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Bodacious Chicken Ta-Tas


MarketStEl
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For some strange reason, there seems to be a glut of chicken breasts around these parts lately.

Supermarket chains are routinely running specials on boneless, skinless chicken breast, offering prices as low as $1.49 a pound in one instance (though that was only good on the first package purchased on a visit) and $1.69/lb quite often.

This is good. We like cheap chicken breast (and will refrain for the moment from the perennial discussion about whether what you buy in the supermarket actually Tastes Like Chicken).

But what's even more astonishing than chicken breast regularly selling for less than ground beef are the size of these hen hooters.

Three-pound packages of chicken breast of late now contain two--count 'em, two--whole breasts. That makes each breast about a pound and a half.

I've even seen four-pound packs containing only two breasts. Imagine: A single breast quarter providing one pound of chicken flesh!

My first thought upon encountering these routinely was for the chickens themselves. Can these poor birds even stand up, let alone roam across the pens or feeding yard (as if that were possible :raz: )?

The next was: These are gonna cause all kinds of problems with the thousands of chicken breast recipes that call for the use of intact breast quarters. Will shoppers simply purchase the specified quantity of supersize breast quarters (thus quite possibly spending more on the chicken than they did when it was $3.49/lb or suchlike) and dutifully go to work on them, not realizing that these mutant mammaries (oops, sorry--birds don't give milk) will in all likelihood throw all the other ingredients out of proportion, along with their waistlines somewhere down the road?

Or will they, as I did the other night when I made mushroom-Cheddar chicken (photos to be posted to the Dinner! thread Real Soon Now), cut the breasts in half horizontally, thus producing a serving size closer to the one that was common in the pre-Frankenbreast era but possibly losing a little in the aesthetic department?

And where do these monster breasts come from, and how did they become so ubiquitous so suddenly?

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

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The same questions were running through my mind last night as my arms struggled to lift some of these things into the pan to brown for arroz con pollo.

Yeah, lots of white meat - but who cares? :rolleyes:

Dinner took longer to make, the portion sizes were too large (so I took out the cleaver and simply made the pieces smaller, but some aesthetic value was disdained in doing so), and there was something just plain spooky about the sizes of these things.

Bigger is not always better. :biggrin:

But here, they were not on sale Sandy. Three of these half breasts went for close to nine dollars.

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Stores and restaurants order chicken breasts by weight(approx), so there is probably a glut on the market and the purveyors are slashing prices to move them. Certain breeds of chickens develop larger than others, genetic engineering? I would think so, growth inducing additives? more than likely.

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I've even seen four-pound packs containing only two breasts.  Imagine: A single breast quarter providing one pound of chicken flesh!

My first thought upon encountering these routinely was for the chickens themselves.  Can these poor birds even stand up, let alone roam across the pens or feeding yard (as if that were possible  :raz: )?

Certain breeds of chickens develop larger than others, genetic engineering? I would think so, growth inducing additives? more than likely.

These birds are most likely hybrids produced without genetic engineering by crossing two specialized strains of Cornish Chickens and White Rock chickens. The Cornish Game Hens in your supermarket are the same exact bird, they're just butchered at a smaller size. These birds have very heavy breasts, short legs and a naturally astronomical growth rate. The rate at which the birds gain weight outstrips their bodies' abilities to cope. They develop joint and heart problems, and their legs are often deformed. I raised these birds one year on my farm, with plenty of space to roam and no feed additives. By twelve weeks of age, walking was painful for them, and they would lay down next to their feeders to eat.

Or will they, as I did the other night when I made mushroom-Cheddar chicken (photos to be posted to the Dinner! thread Real Soon Now), cut the breasts in half horizontally, thus producing a serving size closer to the one that was common in the pre-Frankenbreast era but possibly losing a little in the aesthetic department?

And where do these monster breasts come from, and how did they become so ubiquitous so suddenly?

I can't answer these questions, but I plan to insert the word "Frankenbreast" into as many casual conversations as I can.

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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I find that, here at least, most of these monster breasts are injected with a salt solution that gives them a truly nasty texture.

Foster Farms has some that haven't been "enhanced" but they are still huge. I cook one half breast for my daughter and myself. Doesn't always make for a great presentation.

Food service doesn't want 1 lb. chicken breasts so the big ones go to the public markets.

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BSCB (boneless skinless chicken breasts) are prefered by retail shoppers by about 2 to 1 over whole chickens even though the latter is most often cheaper and very easy to debone and de-skin. So the producers raise, what the retailers want.

Blame the soccer mom's and dad's for that.

In the 1930's the average retail deboning-broiler chicken size, was 3.5 pounds, jumping to 4.5lbs. in the mid 1980's and then hurdling to 5.5lbs in 2004.

It's more profitable for producers to grow less larger birds, than more smaller birds.

Sooo, what's the problem with big breast's?

woodburner

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Most of the time I make good old fashion chicken cutlets so they get sliced anyway, but a few weeks ago I wanted to make an app for a party with chicken legs. The legs out there were big enough for a 2 yr old human to walk with. :blink:

What did chicken used to taste like anyway? :sad:

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

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What did chicken used to taste like anyway? :sad:

Find a supplier of organic or kosher free range birds, rub one with salt, pepper, butter, and thyme and roast it. You can still taste what they used to taste like, it's just a matter of finding a real chicken to eat.

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These birds are most likely hybrids produced without genetic engineering by crossing two specialized strains of Cornish Chickens and White Rock chickens. 

Sorry to be dumb here, but what's a hybrid produced without genetic engineering? If hybridization isn't genetic engineering, what is it? Middle school biology was a long time ago for me.

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These birds are most likely hybrids produced without genetic engineering by crossing two specialized strains of Cornish Chickens and White Rock chickens. 

Sorry to be dumb here, but what's a hybrid produced without genetic engineering? If hybridization isn't genetic engineering, what is it? Middle school biology was a long time ago for me.

Selective breeding and cross-breeding of animals is a type of genetic manipulation, in that the genetics of the animals are changed over many generations by keeping and breeding only those individuals that show desirable traits. This mimics natural selection, and you are limited to what genes already exist within the animals. Genetic engineering is a far more direct form of genetic manipulation, because the genes are altered on a cellular level. Thus, desireable traits can be introduced in one generation by inserting a gene or set of genes into cells. So, the end results can be similar, but the process is far different. Genetic engineering also allows for the introduction of genes from outside sources that could never otherwise cross with a chicken, such as fish or bacteria.

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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