As the Labor Day holiday approaches and National Chicken Month begins, we have some tips and recipes to help you on your path to becoming a grill master.
While you probably know that all chicken is inspected to make sure it is safe to consume, understanding grading and classes of chicken can help you choose the right type of chicken for grilling, broiling, or frying. Companies use grading services provided by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to ensure that their products have the level of quality consumers expect when they see our “Grade A” shield on the package.
Grading is provided by AMS employees who act as independent, third party representatives and are trained to recognize the traits of poultry products deserving the Grade A shield. AMS uses industry-accepted standards to verify that poultry products given this shield meet certain quality requirements. So, when you see our shield on a package of chicken, expect the meat to be plump and meaty, without any disjointed or broken bones.
Young birds are the class of chicken most commonly found in stores. They may be labeled as young chicken, Rock Cornish game hen, broiler, fryer, roaster or capon and have tender, plump meat. These chickens may be sold in common cuts like breasts, tenders or tenderloins, or sold as whole chickens. Boneless or bone-in, young birds are perfect for Labor Day grilling.
Mature birds are labeled as mature chicken, hen, fowl, baking chicken or stewing chicken. They are older than fryers with less tender meat that is perfect for baking and a chef’s preferred choice for soups, casseroles and the picnic classic: chicken salad. Mature birds are often sold whole.
Whether you plan on grilling or picnicking, AMS’s website offers information about buying quality poultry products. There is also more in-depth grading and class information available on our consumer page.
AMS also provides grading services for several other commodities so consumers can be assured they are purchasing quality products from their local stores.
But before you shop for chicken and plan your holiday menu, be sure to check out the National Chicken Council’s website celebrating National Chicken Month. They offer cutting tips and tricks, recipes, and coupons. Make up your own tasty recipe, or try one of these:
AMS wishes everyone a happy holiday and a tasty National Chicken Month. We hope your picnics and grilling days are safe, happy, and healthy.