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Tasty Chicken

2007-10-31 13:46:23.315087+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Charlene grew up around chicken farms, and loves chicken. We eat a moderate amount of it, generally "Rocky Jr"s from Petaluma Poultry. To me, it's just another meat, and I'd rather brine it and smoke it or do something else to get some flavor into it rather than just have it as something we cook quickly for an average dinner.

However, we've been getting our occasional beef from Marin Sun Farms, and we picked up a chicken from there. Wow. Completely different experience. Just braised in a pan, that meat had fantastic flavor and subtleties.

Anyone who tries telling me that food is getting cheaper isn't factoring in quality. Go find your local producer who's not just pumping creatures full of cheap corn. It's worth the additional cost.

And Michael Bauer has a blog entry about his father taking pride in the butchering business that felt apropos to that today:

His decision to retire came in the late 1970s when the last company he dealt with stopped selling sides of beef. Like the other companies they began to offer only cuts, often sealed in Cryovac packages.

"You can't age meat in that stuff," he said, "all it does is turn sour." Instead of selling what he considered an inferior product, he decided to get out. At the time, I was shocked because my dad didn't have any hobbies other than work.

[ related topics: Food Bay Area Birds ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-31 16:13:52.44952+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

Alexis recently started really looking at the food we eat (it all started with deteriorating gums...) and, as a result, we've begun buying from an Amish farm (no website ;) nearby that sells raw milk and "pasture-ized" chicken, beef, etc.

I can't necessarily tell you there is a difference in taste, but I can tell you that the cost difference is dramatic. The conditions the animals are kept in is also dramatically different. There is another farm on my cycling route that keeps their milk-producers in a barn all the time. I certainly wouldn't want to buy raw milk from them.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-31 16:33:05.452638+00 by: Dan Lyke

We've noticed the flavor in the beef (we just won't buy supermarket beef any more), and now the chicken, and in my adult life I've completely gotten out of the milk habit because I was raised on raw milk, mostly Jersey and Brown Swiss, and pasteurized Holstein milk just ain't worth consuming.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-31 20:40:20.701497+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

You know, I didn't realize it till Alexis started looking at it, but I drank raw milk till I was 8 or so when my family moved south. My parents bought it because it was cheaper then and my mother could make butter with it. It didn't take long of drinking the raw stuff till my son decided he didn't like anything else.

But I did have some chicken tonight and it does have a different flavor. Alexis thinks it is partly how they drain all the blood out and partly the freshness.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-11-01 09:22:54.023994+00 by: DaveP

Huh. I was raised on a farm, and I keep forgetting that not everyone knows that animals taste different depending on what they eat (who was it telling me the other day that vegetarians taste better?).

If you're having trouble finding pasture-fed beef, look for alternatives. Yak, because it takes twice as long to raise to half the weight of a beef critter (but you can pasture four times as many on the same land) has a very nice flavor.

Similarly, free-range chickens. There's actually a pronounced difference between white and dark meat in a bird that's been running around vs. one raised in a pen, both because of the food, but also because of the exercise.

I don't remember the details of the economics of it for sure, but my guesstimate is that given the current spike in corn prices (because burning food in cars makes oh so much sense), the price differential between free-range and corn-fed in a feedlot is going to shrink, if it hasn't already. Maybe all those ethanol subsidies will actually lead to tastier critters!