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dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw8g19v wrote

SOURCE: I bought chicken and baked it in the oven. I recorded weights using a kitchen scale at every step of the process, including weighing and saving grease from the pan, and weighing bones after eating. All percentages are [portion] ÷ [starting weight]

TOOLS: Microsoft Excel

Water in package - there is an absorbent pad (diaper?) in the bottom of the packing, which was 7% of the weight that was advertised.

Trimmed fat and Recovered fat - Removed and discarded some fat prior to cooking, left some in pan. I weighed the mass of the trimmed fat, and after cooking, the fat/grease in the pan was recovered into a mason jar and for future cooking and weighed. The total weight of trimmed and recovered fat was 12%.

Evaporated water - The difference of the raw weight + grease and cooked weight + grease. This ended up being 23% of the total weight.

Bones and inedible content - I ate the meat and weighed the bones and inedible content after. "Inedible content" includes tendon. This is 14% of the total weight.

Edible meat and skin - cooked weight (without grease) minus the bones. The weight of skin wasn't separated from the meat, but its was cooked well and crispy, so it didn't weigh much. Edible content was 45% of the total weight.


This experiment was done in 2 trials (different meals) from the same single package. The weights of evaporated water, meat, and bones varied by 10%-15% between the trials. This depends on the size of the quarters and how the bird is split.

The evaporated content will vary based on how you cook chicken. I used an oven, so there was plenty of evaporation. If you used a crock pot for soup/stew, you wouldn't lose much to evaporation, and it would become juices in the soup/stew.

Evaporation will also vary based on how long you cook the chicken, temperature, size of bird. In theory, you could evaporate all the water have very little mass of meat remaining. My result after cooking was a delicious piece of chicken, not too dry, so I will say that I cooked it "enough" and 20%-25% evaporated weight seems appropriate for nicely cooked chicken.


ben_db t1_iw8kfg7 wrote

> which was 7% of the weight that was advertised

That's way more than I expected


_mynd t1_iw8tq4f wrote

Sounds about right. Noticed this one of my first trips to SAMs Club. Got a huge package of boneless skinless breasts, came home to separate into freezer bags, and used a kitchen scale to split up evenly. Think there was a good pound, iirc, of water in the package (diaper).


LunDeus t1_iwamu9q wrote

Yet another reason costco is superior. No diaper.


Blueskys643 t1_iwaoln9 wrote

Costco uses diapers in their cut meat likes steaks and roasts. The chicken is prepackaged. Also its still the same amount of water in the package and one of those diapers dry weighs next to nothing.


Atlas-Scrubbed t1_iw9w74u wrote

Package weight is NOT supposed to be part purchase weight. If your grocery is doing that, report them for fraud.


EntertainMeMthrfckr t1_iwa0wwz wrote

The diaper isn't part of the weight. The meat is weighed, then packaged, then liquid is absorbed by the diaper. The liquid in the diaper is what they're referring to.


IrocDewclaw t1_iwa5e1m wrote

Agreed. At store I managed, chicken was weighed before packaging and the price reflected only the product wieght not the packaging.

If anything, the pad's weight equals the loss weight of the meat.

If they are packaging the chicken then setting the price by weight of the whole unit, they are committing fraud.


dml997 t1_iw95x5y wrote

Great analysis u/dreaming-in-colour

since you spell it "colour" I guess you're not american? (like me too)


APIPAMinusOneHundred t1_iwakq6z wrote

I regularly bake chicken thighs so that the kids and I have something that's both quick and relatively healthy. I'm annoyed to no end by how much of the weight is obviously water injected into the meat to plump it up and make it weigh more.


phryan t1_iwan5q7 wrote

Make broth or stock from anything inedible.


StringTheory31 t1_iwjzt5t wrote

So all of the individual weights added up to the advertised total weight, indicating the seller labels these according to what they weigh after they are packaged instead of weighing the meat by itself before packaging? I'd always assumed it was the other way around, based on how cooked meat purchased from the grocery store deli is weighed!

Thank you for data that is not only beautiful, but useful!


Nmaka t1_iw9n0tb wrote

i know when i worked at a grocery store, we didnt zero out the package weight, so you should include that too in the weight you pay for


marfaxa t1_iw9st8f wrote

Every package I've seen has a tared weight on the label. My state has a Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. I'd alert them if I knew the store wasn't taring the container weight.


Nmaka t1_iwagth7 wrote

shruggie it was a while ago and im not american. idk if im remembering right or of the store still does ot that way


DropoutBrewing t1_iwacgm8 wrote

Tare weight can be automatically programmed into a store's labeling system.


HarryMcDowell t1_iw9bw88 wrote

>Water in package - there is an absorbent pad (diaper?) in the bottom ofthe packing, which was 7% of the weight that was advertised.

This sounds like a false, misleading, or deceptive trade practice. Any of which is a violation of the FTC Act and the consumer protection laws of every State and Territory in the United States.

You should report this to each of the following: a local consumer advocacy attorney, your jurisdicition's Attorney General's Office, and the FTC.

I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. This post doesn't create an attorney-client relationship, and nothing I've written here should be relied upon as legal advice. Each of the organizations I've linked will be able to tell you if there is, in fact, a case here.


centizen24 t1_iw9exf6 wrote

But the pad weighs that much because it absorbed liquid that came out of the chicken. It's not some grand conspiracy.


pug_subterfuge t1_iw9fjb5 wrote

How is it misleading? They packaged the chicken at the listed weight and some of the moisture in the chicken seeped into the packaging.


showponyoxidation t1_iw9k5pv wrote

Yeah, imagine buying chicken and not expecting moisture. It's not Turkey.


Intelligent_Moose_48 t1_iw9n7gz wrote

Turkey is only dry because people waaaaay overcook it and don’t use meat thermometers. Don’t go over 165F internal and it’ll be nice and juicy.


ul2006kevinb t1_iwa8ier wrote

The fact that a lot of the country is desert doesn't help either


Half-a-Fork t1_iw95e9z wrote

>2 trials from the same single package

Not a large enough sample and it would break the assumption of independence of observations were we to run any tests against this data


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw96cq1 wrote

If you can find any better analysis than this on the internet, please provide a link. I did this study because I couldn't find answers to my questions.


Guacanagariz t1_iw94ak1 wrote

Another reason why Costco $5.00 rotisserie chicken is great value


OnionLegend t1_iw9693s wrote

Is the weight of the chicken excluding the liquid inside the container and the container weight itself?


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw97bdf wrote

all weights are expressed as the fraction of the starting or "advertised" weight. the chart adds up to 100% of the starting weight. I thought about trying some other analysis but this seemed like it was the most straightforward


Craygor t1_iwca7z1 wrote

Rotisserie chicken are awesome, but if someone is struggling and is trying to get the most calories from their food, rotisserie is a poor substitute to cooking the bird in a covered dish. The fats that drip of a rotisserie chicken is going to waste and there's a lot calories in chicken fat.


gitty7456 t1_iwcg5mw wrote

In the first world (Costco), hardly anyone really wants to maximize calories intake.


Vancouwer t1_iwalyc2 wrote

From a cost perspective, any pre cooked chicken should be cheaper than raw chicken. Eating out and ordering a chicken dish doesn't seem as bad now lol


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iwam8hl wrote

This was $1.19 per lb of raw chicken, which is equivalent to about $3 per lb of cooked chicken


Vancouwer t1_iwamzuz wrote

Ah interesting, cooked chicken is cheaper where I am


ghostoutlaw t1_iw90gli wrote

Did I read a headline recently that said chicken producers were injecting water into the chicken parts to inflate their weight and get them to sell for more?


notwalkinghere t1_iw92602 wrote

There's a lot of chicken on the shelves with added brine (salt water) to make it plump/add weight.


ghostoutlaw t1_iw92txc wrote

Is there any other benefit here aside from weight? Sanitation, longevity, anything?


notwalkinghere t1_iw978g9 wrote

The USDA says that the practice "add(s) flavor and moisture" and "The solutions are required by regulations and policies to be identified as part of the product names of the enhanced products" but you can be sure that the labels are made to be busy to obscure that solution has been added.


ghostoutlaw t1_iw97k8e wrote

Kinda almost makes sense.

Does this affect Costco boneless skinless chicken breast?

It shouldn’t but I wouldn’t doubt it.


adamh789 t1_iwa2t8x wrote

As someone who works in the costco meat department, I honestly don't know the answer to your question BUT for what it's worth, costco raises their own chicken and ever since the shortages on meat started, we've had to bring in chicken from other suppliers just to keep up with demand.

Costco chicken breasts has 9 vacuum sealed packages in a single box whereas the other brand just has a bunch of chicken breasts in a bag in a box. We have to put this chicken in styrofoam trays and wrap it and whenever we do, it really grosses me out how there's dozens of breasts just sitting in the big bag of chicken brine. And even after letting it drain out, the trays will still get full of chicken brine and leak all over the place after sitting for a few hours. I genuinely don't understand how that much fluid can sit in just a few chicken breasts but always buy Kirkland brand whenever you can.

When it comes to meats, costco brand is gona be the best quality for the best price


ghostoutlaw t1_iwada13 wrote

I buy the ones that come in 6 vacuum packed bags of ~2 breasts. Not sure if this changes your answer. No styrofoam anywhere.


Niro5 t1_iwa2zzg wrote

Costco sells air-chilled chicken, which has the lowest moisture content.


halibfrisk t1_iwa4onl wrote

I’m curious which Costco chicken products are air chilled? The 6 portion packages from the chest coolers seem to contain a lot of liquid.


Viend t1_iwfhhwj wrote

They'll say "Air Chilled" in a very clear label if they are, and they'll be more expensive than the regular stuff.


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw94f1a wrote

Brine for flavor? And I suspect its maybe a preservative


ghostoutlaw t1_iw952vj wrote

Prolly how they get away with it so they don’t get called for literally holding their finger on the scale as we pay for it


EVEngineer t1_iw97xll wrote

Yes actually. The cooling process after butchering either takes place in air or water, and is much faster and cheaper in water.

Where I live we can buy more expenses air chilled chicken.


Burnrate t1_iwbtphq wrote

They do, and there is a legal limit for it as well so it's a legalized kind of crime, just like bribing politicians


CJs_goldfish t1_iw8rnqf wrote

Crazy coincidence: Yesterday I bought about 5 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts because they were on sale and we cooked them in an instant pot and shredded them for quick additions to salads, wraps, etc. My partner portioned out the finished product using a kitchen scale and was absolutely galled that it lost about half the weight in water.


Beansilluminate t1_iw92mqf wrote

That’s going to be the case for any meat you cook tho.

Nobody sells meat as “cooked weight”. It’s all relative


Guacanagariz t1_iw946w5 wrote

Costco with their $5.00 rotisserie chicken has entered the chat


gingerofthenorth t1_iw9c580 wrote

They sell the leftover chicken meat in vacuum packs for like $7+lb. Less of a good deal but the fresh ones are a loss leader to get you in and buying other products.


calciphus t1_iwai17o wrote

I heard from a friend who works for a grocery store it's not actually a loss leader, it's loss prevention. When chicken is at the end of its sellable life you cook it and can sell it for several more days. Basically before that they were throwing away unsold chicken. It's less wasteful, people eat it, and the cost of production is negligible relative to paying to dispose of it.

Can't vouch for accuracy, but that's what I'd heard


alwaysuseswrongyour t1_iwaj9cm wrote

Costco sells way too many rotisserie chickens and way to little whole chicken for this to be true. It also costs a lot to be using those massive ovens all day to cook them. There is simply zero way they are making money on that chicken.


calciphus t1_iwakazv wrote

You make a very good point. I am suspicious of my friend's claims now.


Hoodstompa t1_iwbn4dh wrote

Yeah that’s not the case for Costco whatsoever. We do harvest the chicken meat from cooked birds that don’t sell, but the chicken we get for rotisserie is ENTIRELY separate from what we offer to the member as raw product. We sell upwards of 300 a day, and I work at a fairly slow store. The vacuum sealed cooked packs come from our suppliers, and is never cooked or processed in house as well. That may be the case for other groceries, but not Costco.


calciphus t1_iwcb8tr wrote

This is super informative, thanks for sharing!


thiney49 t1_iw9w4l5 wrote

Yeah but that's not sold by the pound. It's just sold by magic.


CJs_goldfish t1_iwbmnhx wrote

“Cooked weight” made me chuckle, can you imagine? It makes sense, i’d just never really thought about liquid release as a ratio before.


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw95km6 wrote

I used an oven, so I had evaporation. Did you have a big puddle of water and fat in the pot? I'm curious about doing this with breast or other boneless cuts.


Naive-Kangaroo3031 t1_iw99dfv wrote

Please do. This was very informative, and I'm curious on how the bones would affect the edible yield


CJs_goldfish t1_iwbmg0n wrote

Yes, it’s hard to say how much because we cooked it with broth, but there was quite a bit.


Fausterion18 t1_iwaj5wn wrote

This is literally basic biology, water is three quarters of muscle mass. You're buying raw meat, not beef jerky.


cannondave t1_iw99pj2 wrote

In Europe (Sweden), they inject water into chicken to inflate the weight and price. They aren't allowed to do it normally, so they put salt in the water and call it "marinade" - that way they sell it as tendered chicken, or marinated chicken. It's hard to find chicken which is not 80% chicken and 20% added water. If it's deep frozen, you need to thaw it and throw the water away - if you put the chicken parts frozen into a container and into the oven, it will become soup and boil instead of grilled.


[deleted] t1_iwbuyqq wrote



cannondave t1_iwc95rw wrote

In Europe we have common laws for food regulation, and then we have national laws regulating food as well. Just like in the US you have federal and state. It's literally like writing "In the US (California) stuff works like this and that". A california resident might not know exactly what laws are federal and what are state, but they are applicable just the same. It's just like here in the EU (Sweden).


[deleted] t1_iwcdkbo wrote



cannondave t1_iwea333 wrote

You're right, I'm glad you were intelligent enough to understand I meant the EU. But also unintelligent enough to waste everyone's time arguing about it.


CckSkker t1_iweav4g wrote

>"Perhaps the EU."

He meant the EU boomer


CalypsoTheKitty t1_iw8ilvm wrote

How did you account for the tendony pieces in the legs, was that part of the "bones"?


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw95ubg wrote

I've updated the notes but not the image to indicate "bones + inedible content". Yeah, the tendons and joints were included in the bone weight. I'd like to think I did a good job cleaning the bones but there's some gray areas on what is/isn't meat/edible.


adsfew t1_iw90iz6 wrote

Captain Holt, what comprised 13% of the weight?


AccidentallyUpvotes t1_iwadsu2 wrote

There's a few comments on here surprised by the amount of water in the chicken... Why is this shocking? Isn't the human body something like 70% water?

Don't overcook your chicken, people. You want the water!


Brzwolf t1_iwbcia5 wrote

Flash backs to my dad who's chicken was practical jerky by the time he was done with it


lapsangsouchogn t1_iw8i3lx wrote

Nice! I've often wondered how much usable meat I get from packages like these.


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw960v3 wrote

That's why I did this - couldn't find any info on the web. This is a good ballpark estimate of raw vs edible weights but I'm sure its all different for chicken wings or pork chops etc.


OnionLegend t1_iw95g76 wrote

70% including meat, bones, and fat which can be used as ingredients. (45+2+10+13)

Almost 1/3 of the weight gone/evaporated as water :(


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw96nkl wrote

The bones are a loss. I'm not going to make marrow or broth or soup, so I consider that mass to be wasted. I kept the fat and grease but I'm not really sure how best to use it in my other cooking. It certainly isn't healthy in regards to saturated fat.


Professional_Map_622 t1_iw9o6nw wrote

Pie charts aren't that useful for comparing data with more than like 3 parts. Your eyes don't distinguish and compare sizes very well.


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw9qiie wrote

Any suggestions for alternatives? It seemed to make sense because I am reporting percentages that add up to 100%.


Rip_in_Peppa_Pig t1_iwa78on wrote

You can replace the pie chart with a bar chart and it will be an improvement (might not be a good option but its pretty much always better than the pie chart).

Human eyes aren't that good at viewing certain stuff. They suck at comparing colours/shades/areas, lengths with different starting points, and a bunch of other stuff.

Pie charts basically use most of the aspects that we suck at viewing.


TheLordSaves t1_iw9y5le wrote

Few categories, totalling 100%, one of the few legit uses of this chart.


_AlreadyTaken_ t1_iw9u310 wrote

Use the bones and trimmings for broth.


danpaq t1_iwa8fox wrote

pie charts are not beautiful, but this data is.


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iwac9a8 wrote

I feel similarly. There's something un-sexy about the default excel colors


Fun-Eagle-7947 t1_iw9zg9t wrote

Same here, chicken swimming in water. Do the inject it or what?!!!


cmull123 t1_iwa2e7w wrote

When I buy chicken from my local supermarket, I get about these same results (estimated). But when I buy chicken from my local farm market (not exactly farmers market, they’re open every day, but not supermarket) and the chicken parts are far larger and retain way way way more of their size during cooking.


rosebudlightsaber t1_iwb0ij1 wrote

This is why I eat all of my chicken raw, with bone. The bone gives it texture. Ain’t NOBODY gonna rip me off!


eulynn34 t1_iw99f2x wrote

Almost half edible meat is better than I thought.


visitprattville t1_iw9erd1 wrote

I could be worse. You could have been born a chicken.


personofinterest18 t1_iw9khyg wrote

It bothers me the percentages aren’t in order from largest to smallest


snakesoup88 t1_iw9mc3u wrote

One can put some liquid weight back with brine. In the end, it's the macro nutrients (eg. grams of protein) that matters. That said, I'm curious if brining the chicken before cooking will improve on both weight and juiciness of the chicken.


deanall t1_iwa1d60 wrote

Did you make schmaltz and gibbons?


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iwa4rjo wrote

I scooped the melted fat into a jar - isn't that schmaltz? What are gibbons? Do you mean giblets? Giblets weren't included in the chicken quarters.


deanall t1_iwa9avi wrote

Take the raw fat, cut into small pieces, chop a small onion or apple, or not, and fry on low stirring constantly on the stove top until fat renders and remaining skin is crisp and golden brown. Strain fat for cooking, salt skin and eat on salad or just a snack. Kids love it, just tell them what it is after they taste it.

Like kosher bacon.


Jebusfreek666 t1_iwba148 wrote

I just like picturing yelling at my kids to make sure they finished all the meat, and not to throw away the bones until I have weighed them.


Craygor t1_iwc8p5n wrote

Almost 60% of the bird was available for calorie consumption (meat, cooked fat, trimmed fat). Not too bad, actually.

To get the most amount of calories per pound from a whole chicken, baked it in a covered dish/Dutch oven.


Rocky_Mountain_Way t1_iwcgezo wrote

Personally, I would also like to see chicken skin broken out as its own category in the chart too. I cut that off and fry it separately ... yeah, it's delish!


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iwd5u3r wrote

Raw skin might be informative, but cooked skin would be basically 0% because its so lightweight and crispy when its done baking.


sickmission t1_iwcl1bi wrote

The recovered fat is the real gold here. Same with saved and rendered fat trimmings from other cuts of meat. Go price that stuff for sale in a jar. That fat cap you trimmed down off your brisket just got you a $15 jar of beef tallow.


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iwd60j0 wrote

What would you do with the rendered fat? I was going to throw it in soup because I don't cook/bake much, and most of the uses I saw online were for lard substitutes for frying and baking


sickmission t1_iwd8mj1 wrote

With regard to beef tallow, I've going to make this this week for a friendsgiving gettogether:

As for your chicken fat (schmaltz), you can do anything from make tortillas to fry eggs with it. I would think using it to oven roast veggies (potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, etc) would be amazing. Here's an article with some ideas:


RandomWave000 t1_iwc9ejk wrote

so you got 2.4 lbs of edible (actual) meat


TheSn00pster t1_iw8qo32 wrote

Please do the same with Okja meat for us?


Paoloadami t1_iw9bdaz wrote

So they either inject water in the kitchen (it’s an old scam) or they use a lot of steroids to make the meat absorb water.


[deleted] t1_iw9eznq wrote



eatenbyalion t1_iw9i66a wrote

Cruelty free - depends who you share a bed with after eating the beans.


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw9ksii wrote

I'm not vegan but I rarely every buy meat. I believe in aggressive reduction in meat consumption for the planet. I also made a delicious vegan pumpkin sauce over pasta as a side for this. The pumpkin was the star of the meal.


Rogaar t1_iw9tpkf wrote

Try cooking the Sous Vide method. At the very least you will eliminate most of the water loss.

When it comes to breast meat, It's the best way to cook it if you want juicy breast meat, which is not a sentence you get to say often.


indefinitelearning t1_iw8ooql wrote

I feel like there's alot of flaws in this methodology


JAB2010 t1_iw96gwu wrote

Well, nobody said OP is a literal food scientist lol It’s probably a fair approximation of a typical product.


dreaming-in-colour OP t1_iw97ln6 wrote

I'm an engineer, I thought this through. I know the sample is small, but other than that there isn't much to this analysis.


marfaxa t1_iw9uy1h wrote

It's great you drive a train, but what does that have to do with chicken?