Gave this newish addition, “Buttermilk Brined 1/2 Chicken” a try as it sounded kind of interesting. I cooked the chicken by grilling it in my cast iron pan. “Exceptionally moist and juicy” as advertised? Frankly it was OK but I found the taste and texture nothing special. So my main question was given the premium price is it really worth $5/lb. for chicken Versus just buying bone-in chicken at Trader Joe’s (which is less than 1/2 the price) and fixing that up myself marinating it in buttermilk or yogurt, which takes minutes to make (though it does need marinate a few hours). TJ’s sells a whole 5 lb chicken for $1.99 a lb. or about $10-11 . Or get parts for $2-4/lb. This 1/2 chicken which was 1.5 lbs was clearly from a very small chicken (3 lbs?) So the puny leg here only had about 3 bites worth of meat on it – though the breast was fairly meaty. Plus it even came with the neck still on, something most people is just waste and will throw away (not me, I gave it to the cats!) So cooked there was not a ton of meat, for the money, and I doubt this 1/2 chicken will “serve two people?” as they suggest? Hah, barely. In sum, I think it would be half the cost to just buy chicken and if I wanted a buttermilk marinade, just do it myself. Actually I would more likely marinate the chicken in some Greek YOGURT (yogurt makes for very tender chicken) AND for flavor use a lot of spices, Indian style. Tumeric, Cumin, Garlic, Ajika. Now that would be make a way more interesting grilled chicken dish than how this pretty meh chicken turned out. Also, it may not be a fair comparision yet still I could not help thinking for I paid for this 1/2 chicken ($7.50) I could have picked up a whole rotisserie chicken (Costco?) which is tastier. So I probably will not buy TJ’s buttermilk brined chicken again. If I didn’t do the DIY in yogurt version, and just wanted “easy” and tasty I’d pick up something right next to this that I know is special: TJ’s SHAWARMA CHICKEN which sells for a dollar more a pound than this, and as its boneless, has zero waste so more bang for the buck.

I learned since I wrote this review, that there’s a TikTok video recipe about this Trader Joe’s brined half chicken which went viral and sparked a lot of interest in this chicken. I watched the video. The cooking techniques she does look sound to me (salting to bring moisture to the surface, wiping that off, grilling the skin, and then roasting) however this should produce as good results with any marinated or brined chicken.

TJ says:

“Are you a seeking the secret to sensationally moist and juicy Chicken? Search no further, your quest is complete—it’s Buttermilk! This cultured dairy product makes a magnificent marinade, as the acidity in the Buttermilk will tenderize the chicken, allowing it to retain more of its juices when cooking…”

Great copy-writing however the product didn’t live up to this description in my opinion. Of course try it for yourself if you are interested. I would suggest however you season it up quite a bit. It’s pretty bland as-is.

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