Why You Should Consider Serving Chicken At Your Holiday Dinners

On the fourth Thursday of November, many citizens in the United States gather to enjoy the company of family and friends over a warm festive meal. They get the day off work and travel to see friendly faces, and if you've seen any Thanksgiving TV special, you'll know that they gather around to chow down on a giant turkey. The turkey wasn't originally on the Thanksgiving menu, not making a regular appearance until the turn of the 19th century, but it is now a staple item during the American holiday (via Britannica). If we were all honest with each other, though, the turkey can sometimes be a bit of a letdown, and there are usually pounds left over after the holiday, which families are forced to eat for the majority of December.

Here's the deal — turkey can be a real pain. There are a lot of mistakes you can make while attempting to cook turkey. Yes, it is traditional, and yes, it makes you want to sleep forever, and if you somehow manage not to let it go dry, you'll be lauded until the New Year. But there are certainly some downsides to turkey that might make you think about subbing it out for a simpler, more familiar main dish — like chicken, perhaps.

Chicken is easier!

First and foremost, Bon Appétit points out how terribly long it takes to roast a turkey compared to chicken. A chicken will finish cooking in 45 minutes, and even two in the oven will only take a bit longer. Whereas with turkey, if you buy it frozen, it takes days to defrost and three or more hours to cook once thawed — and that's if it is a reasonably sized turkey (per Bon Appétit). So, if you're worried about time management this holiday season, you should definitely ditch the turkey.

Additionally, Epicurious says that though turkey is considered a specialty centerpiece, it is rarely, if ever, anyone's favorite dish at the dinner table. So why not use chicken instead, so you won't feel bad that you wasted all that time and energy preparing an animal no one wants to finish? The chicken will also taste juicier and be more flavorful, and can still be dolled up with all the same holiday rubs and sauces that are traditionally enjoyed on the turkey. It's a win-win situation!

Chicken is cheaper

When it comes to money, we all want to find a way to save, especially during the holidays. Thanksgiving preparations and pre-ordering holiday gifts can really start to put a strain on your bank account — and unfortunately, this year more than ever, buying a turkey is really going to set you back. According to USA Today, food prices are only climbing higher and higher, with little regard for the influx of buying over the holiday season. Turkey prices are rising especially high, with a whole frozen turkey costing $1.46 a pound in 2022 compared to 2021's cost of $1.15 per pound.

And if you're thinking that buying turkey parts will be any cheaper, think again. Southern Kitchen reports that boneless and skinless turkey breasts this year have soared in September to the astonishing cost of $6.70 per pound! That is 112% higher than last year's price. CNBC claims that the reason turkey is so expensive of late is that there have been massive turkey fatalities thanks to a severe outbreak of bird flu this year. And unfortunately, though there is a turkey shortage, demand for the bird has not ceased, driving up costs. 

Meanwhile, chicken is on average $.20 less costly per pound than turkey (via My Greek Food). Chicken prices are also beginning to drop slightly according to CNBC, falling 1.3% during October. All in all, you might want to consider grabbing a few broilers this year instead of one big turkey.