Everything You Need to Know When Shopping for Chicken

published Apr 23, 2018
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If only buying chicken were as simple as picking out a pack, paying for it, and heading on your merry way. That’s not to say it’s super complicated (it’s really not!) — it’s just there are a few things you should know before you head to the store.

These insider-y tips will make sure your shopping trip, meal prep, and dinner are the clucking best.

1. The grocery store butcher can hep you.

More often than not, your grocery store butcher will be more than happy to help you. Don’t see what you need in the meat cases? Ask him! Wondering if he can cut those chicken tenders up into strips? Ask him!

2. Some buys are smarter than others.

Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s cheaper to buy a whole chicken and break it down yourself than it is to buy the pieces? That’s not exactly true these days. We have the numbers to prove it. We also have tips for picking out the best pack from case.

3. You’ve gotta be careful getting it home.

Raw chicken, and the juice it produces, can harbor bacteria like mpylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens, which can cause uncomfortable foodborne illnesses (and, in rare cases, death). All that’s to say you’re going to want to be careful when handling the packages.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4. And there are some things you can/should do once you get it home.

The sooner you can put your chicken in the fridge or freezer, the better. Meaning, don’t let it sit in your car or on your counter while you unpack less timely things like peanut butter and cereal. Put it in the smartest spot in your fridge and even consider doing some things (like portioning it out) to make your life easier later.

5. Most importantly, you’ve gotta be smart about it.

Again, chicken can harbor icky bacteria that can make you sick, so you’ve gotta use your noggin. These stories can help you be as smart as possible.