Market Poultry - Grading ready-to-cook parts
Ready-to-cook poultry parts are graded with a slightly different set of standards (see Table 1). Parts for any weight category can be used (broiler, heavy broiler, and turkey). To make parts grading standards more uniform and less confusing, we are only allowing the following parts to be used in the RTC parts grading class in 4-H:
- Breast Quarter
- Breast Quarter without Wing
- Leg Quarter
- Whole Leg
- Thigh with Back
- Whole Wing
- Wing Drumette
- Wing Flat
Table 1. Summary of USDA Ready-to-cook specifications for individual carcass parts (click on image to enlarge).
1. Parts Exposed Flesh
For all parts, trimming of skin along the edge is allowed, provided at least 75 percent of the normal skin cover associated with the part remains attached, and the remaining skin uniformly covers the outer surface and does not detract from the appearance of the part.
The amount of exposed flesh allowed on a Grade A poultry part depends on the weight category. For broilers (2-6 lb.), only a ¼ inch cut in the skin is allowed for a part to stay a Grade A (see Figure 1). For the higher weight categories, the limit is ½ inch.
Grade B parts are graded the same for skin trim or removal as whole carcasses with up to 1/3 of the flesh on the entire part exposed (see Figure 2), and the Grade C carcass has more than 1/3 of the flesh showing on a given part (see Figure 3). A moderate amount of meat may be trimmed around the edge of a part to remove defects without affecting the grade. However, if an appreciable amount of flesh is removed from any part in which the normal meat yield is materially affected, the part should be graded as a NO GRADE.
2. Parts Disjointed Bones
Thighs with back, whole legs, leg quarters, and whole wings are the only parts for possible disjoints. Grade A 'leg quarters' and 'thigh with back' may have the femur disjointed from the hip socket. Whole wings are not allowed to have a disjoint and remain a Grade A. Any disjointed whole wings are automatically Grade B (see Figure 4).
3. Parts Broken Bones
NO broken bones are allowed for Grade A or Grade B Parts. Any parts with a broken or cut bone are automatically assigned a Grade C. Figure 5 shows examples of miscuts on drumsticks that make them a Grade C.