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?
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?