Cooking Chicken: Methods & Cuts

The versatility of chicken lends itself to a variety of cooking methods, depending on the cut. Make the most of your Giant Eagle® chicken — use these tips and tricks to prepare a perfectly cooked chicken dinner tonight.
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Chicken Cuts

  • Leg Quarters and Thighs: Sometimes sold boneless, juicy dark-meat thighs and quarters are economical, flavorful, and hard to overcook.
  • Drumsticks: This dark-meat piece is often sold with the thigh attached, labeled as a “leg.” To separate the two parts, cut through the joint with a sharp knife.
  • Wings: The boniest cut, the wing is considered white meat. It is made up of three sections, the first of which is sometimes sold separately as a “drumette.”
  • Split Breast: Big and juicy, this cut is a boon to white-meat lovers who don’t want to roast an entire bird. It’s sold whole or split into halves.
  • Boneless Breast: This weeknight staple is almost always split into halves. Tenderloin strips come from the upper-muscle section.
  • Whole Chickens: An economical dinner solution, the whole chicken can be cut or cooked whole. Includes wings, drumsticks, thighs, split breast, gizzards, heart and liver.


Cooking Methods

Cut Braise Broil Deep Fry Grill Panfry Roast Stewing
Breast, Boneless x x   x x   x
Breast, Split x x x x x x x
Drumsticks x x x x   x x
Leg Quarters x x x x   x x
Thighs x x x x   x x
Whole       x   x  
Wings x x x x   x  


Boost the Flavor

  • Sauces: Doctor up any bottled BBQ sauce by adding one or more of these ingredients to taste: honey, brown sugar, hot sauce, orange juice, mustard, soy sauce, chili sauce or garlic.
  • Marinade: Give your food extra flavor by combining one bottle of Italian dressing and one clove chopped garlic (or lemon juice, to taste) in a large bowl. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag and add marinade. Refrigerate for two hours before cooking for optimal flavor.
  • Brine: Add moisture and flavor to chicken with a brine. In a large resealable plastic bag, dissolve ¼ cup salt and ½ cup sugar in 1 quart cold water. Add meat and refrigerate for 2 hours before cooking.
  • Dry rubs: Add flavor to rotisserie or grilled chicken. Rub chicken all over with a mixture of ground black or white pepper, paprika and garlic powder; blackened seasoning; or crushed basil, thyme or oregano.

When is Chicken Done?

  • Whole chicken, unstuffed: Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, but not near bone or fat. Done when reading is 180-185°F.
  • Whole chicken, stuffed: Insert meat thermometer into the center of the body cavity. Done when stuffing registers 160°F. (Note: Chicken should be stuffed just before roasting. Never stuff a chicken ahead of time.)
  • Whole chicken breasts: Done when meat thermometer reading is 170°F.
  • Chicken pieces, bone-in: Insert a fork in the chicken. It should go in easily and juices should run clear. However, the meat and juices nearest the bones might still be a little pink even though the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  • Chicken pieces, boneless: Cut into chicken with a knife. Done when center is no longer pink.

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