Poultry info

What is an “air-cooled” chicken or turkey?  What do chickens eat? Are chickens fed with hormones?

What is an “air-cooled” chicken or turkey?

Once they are slaughtered, poultry must be chilled quickly. There are two methods to accomplish this: air cooling in a refrigerated room and water chilling in a basin filled with ice water. Air-cooled birds contain less water and shrink less when cooked. Some people also find them more tasty.

What do chickens eat?
Chickens are fed a diet made up in large part (88%) of grains and cereal by-products. So you can say that all chickens are “grain fed”. Vitamins and minerals are added to ward off nutritional deficiencies.

Are chickens fed hormones?
Chicken feed contains no hormones. Administering hormones to chicken in any form has been restricted in Canada since the 1960s.

From egg to chick
Eggs hatch 21 days after being laid. The same day, we transfer the chick from the hatchery to the chicken coop.

That means chicks are raised free (and not caged) in a clean and well-ventilated space where the temperature and humidity are controlled. They can eat and drink as much as they want and move around at will on a floor covered with straw or soft, dry wood chips.

Growing a chicken to under 2 kg (4.4 lb) takes about 40 days on average.

Thawing

Choose between 2 thawing methods, in the refrigerator or using cold water. That’s right. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature!

  • Refrigerator thawing
    Take your chicken or turkey out of the freezer keeping in mind you’ll need 10 hours per kilo or 5 hours per pound for complete thawing. Place the bird on a platter and then on a lower fridge shelf, keeping it in its protective packaging to avoid any contamination.
  • Cold water thawing
    Place the still-wrapped chicken or turkey in a large pot and cover with cold water, which you’ll need to change every hour. You’ll need 2 hours per kilo or 1 hour per pound. Note: Once thawed, the bird will keep refrigerated for 48 hours, not more.

Cooking


If you find the method described below surprising, the results will be even more so!

Take your fresh or thawed chicken or turkey and place it in a roasting pan. Season evenly all over, including inside the cavity. WITHOUT COVERING let the bird rest overnight in the fridge. This step helps to dry out the skin, which will crisp up beautifully when roasted.

  1. Remove your chicken or turkey about 1 hour prior to cooking to bring it to room temperature. An unrefrigerated bird will take less time to cook and cooks more evenly.
  2. Transfer your chicken or turkey to a roasting pan fitted with a rack so the heat can circulate freely all around the bird. Baste generously with your choice of butter, oil or mustard butter and herbs, whichever you prefer.
  3. Roast at high heat (200°C/400°F) for the first 20 minutes, then at 180°C (350°F) for the remaining time. Get yourself a meat thermometer, you won’t regret it! That way, you’ll remove your bird from the oven when it has reached the correct internal temperature, not according to some cooking time that may vary greatly from oven to oven. Your chicken or turkey is cooked when the meat thermometer, inserted in the thigh far from the bone, reads 80°C (176°F).
    Note: If your chicken or turkey is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
  4. After removing the bird from the oven, tent it loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest a few minutes for a chicken and 30 minutes to 1 hour for a turkey. This allows the juices to redistribute themselves evenly throughout the bird. Finally, serve with pride.