Understanding Poultry and Game Birds |

Poultry is one of the most common types of meat consumed in the United States. It can be found on many dinner tables, including Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Game birds are also commonly eaten, but they don’t have to be hunted like poultry.

Poultry are domesticated birds that are raised for their meat, eggs, or feathers. Game birds are wild birds hunted for food.

Poultry products are excellent for all types of food service businesses, from fine restaurants to cafeterias and fast-food restaurants, due to their flexibility, popularity, and comparatively cheap cost. Chicken and turkey are also popular among dieters since they contain less fat and cholesterol than other meats.


Pheasant, for example, is becoming more popular and available due to the fact that many farmers are now raising them domestically. Farm-raised game birds are comparable to chicken in many respects, so knowing how to prepare and handle chicken will teach you a lot about managing these other birds as well.

In some respects, learning about chicken is simpler than learning about meats like beef and lamb. Chickens, turkeys, and other fowl are not chopped up as thoroughly since they are smaller.

However, poultry has its own set of cooking issues, so it’s essential to note both the parallels and distinctions between the two.


The meat of poultry and game birds, as well as cattle, lamb, veal, pig, and game, is muscular tissue. Its structure and content are almost identical to those of meat.

Keep in mind that muscular tissue is made up of

a body of water (about 75 percent)

Protein is a kind of food (about 20 percent)

a person who is overweight (up to 5 percent)

Other components, such as glucose, are present in tiny amounts.

Muscles are made up of muscle fibers kept together by connective tissue in bundles.



We know that connective tissue affects the softness of a piece of meat or poultry, and that connective tissue grows with age.

• Muscle use and/or exercise.

• The animal’s or bird’s maturity or age.

1. In poultry, use or exercise is less of a problem. Because most chicken is so young, it is quite sensitive all throughout. There are, however, certain distinctions between light and dark meat.

2. When choosing poultry, maturity is a key factor to consider. Dry-heat techniques, such as broiling, frying, and roasting, as well as moist-heat procedures, are used to cook young, delicate birds. To make older, harder birds appetizing, gradual, moist heat is required.

Each kind of fowl is classified based on its maturity. The color of the skin is influenced by the diet and has nothing to do with the taste or tenderness of the chicken.


The majority of hens on the market come from big companies that keep their chickens inside in highly regulated settings and give them precisely monitored diets. To satisfy the high demand, the industry uses this method to produce healthy chicks rapidly and in huge numbers. Because they are not permitted to roam around outside, many people believe that these chickens lack taste. In response, some farms provide free-range hens, which are permitted to roam freely and feed outside in a more natural setting.


It’s worth noting that there’s no legal definition of free-range hens, and that they’re much more costly than regular chickens. However, many people believe that free-range chickens are more delicious and thus worth the additional expense.

Because quality varies from producer to producer, thorough taste testing is required before deciding whether or not to buy free-range chicken for your business.

Organic, which has lately been defined by the USDA as food grown without the use of most conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or sewage sludge, biotechnology, or ionizing radiation, is a word linked to free-range.


Poultry does not have as many tiny slices as meats do. However, depending on the color of the flesh, chicken and turkey are generally believed to be made up of two types of portions. Other variations are reflected in these color differences:

Breast and wings are “light meat.”

Less fat

There is less connective tissue.

Cooks more quickly

Legs of “dark meat” (drumsticks and thighs)

More fat

There is more connective tissue.

Cooking time is longer.

Duck, geese, and squab all have dark meat, but the connective tissue differences are the same.

The protein myoglobin is responsible for the dark hue of dark meat. This protein helps muscles store oxygen for usage during times of high activity. Birds’ breast muscles are utilized for flight, and because chickens and turkeys seldom, if ever, fly, these muscles don’t need a lot of myoglobin.

The breast muscles of flying birds, such as ducks, contain more myoglobin and are therefore darker. In addition to being darker, active muscles contain more connective tissue.

When cooking chicken, the chef must keep these distinctions in mind.

Cooking entire birds is one of the first things that comes to mind.

Everyone has had the experience of eating dry chicken or turkey breast. In fact, since light meat cooks quicker than legs and is done first, it is often overdone. Furthermore, since the breast contains less fat than the legs, it cooks up considerably drier (or overcooked).

Cooking the legs to doneness without overcooking the breast is a significant challenge when roasting chicken. Chefs have developed a variety of methods to aid in the resolution of this issue. Here are a few examples.

• Part of the roasting time should be spent with the breast down. Gravity pulls fluids and fat towards the breast instead than away from it.

• Only use fat as a basting agent, not water or stock. Moisture takes away protective fat, which protects against dryness.

• Barding, or the application of a thin coating of pig fat on the breast. Usually, this is done with lean game birds.

• Roasting the breast and leg parts separately for a varied amount of time.

When it comes to big turkeys, this is a common practice.


2. Cooking portions of fowl.

Many recipes have been created specifically for chicken parts including wings, drumsticks, and boneless chicken breasts. The various cooking qualities of each component are taken into consideration in these recipes. Flattened boneless chicken breasts, for example, may be sautéed rapidly while remaining juicy and tender. When it comes to turkey wings,

Braised meat releases enough gelatin to aid in the creation of a thick sauce.

Many of these products, particularly boneless chicken breast, have a high consumer appeal and are offered in the most upscale restaurants.

Those that utilize entire birds that have been chopped up may simply be modified for particular portions. You might, for example, purchase entire chickens and braise the leg parts while reserving the breasts for future dishes.

Poultry is the term used to describe a bird that is kept by humans for its meat. The term game birds is typically used to refer to birds hunted for sport or food, while game animals are hunted solely for their meat. Reference: is chicken poultry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is poultry and game birds?

Poultry is a term for domesticated birds raised in captivity for their meat, milk, eggs and feathers. Game birds are wild birds that have been hunted to be eaten.

Are game birds considered poultry?

Game birds are not considered poultry, they are considered game.

What is the most important factor of a major consideration when selecting poultry?

The most important factor of a major consideration when selecting poultry is to ensure the birds are free from any diseases.

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Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.