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Here are brief descriptions of the most popular chicken pieces.


The whole leg, including the thigh and drumstick; no back portion. All dark meat.


Lower portion of the leg; two usually make an adult serving.

Wing Portions (Wingettes & Drummettes)

The drummette is the first section or shoulder section of the wing; the wingette is the second section of the wing or wing-tip section.


The upper portion of the leg above the knee joint; no back portion unless package indicates. Favorite of those who like dark meat. Also available boneless and skinless.

Breast Halves or Split Breasts

White meat; available bone-in, with or without skin and boneless and skinless.

Whole Chicken & Family Roaster

The whole chicken, including two breasts, two thighs, two drumsticks and two wings. Roasters are typically larger than a standard whole chicken.

Chicken Patties

Ground chicken in patty form, made from boneless, skinless thigh meat.


How much you’ll need to buy depends on the number of people you’re planning to serve, portion size, what you’re serving and whether you want leftovers. Generally, one whole 3-1/2 pound chicken will serve four and yields slightly over 3 cups of cooked, diced chicken meat without skin. What’s considered a serving? According to the USDA Food Pyramid, you’re looking at 2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean chicken, excluding skin and bones. That’s about the amount of meat in a breast half.


Chicken is done when juices run clear, there is no hint of pink in the meat and a fork can be inserted into the meat with ease. But to be sure, the experts say ALWAYS USE A MEAT THERMOMETER. Below are a few pointers for using one properly:

  • For a whole chicken, insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh or breast.
  • For bone-in and boneless pieces and ground chicken patties, insert it into the thickest part of the largest piece you are cooking.
  • In all cases, make sure the probe doesn’t touch the bone or cooking surface.

According to the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service, regardless of the cut or type, poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F throughout the product.


Follow these simple steps to deliciously roast a chicken:

  1. Selecting & Prepping Your Chicken: Choose a roasting chicken that is tender and fresh. Gold’n Plump® Chicken Roaster is the perfect choice. For best results, rinse the roasting chicken inside and out and pat dry. Discard chicken packaging and wrapping immediately after removal.
  2. Adding Flavor With Rubs, Spices & Infusion: A rub of seasoned oil, a spice blend and, finally, an infusion to wrap your roasted chicken in flavor. The oil rub helps to make the skin crisp during roasting. The spice blend turns up the flavor. The infusion, usually citrus juice or vinegar, adds more flavor and extra juiciness and is drizzled on during the last 10 minutes of roasting.

    For your rub, select from the many herb, hot pepper, garlic olive or vegetable oils found at grocery or specialty food shops. Accent the rub by applying a blend of spices. After applying the oil rub and spice blend, place the chicken into a roasting pan that is large enough to provide space around it. You can line roasting or baking pans with aluminum foil for quick cleanup. Turn wings under or set them in a “V” rack — both methods work well.

  3. Roasting the Chicken: Preheat your oven before roasting to ensure even cooking and to help keep package cook times accurate. Prior to preheating, position the oven rack so that the top of the chicken is just above the middle of the oven. Set the oven temperature to 425°F. Once the temperature reaches 425°F, place the roaster pan in the oven.

    The best method for oven-roasting poultry is to start with high heat, then lower the temperature. The high heat interval begins the browning and carmelization processes.

    Roast for an additional 1-1/2 to 2 hours, testing for doneness during the last half-hour of cooking.

    Test for doneness using an instant-read meat thermometer in the thickest part of the roasting chicken (breast or thigh). Be sure that the thermometer probe does not touch the bone. According to the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service, the chicken should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. However, for more tender meat, bring the temperature of the chicken to 180°F. 

    Don’t forget to drizzle on the infusion for extra flavor and juiciness during the last 10 minutes of roasting.

    Let the roasting chicken cool for 10 minutes before carving. This allows more of the juices to be retained in the meat. 


Our step-by-step guide makes easy work out of carving a roasted chicken.

Step 1
Place chicken on a clean, sanitary cutting board. Remove leg and thigh sections by pressing the leg away from the body. Cut through joint carefully, following body contour.

Step 2
Cut the drumstick and thigh apart at the joint. Repeat steps one and two for the opposite side of the chicken.

Step 3
Cut the meat from the drumstick and thigh in thin slices.

Step 4
On each side of the chicken, cut between the wing and breast to sever joint.

Step 5
Cut breast horizontally just above the wing joint, cutting through the ribs. Repeat for opposite side of the chicken.

Step 6
With long, smooth strokes, cut the breast into thin slices. Repeat for opposite side of chicken.


Here's a checklist to help your grilling efforts:

  • Get organized before starting. Have everything you need — chicken, marinade, seasonings, sauces, toppings and equipment — on hand before you fire up the grill.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel. Insufficient flame means uncooked food. Have an extra bag of charcoal on hand, or make sure your gas grill’s tank is at least one-third full.
  • Grilling is a high-heat art. To sear the meat and get those tantalizing marks, the grill must be at least 500°F. When using charcoal, let it burn until covered with a thin coat of gray ash. When using a gas grill, preheat on high for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Clean your grill grate twice each time you grill: once after preheating and again after you finish cooking because there’s nothing less appetizing than grilling on top of bits of burnt food. Plus, new food tends to stick to a dirty grate. We recommend using a long-handled, wire brush.
  • Keep the grill covered and resist peeking. If your grill has a cover, keep it on as much as possible. This is especially true for large meat cuts and chicken, whole chicken in particular. Every time you lift the lid, you add 5 to 10 minutes cooking time.
  • Stop poking — use tongs or a spatula instead. Piercing the meat while grilling allows juices to escape while cooking. This can lead to dry chicken. Tongs are great for gently moving chicken during grilling.
  • Let the chicken stand a few minutes before serving. It’ll taste better, because the meat juices driven to the center before cooking will spread throughout the meat. So every bite is juicy.
  • Once you put something on the grill, stay with it until it’s cooked. Grilling is easy but it demands constant attention.

Fresh chicken is perishable and must be handled with care. From your shopping cart to your home, here are some pointers for safe handling. 

When shopping, pick up your chicken last so it’s not sitting for a long time at room temperature in your cart. And, if you’re running errands, save your grocery shopping until last so chicken and other meats aren’t left in a hot car. 

Once home with your chicken, refrigerate it immediately. At room temperature, the quality and safety of fresh chicken are quickly compromised. Never let it sit out on the countertop — even if you plan to make it for that night’s dinner. Here are some more tips on storing, handling, thawing and transporting chicken that will let you get the freshest taste from your chicken. 

Keep Hands and Surfaces Clean

  • Rinsing chicken before using is optional. But if you do rinse it, wash your sink out with hot, soapy water afterwards.
  • Do not let raw chicken juices come in contact with other foods in the fridge.
  • Keep raw and cooked foods separate during preparation. And never use the same cutting board for raw chicken and vegetables without washing it in hot, soapy water first.
  • Wash all surfaces and equipment that the raw chicken comes in contact with during preparation, including bowls, plates, cutting boards, knives, countertops, etc. And don’t forget your hands!

Rules To Refrigerate & Freeze By

  • Packaged, raw chicken can be refrigerated in its original wrapping in the coldest part of the refrigerator for 48 hours after purchase. If it is not to be used in 48 hours, freezing is recommended. See table below.
  • Cooked, cut-up chicken is best when refrigerated for two days or less; whole, cooked chicken for three days or less.
  • Store fresh, uncooked chicken on a low shelf of the refrigerator so it does not drip onto other items.
  • For convenience and to prevent freezer burn, wrap separate pieces in foil or plastic bags. Then place all wrapped or bagged pieces into a larger freezer bag or foil wrap. Press all air out of the bag/foil package and label package with contents and date frozen.

Home Storage Temperatures & Maximum Times

Chicken Type
Refrigerator (40°F or below)
Freezer (0°F or below)


Chicken Parts (Breasts, Drumsticks, etc.)
Refrigerator: 1 to 2 days
Freezer: 9 months

Chicken Sausages
Refrigerator: 1 to 2 days
Freezer: 1 to 2 months

Refrigerator: 1 to 2 days
Freezer: 3 to 4 months

Ground Chicken
Refrigerator: 1 to 2 days
Freezer: 3 to 4 months

Whole Chicken
Refrigerator: 1 to 2 days
Freezer: 1 year


Chicken Patties
Refrigerator: Not recommended
Freezer: 3 to 4 months

Individually Quick Frozen Chicken Breasts
Refrigerator: 1 to 2 days
Freezer: 3 to 4 months

COOKED CHICKEN (leftovers)

Chicken Parts (plain)
Refrigerator: 3 to 4 days
Freezer: 4 months

Chicken Parts with gravy, broth
Refrigerator: 1 to 2 days
Freezer: 6 months

Chicken Patties
Refrigerator: 1 to 2 days
Freezer: 1 to 3 months

Cooked Chicken Dishes
Refrigerator: 3 to 4 days
Freezer: 4 to 6 months

Fried Chicken
Refrigerator: 3 to 4 days
Freezer: 4 months

Whole Roasted Chicken (Oven or Rotisserie)
Refrigerator: 3 to 4 days
Freezer: 4 months


There are four ways to thaw chicken, listed below in order of preferred method, and time needed. You’ll know the chicken is thawed when it feels soft, moist and cold — not hard and stiff.

  • Refrigerator: This is the best method, if you have time. Keep your chicken off the kitchen counter and in the fridge. It takes about 24 hours to thaw a 4-pound, whole chicken in the refrigerator; cut-up parts, 3 to 9 hours.
  • Cold Water: Place chicken in its original wrap or watertight plastic bag in cold water; change water every 30 minutes. A 4-pound, whole chicken will take about 2 hours to thaw.
  • Microwave: For quick-thawing of chicken (raw or cooked), use the microwave. Thawing time varies according to the form in which chicken is frozen (whole or parts, number of parts frozen together, etc.). Use Defrost or Medium-Low setting. Microwave 2 minutes; let stand 2 minutes. Repeat if needed. Turn chicken and separate parts as it thaws. Take care that chicken does not start to cook.
  • Oven: Individually wrapped parts can be cooked right from the freezer, but you’ll need to add 50% more cooking time.

Even after chicken is cooked, it’s important to either keep it hot or keep it cold. To keep it safe, follow these rules:

  • Don’t leave cooked chicken at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Either keep it hot (140° to 165°F) or refrigerate it at 40°F or below.
  • Bring chicken gravy to a full boil before serving.
  • When transporting chicken, use an insulated container or cooler with ice until dinner is served.
  • When grilling or barbecuing outdoors, keep chicken refrigerated until ready to cook. Do not place cooked chicken on the same plate used to transport the raw chicken to the grill (unless it’s been washed in hot, soapy water).
  • Never put marinades or sauces used on raw chicken on cooked foods.