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I am starting to really dislike chicken

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Is it just me? I have two big compalints about chicken these days. 1) the size of chicken breasts (I have seen them referred to as Frankenchicken or Jayne Mansfields here) and 2) The texture and taste is just weird with some of them. I have actually fed some of them to the dog after cooking them. They seem so synthetic.

Is this my imagination or does anyone else feel this way?

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  1. even as a kid, i always ate the dark meat, so don't ever buy those mansfields, and even a whole chicken is mostly a waste because i only want the legs.

    although i have read others on here complaining about off-texture and/or flavor, i haven't encountered that. where do you buy meat? i would rather starve than buy food from wal-mart or some such.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Twice I have recently had this experience from Trader Joe's. Also from A butcher and grocery stores too.

    2. With you on this rant. My family used to say I could eat chicken 6 nights a week. I loved it. Now I almost never make it because it has no flavor and often bad texture. I vastly prefer cornish hens, which are certainly pricier but worth it in my book.

      1. You need to try purchasing chicken breasts from fryers and not roaster/roasting chickens....the later are older and larger poultry.

        1. I went off chicken for a while. I've always preferred beef or lamb, but what really did it for me was the massive size of even the so-called organic chicken breasts. Lately, I've been buying kosher chicken, which tastes much, much better. It will never be my favorite meat, but it is definitely more like what I remember eating as a child than the big ol' nasty modern supermarket chickens.

          1. You might want to try an air-dryed, free range, organic chicken and taste the difference. We eat chicken less because of the cost, but it's worth it for the flavor.

            1 Reply
            1. re: escondido123

              I agree. While I'm generally skeptical about the health claims associated with the organic movement, there's no question, at least with the birds I've eaten, that organic chicken tastes more "chickeny" than do the usual suspects.

              When I roast: I buy organic.

            2. boneless skinless chicken breast is one of the most boring foods on the planet. Right up there with ground turkey

              11 Replies
              1. re: ctfoodguy

                That's not true. I have uses for ground turkey. Tonight, I plan on using ground turkey to make a savory bread pudding. It will included dried cranberries and be built around the idea of Thanksgiving dinner rolled into one. Of course, I would prefer it if the ground turkey contained 0% breast meat.

                On the other hand, boneless, skinless chicken breast is flat-out horrible. I use a lot of chicken (purchased about ten pounds of chicken thighs for $1/pound on sale last week), but it's been years since I bought just chicken breast. I have no use for it. At most, I would use it as a flavorless vehicle for a wonderful dipping sauce.

                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  That actually sounds good FoodP. I'm just saying chicken and turkey breast meat are just so dry, bland & flavorless

                  1. re: ctfoodguy

                    I might go a bit overboard because I blame boneless, skinless chicken breast for a lot of the problems of food culture. Boneless, skinless chicken breast is a concept that ruins the business of raising chickens for food. The availability of ground turkey doesn't have nearly the same effect on turkey.

                2. re: ctfoodguy

                  +1. For people who don't like chicken. Or flavor.

                  1. re: ctfoodguy

                    Chicken breast - tikka kebabs, could never tire of it.

                    Ground turkey (dark meat) - if one eats red meat, then I think gt just doesn't do it. For those who don't eat red meat, I suggest kheema or kebabs. I used to make ground chicken (dark meat) kebabs until price shot up to $5/$7/lb. I use ground turkey for ma po tofu as well.

                    1. re: ctfoodguy

                      I cannot get with the fans of boneless skinless chicken breasts - I find them tasteless, and almost always dry (the chicken breasts, not the fans).

                      They're so unforgiving that you have almost no time between undercooked and dried out. Every time one of the fans says "They're not dry", it turns out that they're cooking in / serving with a souce to compensate for the dryness.

                      1. re: WNYamateur

                        I'm not a fan, either, but sometimes marinate them for use over a salad. They're not dry, but not because of the marinade, because I grill them on low heat, turning often, only til just done. Only other way I ever use them is in Thai curry, also simmered low.

                        Gimme thighs with the skin, any day.

                        1. re: WNYamateur

                          Just can't over cook them. Not hard to do if you are some what attentive. I cook them often as my family likes white meat chicken and sear them in a pan with no added liquid.

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            I agree. While I don't cook them very often, when I do, it's high and fast...and good.

                        2. re: ctfoodguy

                          What happens to all of those frankenchicken legs and thighs that the American consumer does not prefer -


                        3. I've never been a fan of breast meat. If I use breast meat, it's only in very thin cutlets for dishes like chicken parm, etc. Otherwise I stick to thighs, wings, and legs.

                          1. I haven't bought regular supermarket chickens for a loooooong time.

                            There are pasture-raised chickens available at WholeFoods, and that's what I buy nowadays. I'm on the waiting list of a meat CSA close-by. Their chickens are also pasture raised.

                            1. Where to start? We had guests for dinner recently. I served a free range 100% organic perfectly roasted chicken. One guest turned up her nose saying the chicken was "too tough". Yeah that's right. Chickens that are raised just like other wild game birds do tend to be tough/firm. The up-side is they are actually worth eating. Imagine you are in a chicken processing 'horror-hell' plant. Now watch thousands of slaughtered chickens being passed through a freezing salt water bath about the size of a large family outdoor swimming pool. The water has the look and consistency of pea soup. The 'green' is from the 'poop' from the chicken vents. YUM! But don't worry. The (cough) 'chickens' are then sprayed with certain chemicals which is fairly certain to kill any life threatening bacteria. Then OFF to your favorite store where no one will ever excuse you of cooking "tough" chicken. The best news of course is that the store is selling these chickens at an incredible price!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Puffin3

                                I can't speak about every chicken plant--but I worked in several Tyson plants in Missouri and Arkansas. No green water--chickens were rinsed and then quick chilled in a swimming pool sized bath of ice and water. I do not hesitate at all about eating commercial chicken--the plants were immaculate.

                                1. re: sparrowgrass

                                  I visited the plant in Arkansas and can verify, the chickens are killed quickly and as humanely as possible, and the factory was spotless.

                                  We have a friend who tells those same horror stories, but all she knows she learned from vegan public service films.

                              2. While we're on the subject, fresh pork doesn't seem to have as much flavor as it used to and neither do ham and bacon. And I just paid a lot for a big box of blueberries that don't taste like blueberries. Strawberries, the last ones I had that were good were in Spain. Tomatoes, forget it. Is it just us? No. Recently I asked a Hungarian who was in the States for a few years for his job what he missed most from his home. His immediate answer: "Food that tastes real".

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Querencia

                                  I buy humanely raised, organic pork and I find the flavor to be excellent--but it is not cheap. As for fruits and vegetables, I buy all that I can at the Farmers' Market, which means buying what is in season. I live in So Cal so that means a good selection most of the year, but if I want tomatoes I wait until summer, plums I wait until fall etc. I needed extra apples a couple weeks ago so bought them at the store--good price--but the flavor was absent. So I say FM where it's fresh and local.

                                  1. re: Querencia

                                    Robert Irvine said if pork gets bred any leaner, it's going to sprout feathers.

                                    1. re: WNYamateur

                                      I don't object to the day when pigs can fly, but I'll miss the chicharonnes!
                                      And it will be a good idea to have an awning over the patio.

                                  2. I am so sick of frickin chicken that I don't think I've eaten it for ages except for when I made a chicken soup in December with a free range organic chicken. The cheap stuff tastes of fish and often has a strange smell to it, we frequently get catered chicken dishes at work and I just can't eat those huge pieces of flattened white meat often prepped the same no matter who the caterer is.

                                    I would rather eat beef or lamb otherwise I will just eat vegetarian food.

                                    1. I switched to ducks about 6 months ago, and every poulty meal since then has been a symphony with fringe benefits- endless duck fat, freezer well stocked with pate. Quack quack, I don't look back.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        I haven't found anyplace that sells fresh duck at a price I am willing to pay for anything but a special occasion. Have you found them for a reasonable price?

                                      2. One possible reason for the odd texture is that some brands pump their chicken breast "to retain moisture." There's usually a disclaimer on the package. Of course, it's the small print type of disclaimer.

                                        1. You are eating the wrong part. I eat more chicken drumsticks than any other meat. It's one of those happy coincidences in life where the best tasting and most versatile part of the bird is also somehow the cheapest (kind of like pork shoulder). Make a couple slices down to the bone in the thickest part of the flesh and then salt and season several hours before roasting in a hot pan. You get crispy roast chicken, pan sauce, chicken fat (save it for cooking potatoes), and bones for stock all from the same cut of meat.

                                          Chop drumsticks in half and braise until falling off the bone in a light stock for velvety rich chicken soup. If you add ginger, garlic, star anise and noodles this will cure any cold you have.

                                          With a little practice, it's easy to de-bone and de-tendon the drumstick, marinade the meat, and skewer for the grill. Or just thin slice the boneless meat for stir-fry.

                                          All those paying top dollar for boneless skinless breasts, are in fact subsidizing those who prefer the tastier legs!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                            I am fine with thighs etc but my husband will only eat breast meat. ;-(

                                          2. It is not your imagination. I am 76 yo and just recently I've purchased chicken thighs that are totally weird. They don't get tough or stringy even if by normal standards you over- cook them, but they don't feel like chicken in your mouth, however you cook them. Neither do they taste much like chicken - except in a very watered-down and unappetizing way. Something is being fed to or injected into the chickens to cause this, not anything that anyone's doing in their cooking.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: carolinfv

                                              Buy non feedlot chicken if it's not beyond your budget and revel in the flavor and texture. Pastured is pricey, but wonderful. Trader Joe's has great price on pre brined whole chicken that's to die for.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                sorry? what do you mean by pre-brined?

                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                  i mean it's brined prior to packaging and the flavor and juiciness just explodes when you bite into it. It appears to be Coleman organic chicken. It's under $3 per lb at my TJs.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    I see products like that but don't buy them cause I figure that it's awfully easy to over brine.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Yes, that happened to me once with a Murray's turkey but never with the chicken. I've bought each many times.

                                                      And there are an awful lot of satisfied Kosher chicken buyers out there. It's easier to avoid over brining in a production facility with it's timed processes, I suspect.

                                            2. Cannot deny the difference in flavor and texture from a free range chicken - unfortunately they are expensive for many peoples budgets and factory chickens are incredibly, almost frighteningly, cheap. I am not such a fan of chicken breast and never buy or use BSCB. I do often buy their by product - the very inexpensive legs/thighs packages for .79 lb are a very good deal and whole chickens when they are on sale. I would prefer to buy exclusively local. organic , free range but that is a difficult choice to make on basis of both access and affordability.

                                              One thing I have noted is as I am fond of reading old recipes is that the size of chicken described in most pre 1960s recipes are considerably smaller than any available at the supermarket. The price of pumping these birds up has been a loss of flavor. My supermarket generally carries Tyson and for factory chickens they are OK - still one of the purchases I feel somewhat ambivalent on but cost wins here for me right now.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                I am fortunate in that I can afford to buy only free range or organic birds. And it only has to feed two of us. Not everyone is so fortunate.

                                                Even so, a small bird will provide a roast dinner for us, with leftovers for another meal and a carcass for stock. It makes it quite good value.

                                                I'm of a generation and background for whom a roast chicken was a rarity - a special occasion meat for Easter or similar.

                                              2. I quit buying factory farmed meat years ago and buy from a local farm now. Normal sized, tasty meat.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                  I agree rockandroller1. No factory animals. Ever. It means I eat less meat and I use it all. It started with chicken, but now I apply this to all of our meat. Probably eat the same way my grandparents did.

                                                  1. re: honeybea

                                                    My grandmother used to shop at Gristedes, wonder where they sourced their meat back in day. Although I do remember butchers being very popular too.

                                                  2. re: rockandroller1

                                                    I started buying the Coastal Range organic brand chicken thighs. I have been cooking for decades. I know what size a chicken thigh should be, what it should taste like and that the skin should crisp up and there will be fat rendered after cooking. This brand has all of that. They are pricey. A pack of 4 thighs is over $4.00 but the satisfaction of eating *real* chicken is worth it.

                                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                                      I am buying my Chicken, Eggs nowadays at a small local Poultry farm, what a difference! Delicious!

                                                      If you call ahead you can also pick up one of their rotisserie chicken made to order. Very nice, if you are strapped for time.

                                                    2. I repeatedly kept reading "chicken" in the title as "children", then I wondered why you were talking about chicken. My mind is playing tricks on me!

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                        I just did the same thing, Marlboro Man!!

                                                        Like many others on this thread, I am also starting to eat more responsibly-reared animals. Eggs, I'll get from a local source whenever I can, but if I need to chuck an egg or 2 into a batter, I won't go out of my way to get local eggs. (Fortunately, I have fairly convenient sources for local eggs.)

                                                        1. re: 4Snisl

                                                          I'm curious why the use for the eggs has a factor in your buying decision. The eggs I prefer (pastured) are a 50 mile drive one way so if I'm out then I buy the best I can at the grocery.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            To me, the freshness and quality of the egg stands out a lot more when it is poached, scrambled, etc.

                                                            Having to go out of my way to get local eggs is pretty rare. However, if I'm hurriedly running errands and getting local eggs means having to go to another store, I'll probably get whatever organic, "free range" eggs are available......

                                                            1. re: 4Snisl

                                                              Oops, sorry, we were on different pages. In addition to the benefit to me, I also make the buying decision based on the benefit to the farmer.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                Sounds like we're at least in the same chapter. :)

                                                                I agree with you, but sometimes, I have to make call depending on what resources are available to me (particularly time). I'm quite fortunate that I don't have to drive 50 miles for good pastured eggs- that's serious loyalty to that particular farmer!

                                                                Can you believe that at one point, about 5 years ago, I was able to get beautiful local eggs delivered to my office (well, a 5 minute walk from my office) for about $1.50/dozen large eggs? I think the farmer usually cut me a break because I ordered lots of other stuff from her and would round up payments or say to keep change.....but still! Sadly, the farmer was attacked by one of her dogs and her injuries caused her and her husband to change their business model so she could recover.....she is doing better, but it was a poignant reminder that farming can be brutal, and often underappreciated work.