What causes chickens to have white and dark meat. Explained

Discussion in 'Food and Drink' started by rhythmdevils, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Chickens don’t fly obviously. So they don’t use their wings which are controlled by their “breast” muscles. This is why chicken breast meat is white. They do use their legs though which is why the legs and thighs are dark meat.

    This is also why duck meat is all dark (they fly), and also probably part of the reason people say duck meat is “greasier” than chicken meat. Because dark meat is fattier and the duck meat we get access to was probably used more than the chicken meat most people eat (wild vs sitting getting tube fed)

    Most significantly for you to know is that dark meat contains significantly more nutrients than white meat because the muscles were used you can imagine all the things this causes - all the additional blood flow to muscles that are used, and all the additional nutrients needed by those muscles for the whole lifetime of the chicken.

    This is also a good reason to believe that pastured chicken meat would be more nutritious because they are so much more free to move and use those muscles, not to mention their improved diet because they walk around eating bugs and things which is their natural diet and those nutrients go into their muscles and eggs.

    I thought you all night find this interesting and useful. It’s something I had never heard before being told by a crazy nutritionist I saw for awhile.
     
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  2. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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    I think it'd also stand to reason that ducks would tend to be fattier due to the need for more insulation from the water.
     
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  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Maybe yeah that’s a good idea. But I think it’s mainly because it’s all dark meat that’s heavily used. Maybe both.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Real free range chicken actually tastes different. More gamey, more wild, actually less fat. I think ducks are fatty because they need the energy reserves for migration.

    Now in Taiwan, I had a regional chicken in the mountains which was tortured / force fed with corn to the point where the meat was yellow (and fatty). That was some really good chicken.
     
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  5. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    You get yellowish "corn-fed" chicken in British supermarkets. I don't know if the feeding amounts to torture or not. I guess all non-free-range chickens live a life of torture... and the free-range ones probably don't exactly look forward to slaughter.

    Despite all this, I am not a vegetarian. Life is complicated --- is my feeble excuse.
     
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  6. Pogo

    Pogo Friend

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    @rhythmdevils , ask your nutritionist why the tailmeat from an alligator is white instead of dark., It's the most used muscle on a gator.
    Bonus points if you get a picture of her face when you ask...
     
  7. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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  8. skem

    skem Friend

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  9. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    Did you know that going in, or learn about the practice afterwards? No judgement on you, but I personally draw the line when I know animals have suffered just to make the meal taste a little better. I've no problem with animals given the respect of a quick and relatively painless death for their meat though. I guess anyone could make the argument that even that isn't likely with modern factory farming.
     
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  10. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    A Taiwanese coworker told me that he doesn't like to eat pork in America because it has a funny taste and odor that isn't like pork in Taiwan. He said the reason is that they only cook with female pork in Taiwan but in America we use also use male pork.

    I hadn't heard of this before and looked it up. It's something called boar taint, caused by a male hormone that permeates throughout the pig's body and produces a foul odor when the meat is cooked. To prevent this, male piglets are normally castrated while very young. However, even castration isn't completely effective and some people are very sensitive to the taste and odor.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    No idea really, Cousins wanted to pull all the stops, so we tried many types of cuisine from Chiang-Kai Shek's province to Thai tweaked for Taiwanese tastes, to night market street food, to local aboriginal. This dish I believe was a local aborigine cuisine. The restaurant was located a little more than half to way up the central mountains. It's possible the chicken could have been free-range, but looking at the fat, I have to assume the chicken was force fed into a blimp.

    What was interesting is that my aunt and uncle ran a pig farm. Wife couldn't stop repeating"are they happy?" with a look of horror, while I was like "STFU, that's rude." My uncle was nodding with a grin "oh yes, they are happy." There's no such thing as humane animal husbandry in the modern world. Just too many mouths to feed on the planet today necessitating efficiency. The pig farm experience was so depressing that my daughter has tried being a vegan several times. I think she made it three days, until I cooked Japanese style curry chicken (her favorite) and dangled it into her face. Yum, yum, look what dad made.

    I've smelled it more in some pork than others. I only buy the Berkshire pork from the Chinese store these days. I didn't hear from my uncle that they only raised the females and killed off the males. Just that they castrated the males early. I think they mostly grew them up as quickly as possible for slaughter. It could be one of the personal things and maybe in Taiwan they pay more attention or don't use certain substances that are used in the US. Taiwanese people tend to have their family recipes and can be extremely picky about ingredients.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  12. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I don’t know there’s at least better and worse. Marin Sun Farms in the Bay Area is pretty great as far as I know. I’ve never been able to try one of their turkeys on thanksgiving because they aren’t big enough for my mother. Which is because they’re more naturally fed and raised. She gets huge Diestel “free range” turkeys. Free range is kind of a floating word at this point I don’t know how humane diestel farms is just that it’s not the best but also not terrible. But it’s impossible to only eat meat from places like Marin Sun Farms if you do things like buy chicken sausage or go out to eat ever.

    I’ve gone vegetarian multiple times in my life after certain experiences. Funny one of those was after eating probably the most humanely raised chicken of my life at a little shack of a restaurant in a little village in Ecuador when, while eating chicken, there were chickens walking around freely around me. A pretty unpleasant experience. Not to mention what mangey weird animals they are of all the birds why’d we have to pick chickens?

    But in the end I think it’s healthier to eat some meat and always come back to it. And just make an effort to eat humanely raised meat which is usually healthier anyways. Not just chicken, but grass fed beef is much healthier than soy/corn/whatever fed beef.

    It’s just like vegetables really, how they’re grown affects the nutritional value.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
  13. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    She’d probably either have a reason or do research and find one. She generally knew her shit though she was kind of die hard and saw things too black and white for my dietary needs.
     
  14. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    I drove to Oakland to pick up one of their heritage birds one year. It was wonderful.
     
  15. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    magic 8 ball internet says oxygen via myoglobin
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Scientists should genetically engineer chickens with no brain, well maybe just a brain stem for vital functions. Farmers can then hook them up to Matrix pods and grow via force fed corn. I wouldn't be surprised if Onion News has already done a bit on this.
     
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  17. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    With carefully pruning, one could get multiple bodies per stem.
     
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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    That's a brilliant idea! Conjoined bodies.
     
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  19. Pogo

    Pogo Friend

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    And flavor their feed with buffalo wing sauce?
     
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  20. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    If not radioactive debris, microplastics, aluminum, or concrete, of the things put forward as potential stratigraphic evidence for the so-called ”Anthropocene” are chicken bones. It’s quite eyebrow-raising to read that, as of 2018, apparently, there are more than 20 billion chickens in the world at any given moment and that their slaughter amounts to a “rate of carcass accumulation that is unprecedented in the natural world.”* It seems as though the broiler chicken, more specifically, will be the one to contribute to the fossil record:

    “Human-directed changes in breeding, diet and farming practices demonstrate at least a doubling in body size from the late medieval period to the present in domesticated chickens, and an up to fivefold increase in body mass since the mid-twentieth century. Moreover, the skeletal morphology, pathology, bone geochemistry and genetics of modern broilers are demonstrably different to those of their ancestors… Broiler chickens, now unable to survive without human intervention, have a combined mass exceeding that of all other birds on Earth; this novel morphotype symbolizes the unprecedented human reconfiguration of the Earth's biosphere.”**

    As much as I love them, there’s something vaguely disturbing about “buffalo wings.” I suppose it’s the species confusion that gets me, not the size. Either that or discovering them after moving to the US in adulthood. As kids in England we used to joke that our grandparents harped on about chickens not tasting like they once did. When cage-free organic farms became a thing we stopped joking about it.

    And as for yellow chickens, they’re also common in Mexico where corn is the standard feed.
     
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