anywhere else. 4-5 pounds and soooooooooo tasty. Had one for Thanksgiving cause we don't like turkey. About $2.50/lb. Legs run about $1.29/lb and breasts run about $1.99/lb. Wings are reasonable too but kinda small. And like I said, so delicious. I wish I knew where they came from.