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jaymer

For those who buy cases of boneless skinless chicken. Any bad chicken? hard? yucky?

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To you fellow caterers and restauranteurs who buy cases of chicken, have you noticed a trend of "bad chicken" in the last year or so, w.r.t. breasts that seem "harder" than normal, or discolored?

When you cut into one of these, its definitely not the same texture as a "normal" breast.

And if you're unlucky enough to taste one, you feel it hard and a weird taste.

 

Last spring I was getting breasts from my local GFS Marketplace.  While high on lots of stuff (unless you have a truck account with discounted SKUs), sometimes their market price is right in line with Restaurant Depot, but you don't have to buy entire cases to get the good price (pork loins, butts, odd packs of ribs, etc.).

So I was getting cases of breasts and noticed and odd piece or two out of each 10-lb-group in the case which were as I described above.  

Not until after cooking (and tasting) did I realize something was really wrong.  My wife asked me to taste a piece of her chicken parm and I almost heaved, while 3 others were fine.

 

So i stopped getting stuff there after 3-4 cases, effectively switching growers, and hadn't noticed it again until this week with a case from RD.

If you pound them (to tenderize and/or normalize thickness), you probably won't notice it.

If you have a prep guy slicing breasts for chicken fingers, you probably won't be told about it because he most likely won't notice (or care).

If you're cooking whole breasts (smoking, as I was), you don't notice at all until a customer would complain about it on his plate.  (From splitting the two halves and trimming fat, you don't cut into them enough to experience the texture difference.)

Only (in my exp.) if you handle each breast and notice a color diff (mine had lines, like the grain, very visible across the top) OR you are cubing/slicing each beast then you can actually feel a graininess through the knife as you cut. 

 

OK, enough rant.  Hope to hear from someone who noticed this and found out how/why. 

I'm sorry I can't afford to buy "non-randoms" where this may not be an issue.  I thought random only meant in the weight, and not the quality :)

 

thx

jaymer...

 

 

 

 

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If you have ever walked into a commercial factory farm chicken barn, you will wonder why salmonella, woody breast, weak and/or deformed bones, sad looking livers and now white striping are the only problems and how it possibly took this long to start surfacing. Hint: you need respiratory protection for even a brief visit to these barns. It amazes me that any chickens survive this hell. Many don't.

 

Quote from the kitchn link:

 

"Well, How Common Is It?

A 2016 study by University of Arkansas and Texas A&M found 96 percent of a sample of 285 birds were affected by white striping. But according to a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, the striping condition only impacts a "small percentage of chicken meat" and is limited to larger birds."

HaHaHaHa. Not drinkin' that koolaid.

 

Organic free range chicken had been put on the shopping list.

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Free range is a marketing term.  Legally, a free range chicken has to have access to the out of doors, which generally means there is a door to a small enclosed area with a concrete floor.  Meat chickens are special crossbreeds, developed to get to butchering size within 8 weeks.  For the first 4-6 weeks, minimum, they have to be indoors, because they can't regulate their body temp.  For the second 4 weeks, they are kept in big barns, thousands of chickens, but they do have a door, and if they are close, they might go outside.  

 

Most 'organic' feed right now is being imported from Europe, and many of those loads of feed are not actually organic at all, they are just labeled organic.  Of course, you realize that organic does NOT mean pesticide free.  There is a huge list of pesticides and herbicides that are approved for organic use, and many of them are more toxic than modern, targeted compounds.

 

SO, pay more for that if you like.

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15 hours ago, sparrowgrass said:

Free range is a marketing term.  Legally, a free range chicken has to have access to the out of doors, which generally means there is a door to a small enclosed area with a concrete floor.  Meat chickens are special crossbreeds, developed to get to butchering size within 8 weeks.  For the first 4-6 weeks, minimum, they have to be indoors, because they can't regulate their body temp.  For the second 4 weeks, they are kept in big barns, thousands of chickens, but they do have a door, and if they are close, they might go outside.  

 

Most 'organic' feed right now is being imported from Europe, and many of those loads of feed are not actually organic at all, they are just labeled organic.  Of course, you realize that organic does NOT mean pesticide free.  There is a huge list of pesticides and herbicides that are approved for organic use, and many of them are more toxic than modern, targeted compounds.

 

SO, pay more for that if you like.

 

With all due respect, ma'am, because I know you have a degree in agriculture or similar, organic free range chicken that I can buy tastes a lot better. It's half the size of the factory farmed 99 cents a pound ones in the mainstream, more expensive, but tastes like chicken perfume to me. Like the ones that my grandfolks raised and I helped butcher in Louisiana. They truly were free range and had a large lot to roam around behind a tall chain link fence to keep predators out, and a chicken house with nesting boxes to go into at night. We ate the eggs and the meat, and also raised pork, which was free range. I went with with Grandpa to a local school to collect the food waste from the cafeteria to slop the hogs with. Best meat I ever had the privilege of eating.

 

Also good luck defending Monsanto and Roundup any longer. I know you are a fan. Have you seen the class action lawsuit commercials for it being a carcinogen? Not to mention the fact that farmers, like my family, have pretty much always known it would kill or severely debilitate you pretty quickly if you got it on your skin as a contact poison. I don't have an agricultural degree, but it doesn't take one, IMO, to know that Monsanto bad, chickens raised confined in their own waste products and ammonia gases bad, and free range good.

 

I will concede that some companies do cheat on the free range thing, and that's because our regulations are so skewed toward big business, but there is still some decently raised and very good, superior-tasting meat and chicken products available. I can taste the difference. They are a specialty item and cost a lot more now, but if more people are aware and exert their influence, the price will come down and be affordable to everyone again, as it was before the big boys got greedy. Dinner will be a lot tastier when this comes to fruition.

 

Sheesh, China, with a much larger population than we have manages to deliver live chickens that have been truly free range to market and they are killed to order. They are also cheaper than we pay. I cannot personally testify, but strongly suspect they are much tastier than Tyson and Perdue's offerings. What is wrong with this picture? 

 

I do want to acknowledge that I think you have said in the past that you, yourself raise truly free range chickens. I can't really understand why we have come to be at such odds lately. I always thought you were a very cool lady, but when it comes to Monsanto and them trying to patent the very genes of life, including a "terminator" gene, which even the big business lobby has not been able to push through into law ... yet, I have to speak up. Apparently the idea of that gene escaping and ending all life on the planet is scary enough to stop even the greediest of the Greedy Boys.

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 Prepped about 25 lbs of random breasts the other day - here they are. Every piece in the 40b case was GIANT, and almost every one showed white stripes.

These were purchased from Restaurant Depot - Tampa.

Koch Foods chicken.

 

jaymer...

 

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I truly think the only way around this is to know the farmer you're buying from.  I buy what are known as "tractor chickens."  They live in a wire cage about the size of a good-sided camper trailer, with a wire bottom giving access to grass, bugs and such, and they're moved every two or three days to a different spot on the pasture. Breast is much pinker meat than grocery store chicken. It's all I'll eat.

 

Can't be advertised as "free range." Isn't necessarily organic (depending on the kind of feed used). But it's been raised reasonably humanely, and I'm comfortable "my" farmer doesn't dose his birds with antibiotics and steroids.

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A friend of mine sent me this 5 months ago - its his neighbor in Cincy Ohio area.   pretty cool idea.  was before the summer, so I don't know if they baked to death during the heat.

jaymer...

 

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On 10/12/2017 at 4:24 PM, jaymer said:

 Prepped about 25 lbs of random breasts the other day - here they are. Every piece in the 40b case was GIANT, and almost every one showed white stripes.

These were purchased from Restaurant Depot - Tampa.

Koch Foods chicken.

 

jaymer...

 

IMG_5874.JPG

IMG_5876.JPG

IMG_5875.JPG

IMG_5877.JPG

 

How did they cook-up?  Tough?

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How did they cook up?

 

Well, during prep, you notice that they cut differently.  If you were pre-cutting chicken fingers, then you can feel the knife "grinding" against something as opposed to just slicing into a smooth "normal" breast.

 

I cooked some strips for fajitas, and its not possible to cut a cooked strip [thats going on a tortilla] with just a fork - its harder, springier, tougher.  

And when you bite cooked white-striped chicken, there's a mouth feel thats just not right.  There is resistance - you feel/hear something in your head from your teeth thats not there on normal chicken - not like an apple slice - softer like a pear, but you know something's off.

 

If a restaurant tried to use this for a center of the plate piece, like a chicken parm, or grilled chicken breast, the customer is definitely going to notice something.

Problem is, the prep guy probably didn't care and the owner will never know cause the customer might not say anything.

To be fair, if you're not cutting the chicken when raw, the prep guy can only go by training to see the white stripes - because the whole breast REALLY doesn't look that different to most prep guys, no offense.  But hopefully you know what I mean.  Anyway, what are you going to do, take half a case back to your supplier.  Or multiple cases, cause its going to be there in every one I would imagine.   This was the first time I had an ENTIRE CASE of this crap.

 

Most of this chicken was ground up for chicken salad, so once its real small, I'm not sure you can tell.

 

Although I didn't notice it in this case, in the past I almost threw up biting a piece of it from homemade chicken parm.

I thought I had eliminated the bad pieces and my wife got some and when she said "I think you missed a piece" I tried to dismiss her - cause I thought she was imagining it, but then she made me try it and it was gross tasting as well.

 

jaymer...

 

PS _ I'm doing another case tomorrow - I think I might just buy a case from Sams Club - it comes in Member's Mark retail packs.  Its $.35-.40 cents more / lb. but probably worth it.\

I will definitely take similar pics to compare.

 

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I started noticing this change in texture/quality several months ago. At first I didn't give it a lot of thought, just thinking it was an odd, one off type of thing. The breasts have gotten so large now (10 plus ounces for a boneless/skinless half breast?) that they seem more like small turkeys than chicken. That odd, almost gristly texture in these breasts is very off putting. The only use that I can make of them is to mince them and make something with that. I've tried a number of the premium, organic, free range, blah, blah, blah, (Rocky, Rosie) and they have been just as bad. I'm cooking a lot less chicken now, because I can't depend on it to be good. I'm using a lot more thigh and leg meat when I do cook chicken. At least that still cooks up ok. I wish that I could afford the thirty plus dollar chickens that they sell at the farmer's markets around here, because the Frankenchicken in the stores is not worth buying regardless of how cheaply they sell it for.


Edited by MRE (log)
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