When I buy whole chicken from the supermarket, it usually comes sealed in liquid. As I break the chicken down, it is unpleasant to work with, slimy, and wet. I keep the broken down chicken parts in my refrigerator throughout the week to cook incrementally, and I save the carcass in the freezer for stock.

  • Is there an accepted way to prep a chicken so that it's dryer and more pleasant to work with when breaking it down?
  • Is it a good idea to remove the chicken from the package, pat dry, and dry brine for a day or so in the refrigerator before breaking the meat down? My concern is that this might bring unwanted salt into the carcass and hence the stock.
  • 2
    I've never seen chicken in a significant amount of liquid. Is it some kind of brine/preservative? And do you know if they are frozen before they arrive in the supermarket?
    – Borgh
    Jan 8, 2020 at 15:58
  • I'm not sure; it's the grocery store brand (Market Basket in MA). It comes sealed in plastic and filled with fluid. I buy it over the other chickens because it tends to be the perfect size and great value. I'll ask the butcher about it next time I buy it. Jan 8, 2020 at 16:06
  • @Borgh Most chicken in the USA is chilled in ice-water post-slaughter. The chicken often absorbs additional water in the process and the resulting product, packaged in plastic, exudes a fair amount of liquid. Air-chilling is a slower process and may even cause the chicken to loose a bit of water-weight, so more industrial manufacturers choose water-chilling.
    – Fisher
    Jan 8, 2020 at 16:10
  • @Fisher yeah that would explain it, its just...weird. Nobody over here (Netherlands) would buy a chicken thats leaking water.
    – Borgh
    Jan 9, 2020 at 7:36
  • Keep in mind that the great value may not be so much once you consider you're paying for a package half full of water.
    – GdD
    Jan 9, 2020 at 8:17

1 Answer 1


Unwrapping the chicken and leaving it uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hours should dry it out a lot. You may want to sponge out the cavity with a paper towel before doing this. If possible, support the chicken on a wire rack above a plate in the refrigerator, rather than placing it directly on the plate. Otherwise, put the chicken breast-down on the plate (so less of it is in contact).

I'm not sure what the effect of dry brining on the saltiness of stock would be, but it's unlikely to be wildly different than the effect on the meat. If you're worried, though, you should break it down before dry brining, and don't salt the back.

  • This worked well, in my refrigerator it was about 5 hours until the chicken was good to handle. Jan 9, 2020 at 18:04

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