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The whole chicken includes and average 4 pound bird, Whole Foods brand, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil (at 22c per tbsp) in December 2015. Percentages are yields after cooking, found by using gram weight listed at NutritionFacts/Cronometer.com to assure recognized, measurable averages and estimating water loss based on comparing raw and cooked weights. Prices are in USD.

The first section assumes the whole chicken is broken down and only the desired parts are used. Price per ounce was determined by: 1) Taking the percent of cooked weight from 1 pound of raw weight to find the resulting cooked ounces. 2) Dividing the whole price by the number of ounces. The price per ounce was multiplied by 16 oz/pound to find the price of a pound of the intended item after cooking.

The second section assumes the whole chicken is consumed or used in some way, including the carcass. These prices were found using a simple percent of the whole edible weight then following the above formula. The carcass is only included in this section.

whole chicken price/pound: 3.105

cooked, meat, skin, and bone = 75% = 12 oz

1 oz = .26

16 oz = 4.14

1 whole chicken = 48 oz = 12.42 (actual starting cost)

meat and skin = 45% = 7.2 oz

1 oz = .43

16 oz = 6.90

yeild from 1 whole chicken = 60% = 28.8 oz = 7.45

1 oz = .26

16 oz = 4.14

serving (1/6) = 4.8 oz = 1.25

meat only = 38% = 6.08 oz

1 oz = .51

16 oz = 8.17

1 cup = 4.94 oz = 2.52

yeild from 1 whole chicken = 50% = 24 oz = 6.21

1 oz = .26

16 oz = 4.14

1 cup = 4.94 oz = 1.28

carcass = ~ 40% cooked = 19.2 oz = 4.97

skin = ~ 10% cooked = 4.8 oz = 1.24

"loss" = evaporated water and left over fat and drippings

drippings = "free"

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Wow, what a good idea! I truthfully, don't want to do the math, however... so, is buying a whole chicken cost less than buying only chicken meat? I don't see a conclusion summary...

That all depends on the cut and price of the meat you're buying. For example, breast meat runs $6.99, less than the cost of buying a whole bird and discarding the bones and skin ($8.17). However, if you do something with the carcass, that helps to spread the cost around because less poundage is discarded as waste. That drops the price by almost half to $4.16.

Thighs cost 3.99, drums even less, but then you have the bone deal with again. It takes maybe twenty seconds to carve out a chicken breast, less to cut off a thigh quarter, so even if you're only using the breast meat today, why not keep those thighs for another meal and throw the carcass in a slow cooker. It takes all of a few minutes and saves $4-5 (the cost of yet another meal), and you net stock.

Will I never buy boneless skinless breasts? Of course I will, but only after I've run out of room in my freezer for stock. If that's your thing though, and you have the money to burn, chicken breasts are a better deal than throwing away the unused portion.

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I highly recommend buying whole chickens and making broth or stock.  Stewing hens are great and cheaper than regular chickens. Put two in a stock pot, bring to boil, skim off the goop from the top, and simmer overnight. Then take all that yummy chicken off of the bones, eat/store for soup, return the bones to the pot, and add salt, pepper, a little vinegar, and whatever vegetables you want for flavor. Simmer for another few hours, remove bones, eat vegetables, and store the broth.

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