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Jun 19, 2007 10:40 PM

Chicken Breasts

Why do people love them so much, when they taste like corrugated cardboard? Would they still eat it, if it was as bad for you as bacon? Also, I recently read the labels for bacon and chicken breasts (at the market), and noticed that per pound, there was more cholesterol in skinless breasts, than for bacon. And mind you, that would be before the bacon was cooked, in which case, much of the elements of bacon would be rendered out. I am assuming that you readers know that cholesterol and fat are two separate things. What's up with that?

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  1. Since no one's replied yet, I can at least partially answer your question with some certainty. If the chicken breasts you're eating when out taste like cardboard, this is due to the poor quality mass production of chickens. It's also probably due to their being overcooked, given people's fear of salmonella, or being cooked and then reheated, doubly drying them out. If you want to try chicken breasts that aren't shriveled like jerky, and you are willing to cook, the best brand on the market today is Rosie's (organic, free range). These cost more than the hyper-industrially produced chickens from Arkansas but you get what you pay for. I know your plight and for the same reason rarely order chicken when out. It just doesn't have that juicy plump goodness that a yummy Rosie's breast has.

    As for bacon, you're probably less likely to eat the same volume/quantity/weight of bacon that you might chicken.

    Chicken and bacon are a great combo, by the way - creamed chicken with bacon and corn over polenta comes to mind, and just last night I whipped up some pounded pan fried buttermilk/cornmeal coated (Rosie's) chicken breasts with a bacon/scallion/thyme gravy (from a recent issue of Gourmet). Oops - home cooking!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Vikzen

      While I agree with your overall point, I have to disagree about Rosie's. At least here in the SF Bay Area there are far superior chickens. In particular, air-chilled chickens are better than chickens that are water cooled: the water bath allows juices to leach out and water to soak in, producing chicken that is flabby and waterlogged compared to air-chilled chicken. If they're available, try SmartChicken or Mary's Organic air-chilled chicken. My sister dry brines her chicken, and says when she moved and had to switch from SmartChicken to Rosie's, she was shocked at how much more water the Rosie's exuded during brining. And of course, you're paying by the pound for chicken that's plumped up with water!

    2. Perhaps you aren't eating chicken breasts that are well prepared.
      None of the chicken breasts I prepare ever taste like corrugated cardboard, and moreover, tend to be quite enjoyable. I also find chicken breasts to be very versatile and therefore a great staple to have in the house. This is not to mention the fact that they are a good source of protein and easy to prepare on a regular basis and at short notice. To sum it up, I like 'em and unashamedly so.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ArikaDawn

        I agree - my husband prefers dark meat, I love white meat, so a roast chicken is perfect for us. That said, there are a number of dishes I prepare with chicken breasts that leave the meat nice and moist. A new favorite is "marinating" pieces of chicken breasts in yogurt with garlic, etc. and broiling them. Another is panko crusted chicken breasts with pesto. I think the key is not to over cook them - you really have to be careful. I usually Bell & Evans or organic chickens - I really like the ones at Whole Foods, and they also sell boneless chicken thighs, which let you cook them pretty quickly - a good alternative to the breasts. All this aside though, some people just prefer the taste of dark meat.

      2. Don't know what labels you were looking at. Boneless skinless chicken breasts, raw, have 58mg of cholesterol per 100 grams while raw bacon has 68mg per 100 grams. The differences become far more dramatic once they're cooked as bacon retains far more of its cholesterol than chicken.

        So, if you don't like chicken breasts (and I'm not a fan, personally, I like thighs) that's fine. But lets keep to actual facts.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ccbweb

          I did not understand why the comparison in the first 8 ounce portion of chicken served for a meal could never be compared gram per gram...who would ever comsume more than a couple ounces of bacon with eggs at breakfast, or on a club sando????

          1. re: nyfoodjoe

            I agree with you...but it irks me when people try to find "facts" to substantiate their personal preferences or tastes. Its enough to have the preference without throwing out inaccurate comparisons, regardless of whether those comparisons would be relevant in the first place.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. F

            As others have stated if your chicken breasts taste like cardboard, the quality is inferior, they are overcooked, or both. Most people cook breasts to 190-200 and that is just too much in jfood's experience. If they touch 180, that's plenty of heat. In CT Bell and Evans is the brand of choice in casa jfood.

            Likewise the facts do not support the cholesterol statement.

            8 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              Hmm. I know what I saw in the market, but I don't have that with me.

              Bacon: 140 mg of cholesterol from one pound.

              Chicken breast: 65 mg for 4 oz. (x 4 to equal bacon's one pound weight, above) = 260 mg.

              1. re: fergusmccool

                Some people don't watch cholesterol, for one thing. They may care about fat and calories, but not give a second thought to cholesterol. May not be logical; I'm not sure. I do know that when I'm doing Weight Watchers actively, I monitor my fat intake carefully, but I'm not going to be worried too much about cholesterol until and unless my numbers get high. I'm guessing that a lot of people are attracted to white meat chicken for the low fat content and don't care about cholesterol.

                I'm not a fan of supermarket chicken, any cut. However, get a good chicken, pound the breast and you can make any number of good dishes out of it. Not every food needs to be bursting with flavor to work in a recipe.

                1. re: fergusmccool

                  Not sure why you are not using the "yield from 1lb" tab on your site. If you did you would see that bacon comes in at 140mg and chicken at 44mg.

                  Here's another set of site:

                  Bacon raw at 68mg of chol for 100 grams

                  Bacon Pan Fried at 113mg of chol for 100 grams

                  Bacon Baked at 107mg of chol for 100 grams

                  Chicken breast roasted 85 mg of chol for 100 grams

                  BTW - turkey bacon comes in at 90mg of chol for 100 grams.

                  1. re: jfood

                    How can 100 grams of roasted chicken have 85mg if one pound has 44mg? Am I reading this wrong?

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      po-tay-toe versus po-tah-toe. Two different web sites, two different methodologies, two different answers. And Jfood agrees if 100 grams has 85mg then one pound has circa 385mg.

                      But directionally both tell us that bacon has more, not less, chol than chick.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        It may not explain the difference completely, but cooked meat loses water, so the other components become proportionately more per weight.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          You're right on target, Ruth. In some of the above comparison, the bacon was cooked and the chicken was not. Gets confusing. But, jfood and common sense tell us what we need to know on this one. Boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked in a reasonable manner has far less cholesterol in it than does bacon.

                          Also, cholesterol aside, look closely at the saturated fat numbers.

                          1. re: ccbweb


                            look at the product as well. Yes we all LOVE bacon more, but heck it's not that healthy.

                            But jfood thinks that in his four-URL post he had three cooked products:

                            Fried bacon -113
                            Baked bacon - 107
                            Roasted chicken - 85

                            Ah that these number were different and that bacon was healthier than chicken, what a great dinner for all