When possible choose whole chickens. Whole chickens are considered premium or the best chickens. Premium for size and look. No bruises or blemishes or broken bones and usually a very nice size (a little bigger and this increases your chances of a more yellow color, as they have grown more and are a little older). Premium chickens will have a better chicken flavor. The best for roasting. If you want to have chicken pieces, you can ask your butcher to cut-up the chicken for you or learn to cut-up a whole chicken yourself. This is better than purchasing the cut-up pieces because they usually have a variety of different sizes which makes the cooking times more difficult and you will notice more bruising and broken bones.
Look for yellow chicken. The more yellow the better. The chicken is usually raised more natural and is usually a little older so a little bigger and we have found almost always has better flavor. Yes, I usually buy chicken with the skin on. It makes for a better tasting and a moister chicken recipe. You don’t have to eat the skin. Most skinless chicken has a sodium broth injected. If you can find a natural cage free or free range chicken, they are usually the best. Usually expensive but amazingly good and no hormones or antibiotics.
Occasionally, we shop at Mexican markets in our area and their chickens are usually very yellow. Sometimes the chickens are fed marigold petals to help get that yellow skin. The Mexican shoppers seem to know that yellow chickens are best. Even if the yellow is helped along, these chickens tend to be bigger and more flavorful. Good to cook long and slow. You may find this to be the case in other ethnic markets. This is also why chicken at the grocery store is usually packed on yellow trays (to reflect yellow on the chicken) so it looks better, more natural.
Brining is soaking in salt water or salt and sugar. The reason is to add flavor and moisture.
Kosher birds are touted as having the best flavor. As far as I know and my research shows, all Kosher turkeys and Kosher chickens are brined.
An”Injected bird”, is injected with salt water or a sodium broth.
Almost all frozen birds (chicken & turkeys) are injected or brined.
Tip: Watch the labels and the very fine print on the labels. It is a common practice especially with the popular boneless skinless chicken breasts, to inject them with a sodium broth or salt water. Now I am seeing this more in other chicken products. Many chicken pieces are ice glazed. The glaze is usually a sodium broth.