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Getting your hands on chicken feet


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So I made a batch of chicken stock not too long ago, and decided to include some chicken feet for extra richness and gelatin. I noticed, though, that while chicken backs, necks and assorted leftover bits are dirt cheap ($.79-$.99/lb), feet are over three times as expensive ($1.79-$1.99/lb).

Obviously there's a supply and demand issue here. Only two feet on a bird, and while I don't think there are that many stock and stew makers, there is a good-sized Chinese population in Philadelphia who want feet for dim sum, etc. So feet are at something of a premium. (And $1.99 is still cheaper than thighs or breasts or the other, "standard" chicken parts.)

But I'm curious about how much demand varies from place to place, and whether prices vary to match. Are chicken feet cheaper in places without a Chinatown? Or is the chicken economy integrated enough that feet are shipped to places with more demand, evening out prices? How much do chicken feet cost in your neck of the woods?

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I've been using chicken feet in my soups and stocks for almost 15years, since I moved to Cleveland. I was inspired by Barbara Tropp's China Moon cookbook to use them, and I think they definitely make a difference.

I think that Americans cook less, and even when they cook, they are tending away from the "old fahioned", so the demand has shrunk. As demand has shrunk, so also has the supply shrunk. I'm lucky to have a relationship with a local poultry farmer who knows I use the feet, so she saves them for me - but when we first started doing business together, she told me she had been throwing them away (she now knows their value; but still gives us some for free!).

They are only available frozen at a few butcher shops in C Town, but I have no idea how they are priced. I expect fresh feet can be had in our Asiatown groceries - I'll pay attention to supply and pricing the next time I'm down there!

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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I've been using chicken feet in my soups and stocks for almost 15years, since I moved to Cleveland. I was inspired by Barbara Tropp's China Moon cookbook to use them, and I think they definitely make a difference.

I think that Americans cook less, and even when they cook, they are tending away from the "old fahioned", so the demand has shrunk.  As demand has shrunk, so also has the supply shrunk. I'm lucky to have a relationship with a local poultry farmer who knows I use the feet, so she saves them for me - but when we first started doing business together, she told me she had been throwing them away (she now knows their value; but still gives us some for free!).

They are only available frozen at a few butcher shops in C Town, but I have no idea how they are priced. I expect fresh feet can be had in our Asiatown groceries - I'll pay attention to supply and pricing the next time I'm down there!

You should try a kosher butcher shop too, that's where I find them.

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So I made a batch of chicken stock not too long ago, and decided to include some chicken feet for extra richness and gelatin.  I noticed, though, that while chicken backs, necks and assorted leftover bits are dirt cheap ($.79-$.99/lb), feet are over three times as expensive ($1.79-$1.99/lb).

Andrew, I know that's the price at Godshall's in the Reading Terminal Market, but have you priced them in Chinatown or one of the Asian supermarkets? Since all the other meat products are cheaper there (at least the Spring Garden & 4th supermarket), I'd imagine the feet would be less expensive, too.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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No, I'm afraid I didn't do my due diligence and check out the Asian supermarkets. It makes sense, of course, that feed would be cheaper there (like everything else): more interesting would be to know how expensive they are relative to other cheap chicken parts (like necks).

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Okay, I stopped by one Asian supermarket*: chicken feet were $1.69/lb. Old chickens, for comparison, were $.89/lb. They have a butcher shop there, but I can't tell if either was previously frozen.

* Bob: it was 1st Oriental Supermarket, at 5th and Washington.

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