So every now and again I like to pick up an item that seemingly no one is talking about. This is a product I had to do a bit more research into to see if there is a bit of a difference. From everything I've put together, most commercial chickens are raised quite quickly. Heirloom on the other hand supposedly tastes more like the way chicken did a long time ago (before even I was born in the 1980s). They are smaller and have spent their lives in a pasture.
Table of Contents hide
2 Frequently asked questions
4 Product Photos
4.1 The nutritional information and the ingredients
5 The Bottom Line
5.1 Trader Joe's All Natural Heirloom Whole Chicken
5.2 User Review
5.3 Like this:
For $2.99 per pound, this is much cheaper than other heirloom chicken I've seen referenced. The bummer here is that it doesn't reference what type of breed it might be. If you are interested in learning more about breeds, you can check out this article by Modern Farmer.
To be fair, I consider myself to be a decent enough home cook. So I opted to keep this simple to see if there was a detectable difference.
When I say simple, I also have to warn you, because this is slow growth chicken, there is a bit more muscle here, so you'll have to cook this slower.
I kept things pretty standard at 350F. This chicken weighed just about 3 lbs so that was about an hour in the oven with be stopping at 45 minutes to brush the fat that had rendered onto the skin. At the end of the hour and a quick temperature check, there was a very necessary 10-minute rest.
Prepping this was pretty standard: I dried it with a paper towel and generously salted and peppered the skin. I also used a whole lemon, halved, and put that in the cavity to put the bird more upright and will lend a mild citrus flavor, and ensure more even heat distribution.
Otherwise, what came out of the oven was moist and had more chicken flavor than regular chicken. Yes, it still tastes like chicken. The breast meat had a much more pronounced flavor than regular chicken cutlets which I oftentimes feel are pretty close to flavorless.
So if you've been curious about one of these birds, don't be afraid of it. But if you are more culinarily adventurous, there are no giblets to neck to speak of in this package.
Frequently asked questions
Below are common reader questions about this product
Does Trader Joe's sell heirloom chicken?
Yes, they do. They are sold right next to the regular and organic whole birds in the refrigerated case.
What is a Trader Joe's heirloom chicken?
Heirloom chicken refers to breeds of chicken that live outdoors, are slow growing, and are often smaller than conventionally sold chicken
Overall, worth a try. In terms of availability, I would check with your local store. Prior to Father's Day, there was a Cowboy Ribeye only in certain locations. So whether or not this is available across all stores is a bit unclear.
Would I buy this again?Yes, I would buy Trader Joe's All Natural Heirloom Whole Chicken again. Even though there was a slight premium it was worth it. Just don't expect those huge chicken breasts, this is a more evenly proportioned bird.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!
The package of Trader Joe's All Natural Heirloom Whole Chicken:
The nutritional information and the ingredients
And what it looked like fully cooked:
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on for asearchablelist.
The Bottom Line
Don't forget to share your thoughts by going to the "user review" at the bottom of the box (click on the number of stars you believe this product deserves) and leave a comment below.
Trader Joe's All Natural Heirloom Whole Chicken
Product Name: Trader Joe's All Natural Heirloom Whole Chicken
Product Description: Trader Joe's All Natural Heirloom Whole Chicken is a different option available if you love whole chicken.
Price: $2.99 per pound
Trader Joe's All Natural Heirloom Whole Chicken is an extra meat option in the refrigerated case.
- Worthy of Repurchasing
- A more flavorful bird
- When prepared right, there is a decent enough difference to justify the extra price.
- Well priced compared to most references on price I've seen online.
- A slight premium over conventional chicken
- If you are into making gravy you might be disappointed that the neck and giblets aren't here.
- Availability might vary by store
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Just cooked this last night and it was sooo good. I stuffed the cavity of 3.5 lb chicken with lemon, garlic and shallot. Buttered, salted and peppered entire skin. Cooked for 15 min at 425, reduced heat to 350 and cooked for 1 hr 10 minutes. It was amazing!!! Very moist and really rich flavor. Move over Costco chicken! Knowing this is a humanely raised chicken factors in as well. This is a definite repeat dinner.
Thanks for sharing this!
I love making broth chicken stock Frome these and saving the meat for soup. The meat has a much better color tool not all washed out like most chicken.
Thanks for sharing Noelle!
My family absolutely love this flavorful chicken.
Thanks for sharing Veronica!
Hi. A couple questions.
I understand that an heirloom chicken is a cross between heritage breeds. Is a heirloom chicken then a heritage chicken?
I am inclined to think not, because heritage chickens are purebred, and heirlooms are clearly not.
Heritage chickens are (by definition) pasture raised. I am interested to know if heirloom chickens are pasture raised. Looking at literature on heirloom chickens, I read (in one article) that they are pasture raised, and I read (in a different article) that they “should be pasture raised”. Which is it? If I buy an heirloom chicken I want to be sure that it is pasture raised.
I’ve eaten Trader Joe heirloom chickens, and they are indeed wonderful. I want to be able to keep buying them. But I only buy pasture raised chickens.
Second question; is it recommended to brine a heritage or heirloom chicken?
I see no reason why a good brine couldn't help. As far as a heritage breed chicken, here is what I found. And unfortunately as far as USDA standards it seems murky at best: https://livestockconservancy.org/heritage-chicken-definition/heritage-chicken-faq/
I cook one of these a week now. Far superior to commercial chicken, even organic does not hold a candle to how moist and flavorful this is. Highly recommend for anyone who wants a true roast chicken like your great-grandma used to make!
Hey Alexandra! I agree. Did you notice they now have heirloom chicken thighs and breasts too instead of just whole chicken? Oh...and heirloom ground chicken as well. All were equally excellent.
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