“Value Pack” Chicken Hindquarters, and what to do with them

value-chicken-hindquartersChef’s Tip: I often find these 10lb “value packs” of chicken hindquarters, under various brand names, for as low as .59 cents a pound at local grocery stores.

FYI…there’s nothing wrong with these cuts, they simply didn’t meet the weight standards of the producer for individual packaging, and are often from breeds raised to produce larger breast cuts, which means the rest of the chicken tends to be less robust.

The problem is that unless you cut away most of the skin and fat, thy tend to be greasy, the skin doesn’t crisp well, and they grill like they’ve been brined in napalm.

And, after all that, what little meat is on them is often stringy and tough.

That said…

Don’t turn your nose up at these “value” hindquarters, because what they do, they do exceptionally well. These cheap, fatty, stringing hen parts are the best ingredient for homemade chicken stocks and soups I’ve ever found! I buy a bag, individually vacuum-pack then them in pairs, and pop then in the freezer for my next 5-6 batches of stock.

As they say, the flavor’s in the fat, and if there’s one thing these babies have in spades, it’s fat!

Just thaw, rub generously with sea-salt and pepper, then roast until browned, and they’re ready for your favorite stock recipe. If you’re making soup or chowder with your stock, the meat, which will be falling off the bone tender, can be shredded and added as well. I’ve had great success with both corn chowder and chicken & dumplings, doing this.

BTW, if you don’t have a “favorite chicken stock recipe“, here’s mine.

Bonus: After straining and chilling, this stock will render twice as much schmaltz (hardened chicken fat) as stock done with the higher-priced stuff. Schmaltz has been used by Yiddish cooks for centuries for frying and other applications that would typically call for butter or lard. It makes for amazing scrambled eggs, as well!

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