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Whenever I make chicken, I end up going through and trimming a ton of fat. I have heard that free-range chicken is leaner. Is this actually true? What, generally, is the best way to make sure you end up getting high-quality meat that doesn't require a huge amount of fat-trimming?

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Depends what sort of "chicken" you want to make. If you roast chicken on a rack or rotisserie and make some slashes in the skin, most of the surplus trimable fat will drip away during cooking. Most of the visible fat is directly under the skin

Other form of cooking generally do not allow enough fat to drip away, so skinning and trimming is the answer

Free-range is not inherently lower in fat, better tasting or anything better than other chickens. The fat content depends on the variety of breed, the food they eat, and the conditions they are raised in. You have to make your own call on this

Shop around and find the brand that has least visible fat. I have tested a variety of local chickens myself, and there is a huge difference. Strangely enough for me the large dominant brand is the leanest?

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Testing is a good method: standard labels for chicken are quite poor (free-range is meaningless in Canada and the US). Cook it, taste it, try different brands and farms. As an ex-chicken farmer, fat content is strongly related to the speed that the birds are raised and what they eat. – Bruce Alderson Nov 21 '10 at 18:48

There are a few ways to get less fat from your chicken:

  • Cooking method (rack/rotisserie mentioned above)
  • Eat only the white meat (less fat)
  • Remove the skin when you eat it (some fat remains in the skin)
  • Eat less of it (easy fix)
  • Raise your own chickens (and avoid feeding them grains)
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