Approximate Chicken Cooking Times Chart

Food Safety While Hiking, Camping & Boating
Chicken from Farm to Table
W
hat’s for dinner tonight? There’s a good chance it’s chicken — now the number one species consumed by
Americans. Interest in the safe handling and cooking of chicken is reflected in the thousands of calls to the
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. The following information answers many of the questions these callers have asked
about chicken.
History & Definitions
Chicken Inspection
USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHotline
(1-888-674-6854)
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency
in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the na-
tion’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, whole-
some, and correctly labeled and packaged.
Food Safety Information
United States Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service
PhotoDisc
The chicken is a descendant of the Southeast Asian red jungle fowl first
domesticated in India around 2000 B.C. Most of the birds raised for meat in
America today are from the Cornish (a British breed) and the White Rock (a
breed developed in New England). Broiler-fryers, roasters, stewing/baking
hens, capons and Rock Cornish hens are all chickens. The following are
definitions for these:
Broiler-fryer - a young, tender chicken about 7 weeks old; weighs 2
1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds when eviscerated. Cook by any method.
Rock Cornish Game Hen - a small broiler-fryer; weighs between 1 and
2 pounds. Usually stuffed and roasted whole.
Roaster - a young chicken between 8 and 12 weeks of age with a
ready-to-cook carcass weight of 5 pounds or more. It yields more
meat per pound than a broiler-fryer. Usually roasted whole.
Capon - male chickens about 16 weeks to 8 months old; surgically
unsexed. They weigh about 4 to 7 pounds and have generous
quantities of tender, light meat. Usually roasted.
Stewing/Baking Hen - a mature laying hen 10 months to 1 1/2 years
old. Since the meat is less tender than young chickens, it’s best when
used in moist cooking such as stewing.
Cock or rooster - a mature male chicken with coarse skin and tough,
dark meat. Requires long, moist cooking.
All chickens found in retail stores are either inspected by USDA or
by State systems which have standards equivalent to the Federal
government. Each chicken and its internal organs are inspected for
signs of disease. The “Inspected for wholesomeness by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture” seal ensures the chicken is free from
visible signs of disease.
Inspection is mandatory but grading is voluntary. Chickens are
graded according to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s
regulations and standards for meatiness, appearance and freedom
from defects. Grade A chickens have plump, meaty bodies and clean
skin, free of bruises, broken bones, feathers, cuts and discoloration.
Chicken Grading
Page 1/8
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Approximate Chicken Cooking Times Chart PDF

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