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What brand of poultry to you buy from Publix, Win-Dixie, or Sweet Bay?

Because I'm fairly new to the area I'm not familiar with the brands of poultry sold here. Could someone please tell me which brands you feel taste reasonably good? I'm not expecting miracles here. I just want something that won't make me not want to ever eat chicken again. I've already been through that once since I moved here and I don't want to go through it again! (it's probably a boring story so I'll spare you.)

For what it's worth, I used to buy Tyson chicken, I thought it was fine, especially their flash frozen parts, but I can rarely find even their chicken wings or tenders here. It's always hit and miss, more miss than hit really. I'd just like some fairly good chicken breasts and thighs preferably with the skin and bone.

Any suggestions and or opinions are very much appreciated. Thank you!

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  1. The Publix brand is in my opinion the highest quality chicken I've found so far, very good. The SweetBay brand always looked kind of 'sickly' to me but tasted ok I guess.

    Down here the Perdue and Tyson brands of chicken are injected with up to 15% salt water. Besides increasing the weight (paying for a pound of water for every 7 lbs of chicken), it gives the chicken a slight rubbery texture and weird flavor.

    I believe wal-mart sells the tyson chicken wings and tenders.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ElGimpo

      In my opinion, Publix chicken breasts are dry and tasteless. The other parts are HUGE (like, legs and thighs shouldn't be almost the same size as mine).

      1. re: Little T.

        Steroids are what cause chicken to be so immense in size. According to one news source the size of a chicken has increased over 100% since our grandparents bought chicken.

        1. re: imsiegfried

          It is illegal in the U.S. to give steroids to chickens.

        2. re: Little T.

          You made me laugh because I grabbed a tray of bone in skin on chicken thighs in Safeway a few months back (here in N Calif.) and I just happened to take a good look at them.They were huge! The size of a fat baby's thighs! I was horrified. ( I generally bought whole chickens to butcher or the bags of BS breast filets not paks of thighs) I flipped my lid and accosted a man working in the meat section asking him "what is wrong with these things? They are human size?" He was like "duh I dunno I guess they come like that".I just could not buy those nasty things and that is when I started posting on Chowhound to get answers about those chicken thighs!

        3. re: ElGimpo

          They are doing the same (pumped) thing to pork. Takes a lot longer to cook it & there is no flavor. With water being 8 lbs per gal & boneless chicken breast being about $2.50, that is some very pricey water.

        4. I shop at Publix and usually buy just breasts and prefer the Perdue branded chicken. The Publix branded chicken might come from Perdue for all we know but they are immense breasts. Also it seems to me the Publix branded are not trimmed as well as the Perdue branded, I usually have to take a knife to them to cut away excess chicken fat.

          I don't buy anything from Winn Dixie if I can help it. Sweetbay isn't bad though.

          1. If you're looking for a great chicken for roasting or for a special dish, look for a Murray's air-chilled chicken (usually, but not always, in the organic section)

            I'm another one who'll order pizza before I buy meat/poultry at Winn-Dixie. Too many horror stories.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sunshine842

              I had forgotten about Murray's chicken. If I remember correctly, (always a dicey proposition) they are Kosher chickens and on par in taste with true organic chickens.

              They cost a lot but are well worth it for special occasions. I think I saw Murray's at one of the larger Publix not too far from here.

              Thank you

            2. Publix Greenwise chicken is pretty good.

              1. We've been happy with The Fresh Market's poultry, and their chicken breasts are $2.99/pound on Tuesdays in January if you want to give them a try at a lower financial risk.

                They're also very nicely trimmed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: beachmouse

                  Info from a friend who works in the grocery industry says Publix and Fresh Market chicken is the same.

                2. I like the Publix store-brand all natural chicken. But, I rarely buy breasts... usually whole chickens or thighs. When on sale, I get the chicken breast cutlets (slices). I actually like the store brand much better than either Tyson or Perdue brands.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: onrushpam

                    I wasn't sure how to reply to everyone so I hope I'm doing this right.

                    So far the vote is,
                    Publix: 1Yes, 3 No.
                    Publix Greenwise: (natural) 2 yes. (I think)
                    Purdue: 1 Yes, 1 No.
                    Fresh Market: 1 yes, and 1 who's been told it's the same as Publix.
                    Tyson: 2 No
                    Win-Dixie- Never
                    Walmart- Neither way

                    So there's really no preferred brand.

                    I am a fan of America's Test Kitchen. When they taste tested all name brand chickens, Tyson came in first and Purdue came in last. I've been happy with Tyson for over 20 years but I don't remember if I ever tried Purdue.

                    I remember watching a cooking show that took place in Europe and the narrator/chef said to look for pink chicken because yellow chicken was old. I've never even seen a pink chicken.

                    Reading that others like Publix and Purdue helps me to feel a littler more comfortable in giving it another chance.

                    Thank you

                    1. re: imsiegfried

                      the cooking show was hogwash -- there are chickens who are bred specifically to have flesh with a yellowish tinge -- I buy poulet jaune because it tastes good. (the others are poulet blanc and poulet noir -- the flesh of both is pale pink, but blanc have white feathers and noir have black feathers, logically)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I believe it is what they are fed that gives the flesh a yellow color, not how they are bred.

                        1. re: Tom34

                          feed enhances the existing color.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Different breeds are different color, primarily white or yellow. The chief concern of the producers that supply the majority of the chicken sold in supermarkets breed their birds to produce the largest quantity of valuable meat in as short a period of time possible. Color can be enhanced or completely changed with astounding efficiency via feed and is routinely done.

                            1. re: Tom34

                              I believe I said "feed enhances the existing color"

                              And because I am in Europe, I have the option of NOT buying industrial supermarket chickens (at comparable prices, no less) -- and so I don't.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                SUNSHINE 842 "Because I am in Europe, I have the option of NOT buying industrial supermarket chickens"

                                The original post specifically referred to US supermarkets by name and made mention of Tyson, one of the largest poultry producers in the world.

                                SUNSHINE 842: "Chickens who are bred specifically to have flesh with a yellowish tinge".

                                Your post was not clear in the context of the original post and sometimes posts are so *others* can be clear. The original post specifically mentioned US supermarket chains and 90% of what they sell comes from Giants like Tyson and Purdue and they breed chickens to produce the largest quantity of valuable meat in the shortest period of time. To suggest they breed to color is simply not true. In the case of Purdue, color is "changed" by feed. If a purple chicken produced more value they would raise it and change the color.

                      2. re: imsiegfried

                        From America's Test Kitchen:

                        In LAST PLACE out of 8:

                        Recommended with Reservations

                        Tyson Chicken

                        'You know something’s fishy when your chicken has an ingredient list. Though most judged it “OK,” some found this broth-injected bird “spongy,” “wet,” and “bland beyond description.”

                        in 6th place out of 8:

                        Recommended with Reservations

                        Perdue Chicken

                        Your “basic,” “bland” chicken that some found “super-tender” but others deemed “dry,” with meat that “sticks to your teeth.” Perdue uses antibiotics “only when necessary” but boasts of being “USDA Process Verified.” In this case, it simply means the birds are vegetarian fed (which can mean a diet of bakery scraps).


                        1. re: ElGimpo

                          Organic chicken from Publix would be ok.

                          There is a lot of misinformation regarding poultry. I buy chicken from Fresh Market which is not free range or organic but is fed without antibiotics. Antibiotics are probably necessary for an industrial type chicken product as they are raised in such closed conditions that disease spreads quickly. They never get much movement so they are lacking in structure so they are injected with saline or broth. Yuck.

                          Costco sells free range chicken that is humanely raised. Certified organic is not always necessary. I buy whole chickens from them to make stock. Murray's is the brand. http://murrayschicken.com/

                          If people have not already done so, they should watch the movie: Food, Inc. It is available streaming on Netflix.

                          Sweet Bay is closing 30 stores in Florida, mostly in the Tampa Bay area. It is very hard to compete with Publix and win.

                          1. re: LilMsFoodie

                            It seems that Publix carries Murrys in stores close to me. Have to give it a try.

                            1. re: LilMsFoodie

                              I'd probably be afraid to eat anything after watching Food Inc. (which is why I haven't seen it yet) I once read a book that made me swear off too many foods.
                              Does the movie, Food Inc., give viewers ways in which to make better food choices if we don't live in a city and have to depend on the stores that I mentioned?

                              I did see on the news how chickens are kept in cages so small that they can never stand up. The conditions the chickens "lived" in and the farmers worked in were shocking and disgusting.

                              Re; Costco, I only have a refrigerator freezer. There's simply no room in my 600SF apartment to buy large quantities of anything. Do they sell small portions of Murry's? If not, I'm sure your recommendations will be helpful for others and Murray's does sound delicious.

                              This is my forth attempt to post a reply to different people, If this doesn't work I quit.

                            2. re: ElGimpo

                              Editing reason: This reply was for ElGimpo.

                              My America's Test Kitchen Cookbooks must already be dated. :-/

                              Could you please say which first 3 brands of chicken ATK did think tasted the best? I trust ATK for anything from their recommendations from the best tasting inexpensive olive oil to the best inexpensive cookware.

                              But what about chicken? The suspense is killing me!

                              Thank you

                              1. re: imsiegfried

                                I'm on a roll: here is Dr. Oz's decoding of chicken terminology. Makes my head hurt <G>

                                Added to Articles on Wed 10/06/2010

                                Dr. Oz decodes 4 popular, sometimes misleading, labels being applied to America’s chicken. Get the facts. Determine what’s necessary from what’s nonsense with Dr. Oz’s label decoder.

                                Organic Considered the gold standard of labels, chickens marked organic are grown without antibiotics and while being raised, they must have access to the outdoors. It means they can’t be genetically modified, irradiated or cloned.

                                Raised Without Antibiotics Although the USDA has banned the term “antibiotic-free,” the claim that an animal has been “raised without antibiotics” implies that it has not received any antibiotics during the course of its lifetime. Buyers beware: The USDA does not verify these claims. The labels are applied at the discretion of the manufacturer.

                                Free-Range While this label conjures pastoral images of chickens happily pecking in green pastures, it only means that the animal has had access to an open area. The USDA allows this label to be placed on any poultry product that has had open-air access for a minimum of 5 minutes per day.

                                Hormone-Free The USDA prohibits the use of hormones in raising chickens. This is an established regulation. This isn’t a selling point for a particular brand – it’s a reiteration that the USDA prohibits the use of all hormones in raising poultry.

                                1. re: imsiegfried

                                  lol, sure thing:

                                  Highly Recommended

                                  1. Mary's Free Range Air Chilled Chicken (also sold as Pitman's)
                                  Distribution: Calfornia, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Arizona and Nevada

                                  2.Bell & Evans Air Chilled Premium Fresh Chicken
                                  Distribution: East of the Rockies

                                  3.Springer Mountain Farms Fresh Chicken
                                  Distribution: National, with concentration east of Mississippi

                                  4.Coleman Organic Whole Chicken (also sold as Rosie Organic Whole Chicken)
                                  Distribution: National

                                  5.Empire Kosher Broiler Chicken
                                  Distribution: National

                                  Recommended with Reservations

                                  6.Perdue Fresh Whole Chicken
                                  Distribution: National

                                  7.Gold Kist Farms Young ’n Tender All Natural Chicken (also sold as Pilgrim’s)
                                  Distribution: Florida to Arizona, in the South (half of chickens produced are sold as store brands across the U.S.)

                                  8.Tyson Young Chicken
                                  Distribution: National

                                  btw, USDA free range certification only requires chicken have access to the outside %51 of their lives. No requirement they actually went outside. And no definition what size or makeup the outside is. A free range chicken you buy may never have been outside in it's life.

                                  organic chicken only refers to the ingredients of the chicken, that's it.

                                  free range chicken eggs means absolutely nothing. Just marketing.

                                  1. re: ElGimpo

                                    Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this out here. I printed it out and went to the grocery store. I wasn't able to find any of the ones on this list but I'm going to try a much larger Publix store next.

                                    They did have Murray's boneless skinless chicken breasts for $6.79 a pound. I'm keeping it mind for future reference.

                                    I tried Publix chicken thighs cooked to 170 degrees and was not impressed. I finally cooked the rest of them to 190 degrees with a lot of spice and then they tasted fairly good. Maybe I had to kill 'em twice to remove all the impurities???

                                    I've preferred chicken thighs in the past. I used to marinate them in a decent quality balsamic vinegar, probably costs about $12.00 a bottle now, and I felt comfortable serving them as a nice appetizer for guests. I really miss *that* chicken!

                                    I'm almost ashamed to say I also bought Tyson boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, the flash frozen kind that comes in a bag. I cooked them on 2 occasions using an easy recipe that doesn't cover up the taste of the chicken and I enjoyed the flavor and texture.

                                    I wish I could come to a conclusion from reading all the various opinions. Maybe the new comment that I haven't read yet will shed some light on it. I'm wondering if perhaps it's anyone's guess what we're really purchasing when we buy the so called store brand name.

                          2. Winn Dixie is a general no-go for me. Bad experiences with their meats and store brand.

                            The Publix I normally shop at was out of their regular whole chicken, so she gave me a Greenwise at the regular price. She then stated that I would easily tell the difference. Which prompted me to drive to another Publix and buy a regular one.

                            One breast from each was poached in naked water.

                            Leg quarter was put under the broiler, again with no seasoning.

                            The other leg quarter had salt and allspice and put on a charcoal grill.

                            I could not tell an appreciable difference between the birds in any preparation.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                              Wow! That was a very thorough test. So much for Publix Greenwise chicken. :-/

                              Perhaps it comes down to the company's reputation that sells it and our personal taste preferences that we are accustomed to.

                            2. generally i buy the Publix brand or Sanderson farms chicken

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: srsone

                                I like Springer Mountain, the smaller in weight, the better. If we want to grill a whole chicken, I'll buy the Cornish Hens - those are more like chickens my grandma would fry up way back in the olden days.

                                The chickens of late are huge. I'll buy a the smallest whole chicken for roasting. Hardly ever buy just the parts......

                                1. re: srsone

                                  I like the Sanderson Farms chicken from Winn Dixie also because it is the only packaged chicken that I can find that is not injected.

                                2. I only have experience with North Florida stores (not sure where you are).

                                  Sanderson Farms is an all right brand, though their boneless, skinless "parts" tend to be a bit flavorless. Publix brand seems slightly better quality but is more expensive (unless you catch a sale!).

                                  If you have a Harvey's near you, they (or at least the ones around here) carry Claxton Farms, which tends to be flavorful but a bit tough.

                                  Costco chicken parts tend to be good, and they carry boneless, skinless parts in compartmentalized vacuum bags for easy storage and / or freezing. (Fair warning: I did have one of these leak once, so thaw in a container!).

                                  I'm not a Sam's member so can't tell anything about their chicken.

                                  Hope this helps.