know your poultry

Poultry is the umbrella term that encompasses chicken, turkey, duck, goose and other traditional game birds like pheasant, quail and pigeon. Lower in fat, poultry is a good source of protein, and because it responds well to all types of preparations, it yields so much variety on the palate.

Poultry, and particularly chicken, is generally sold either whole or in parts – the wings, drumsticks, thighs (sometimes cut as whole legs), and breast meat.


A whole bird gives about as simple and delicious a meal as one could want, great for easy entertaining and a host of left over possibilities. You can season anyway you want, keeping the skin on to retain moisture, use a dry rub or marinade, or stuff with your favourite ingredients.


The wings are all white meat that are composed of the drumette, mid-section and tip. Often the tips are cut off and the drumette and mid-section sold separately. Chicken wings are a favourite finger food specialty, grilled, barbecued or fried.

whole chicken leg (thigh & drumstick)

Whole chicken leg is the drumstick and thigh combination which is cut from the walking muscle. Whole chicken leg can be fried, baked, grilled, fricasseed, stewed, or really any other cooking method.


The meatiest part of the bird, the breast comes from the flight muscles on the chest. Because it is off the bone, the breast is best cooked by fast cooking methods which retain the moist tenderness of the meat.

* A note about white meat and dark meat:

Birds that don’t or rarely fly, like chicken and turkey, tend to have more white meat, whereas heavily exercised birds, such as ducks, geese and doves, have fattier muscle that carries more oxygen and are therefore darker more flavourful meat.

below are types of poultry


The most widely domesticated bird the world over, chicken features in the cuisine of many cultures, and perhaps that is why it is so versatile.   Raised for eggs as well as its meat, every part of the chicken is used, from the wings to the offal.   Low cost and multi-faceted, chicken is a fail-safe item on any menu, lending itself to frying, stewing, roasting, barbecuing.  The options are endless.  Marinade in any assortment of herb and spice groupings, from  the curries of Asia to the herbs of Provence and enjoy how chicken constantly reinvents itself.  


Originally of the Americas, the turkey was only introduced to Europe in the 16thCentury by the Spanish.  We tend to associate turkey with festive occasions, particularly the North American Thanksgiving and Christmas, but increasingly turkey has made an appearance all year round. It is an economical bird because it is so large, and intensive farming has made it relatively inexpensive.  The joy of turkey is how one bird can make multiple culinary appearances from the main roast to the sandwiches the day after to the soup the day after that.  Turkey is also enjoyed minced as a lean alternative to beef in dishes like lasagne and spaghetti, and can be found as cold cuts in delicatessens.  


This aquatic bird has been elevated in the cuisine of the French, particularly because its dark meat is so flavourful.  Primarily it is the legs and breast that are consumed, darker cuts than from chicken or turkey.