I have a confession to make – as frugal as I am, I’ve never cooked a whole chicken before. I hate the though of touching raw chicken AT ALL and so I’ve always shopped around and found good prices on boneless/skinless chicken. No more though! I’ve purchased my first whole chicken and into the crockpot he’s going today. Felt good to get that off my chest
The responses to that wall post were wonderfully encouraging and so I pushed ahead and began (with gloved hands) to pull out the inners of the chicken, rinse him clean, stick him in the crockpot and sprinkle him with my favorite Pampered Chef Rosemary Herb Seasoning Mix. I also added 1/2 cup of water and 4 whole garlic cloves. For 6 long hours he cooked and simmered, the house smelled so very delicious! At one point I heard my 4 year old from upstairs say “Brother, do you smell that? Something smells really good!”
When it was time to pull him out, I set him on a cutting board to cool off so I could easily pull the meat off the bones without scorching myself. I had cooked my chicken well because he was falling off the bones, the process was simple and my tray was quickly filling up with tender meat. The possibilities were running through my mind of all the freezer meals I could make with this meat. I put the rest of the skin and bones back into the crockpot with another 1.5 cups of water to simmer on low for a couple of hours. My plan is to make chicken stock.
I began to divide the chicken up among freezer bags, 2 cups per bag. I was able to get 5 1/2 cups of meat and that felt pretty decent. That would make 2-3 casserole or enchilada meals, maybe even a salad or two. Then I got the idea to weigh my meat and what I found was shocking. I must be missing something crucial here.
I paid $0.98/lb for the whole chicken at Walmart, from what I know this is a decent price. It was almost a 5lb chicken so I paid just under $5.00. But guess what? That 5lb chicken only netted me 1.78lbs of meat – the rest was just skin and bones! So in the end I paid $2.78 per pound – OUCH! Did I do something wrong? How could this be a more “frugal” way to go about cooking and eating chicken?
I’ve often been able to get boneless/skinless chicken breast for $1.50 – $1.99 per pound. Of course when it’s $1.50/lb I stock up! So tell me what am I missing or have I uncovered a frugal myth here – is it possible whole chickens are NOT cheaper than their boneless/skinless nemesis.
Of course the math-minded Mr. Frugal just pointed out the fact that 5lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breast would cook down as well – so maybe that’s the key. I plan to test this soon and get back to you! For now, we have some very tasty meat to devour.
You can check out the final results here – Whole Chicken vs. Chicken Breast Experiment Results