Size Your Thanksgiving “Just Right” With Chicken
With Thanksgiving just under one week away, we’re all counting down toward the day of belt-loosening (just a notch) and carb overload. No matter the side dishes served, most of us will feature a golden-brown bird on the center of our dinner plates and tables. Poultry, when cooked just right, is a beautiful, sensory experience. Though Pure Prairie Poultry is a chicken company, we must admit that turkey looks pretty good, too. Like chicken, it also smells delicious, and the taste is well worth the wait.
However, the Price is Not Right
Along with Thanksgiving dinner this year comes a not-so-healthy serving of inflationary reality. For those of us who may also have smaller gatherings planned, this could leave many feeling a little like Goldilocks, or one of the three bears, when shopping for our Thanksgiving birds. With most turkeys weighing from 12 to 24 pounds, we might find ourselves thinking:
“This turkey is too small!”
“This turkey is too big!”
“This turkey is too expensive!”
“Someone’s been eating the turkey, and they ate it all up!”
With the United States Department of Agriculture predicting fewer turkeys in meat cases this Thanksgiving season, turkey prices are surging. While turkey is still less expensive than beef and pork, there’s one clear winner that’s got them all beat: CHICKEN, which has experienced a 1.3 percent price drop in the last month. While it might be considered blasphemy to serve a casserole instead of turkey, switching to another type of bird (chicken!) deserves serious consideration.
Easy Does It
In addition to being less expensive than turkey this year, chicken also checks an amazing number of boxes for the home cook:
- Cooks don’t have to calculate the number of hours to thaw an enormous turkey.
- Its smaller size makes it easier to handle.
- It’s just as easy to fill with your family’s favorite stuffing recipe.
- Because it cooks faster, no one needs to get up with the roosters to cook a turkey for a noontime feast. A whole chicken roasts in just 45 to 60 minutes!
- Chicken servings easily flex for the size of crowd. When cooking one, two, or even three chickens in a roaster, there’s still plenty of extra room in the oven for sweet potatoes and dinner rolls.
- One whole chicken serves four, two serve eight, and three serve 12, with drumsticks for everyone and plenty of leftovers.
Chicken Tastes Better
Even our mothers will tell us chicken tastes better than turkey. Here’s why:
- While turkey has a “unique” flavor, chicken is revered for its neutral flavor, which eagerly takes-on our favorite seasonings.
- The ratio of skin to meat on a chicken is also better than that of a turkey. A relatively smaller chicken has more crispy, brown, beautiful skin for every bite of meat.
- A whole chicken cooks more evenly than turkey. Typically, the pitfall of turkey is that the breast dries out by the time it takes for thighs to fully cook.
Yes, Drama Can Be Had on a Smaller Scale
The mindset that chicken is too “every day” for a special occasion isn’t fair. Everyday chicken is boneless, skinless breasts or chicken tenders. How often does the everyday cook roast a whole, dressed-up and stuffed chicken?
A cook can absolutely stay traditional with chicken (butter, salt, and pepper), but a little creativity goes a long way. Consider roasting chicken with heads of garlic and lemon halves, or make it smolder with a rub of smoked paprika, dried sage, cumin, and Serrano Chile pepper. If cooking two chickens, why not make one of each?
With Chicken, Thanksgiving Fairytales Can Come True
We hope you’ll agree that chicken for Thanksgiving is a clear winner for many reasons, including being America’s favorite protein year-round. With Americans consuming more than 90 pounds, per capita, each year, it’s a bird we already love. For just the right size, at just the right price, in just the right time, chicken truly makes Thanksgiving easier and more affordable. Which leaves more time for visiting and the fun stuff.
Feeling chicken? Don’t forget to show us your Thanksgiving Chicken creations by sharing a photo on Pure Prairie Poultry Facebook Community. When chicken takes center stage, even for picky Goldilocks and the bears around the table, everyone can live happily ever after.