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7 Different Types of Poultry To Eat

Learn about the different kinds of poultry you can cook and enjoy.

There are many types of poultry on farms across the world, some familiar and others less so. You can find a variety of  intriguing flavors and textures to try. 

raw poultry meat

Each type of poultry has unique characteristics and benefits that make it well-suited for different purposes.

For example, chickens are typically used for meat and eggs, while ducks are often bred for their feathers. 

You might not have tried all of the different types of poultry you can eat, but all of these meats are edible!

Types of Poultry

Some of these birds are not normally consumed as food in certain cultures, but they are all delicious when prepared properly. Here is a closer look at each type of poultry and what it has to offer:


Chicken

Chicken is perhaps the most common type of poultry. These birds are known for their egg-laying abilities and function as fun backyard pets.

Chickens are also used extensively in the food industry, with their meat consumed by people worldwide.

People breed chickens for their meat and eggs. Egg-laying chickens are called layer hens, and meat chickens are called broilers.

Chicken eggs are the most commonly eaten eggs in the US, but there are other types of eggs people eat as well.

Chicken works with various preparations, such as roasting, frying, grilling, and baking.

The best way to prepare chicken depends on the cut of meat. For example, chicken breasts are typically roasted or grilled, while chicken legs are usually fried or baked.

My favorite preparation is chicken battered and fried in peanut oil.


Duck

Duck is another popular type of poultry. While it is not as widely consumed as chicken, it does provide a good source of meat and eggs. 

Duck meat is known for being fattier and more flavorful than chicken, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a new taste experience.

Duck eggs are also large and have a rich flavor, making them perfect for baking or cooking.

Duck is consumed in many cuisines around the world, especially in Asia. Peking duck is a popular dish in China, while you commonly find roast duck in Thailand.

People prepare duck in several ways, including roasting, grilling, barbecuing, and smoking.

I personally love duck that has been roasted or grilled. The skin becomes crispy, and the meat remains juicy.

Duck is generally considered tasty, nutritious, and versatile, with a rich flavor often enhanced by marinating or cooking with aromatic spices.

Duck meat has a higher proportion of protein than many other kinds of poultry. Duck is also an excellent source of vitamin A, iron, and phosphorus.


Turkey 

Turkey is a popular bird served at Thanksgiving in the United States. People like eating turkey because it is lean meat and is relatively easy to cook.

While wild turkeys are typically brown or black, domesticated turkeys come in various colors, including white, blue, and even pink.

Wild turkeys have a different flavor from farm-raised turkeys. Wild birds have more dark meat, so the flavor is more intense.

Commercial turkeys have giant breasts and often lack flavor and fat. These birds are tender to the point of being mushy.

Turkey meat is high in protein and low in fat, and it is also a good source of B vitamins, including niacin and vitamin B6. Companies sell roast turkey, ground turkey, turkey breast, and turkey bacon.


Goose

People breed geese for their meat, eggs, and feathers. Goose meat is dark, has a strong flavor, and is richer and fattier than chicken or turkey.

Foie gras, fattened goose liver, is popular for pate and other products. There are some ethical concerns related to force-feeding goose grain to obtain the desired liver size, but people still consume this delicacy worldwide.

I love using goose fat in confit, which means “cooked in its fat.” Cooking meat in this fat results in a rich, crispy meal that does not taste like anything else.

Unlike turkey, goose does not need a side of sauce or gravy. The fat content of the animal keeps the meat moist.


Guinea Fowl

Guinea fowl are game birds; their meat is leaner than chicken and has a gamey flavor.

Roast slowly at low temperatures to avoid drying out this lean meat. Wrapping the bird in fatty ham is an excellent way to retain moistness.

Guinea fowl are a good source of protein and iron. Guinea fowl eggs are smaller than chicken eggs but have a creamy, delicious flavor.

One bird can feed two people, and you can prepare it in many ways. I enjoy frying the breast to create a crispy outer layer of fat.


Quail 

Quail are small game birds. Many people fill quail with stuffing before roasting. Quail eggs are standard fare in many countries and are high in protein.

Quail breast is dark meat, and this bird is between chicken and duck in terms of fat content. The flavor is similar to duck because of the dark meat.

Quail is healthy meat. It contains more iron than some types of steak and reasonable quantities of calcium and zinc.

I enjoy eating an entire roasted quail. These birds are so small that even the bones become tender.


Pigeon

The pigeon is a versatile bird prepared in various ways. Young pigeons called squab are very tender with a light flavor.

Adult pigeons have a strong chicken flavor. The meat stays juicy from the fat layer under the skin.

Pigeon grows darker as the bird ages, and gamey flavor develops over time.

Wood pigeon has an especially rich flavor enjoyed by those looking for something more complex.

Pigeon contains vitamin B12 and selenium.


Types of Poultry

  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Turkey 
  • Goose
  • Guinea Fowl
  • Quail 
  • Pigeon

Final Thoughts

People consume poultry all over the world. People prize these birds for their meat, eggs, and feathers. Poultry is tasty, nutritious, and versatile.

Poultry is a good option if you’re looking for lean meat. Turkey and chicken breast are incredibly lean.

Dark meat or game birds are a better choice if you want something with more flavor. Ultimately, there are many types of poultry to choose from, so there is something for everyone.

Learn more about all types of food, like the best meats for grilling or learn the difference between clams and mussels.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.