Lesley Kennedy

Chicken Breast is No Longer Best

Chicken ScarparielloJust when we thought America was a nation obsessed with breasts, we find out we’re really a country that’s all about legs and thighs.


Well, when it comes to chicken, anyway.


The Wall Street Journal reports that while white breast meat used to be all the rage, more and more people seem to have a hankering for dark poultry meat, with sales of dark cuts on the rise.


According to the newspaper, the demand is at least partially due to TV cooking shows calling for the flavor of thighs and legs, as well as more immigrant buying power.


“In the past, it was always a struggle to get rid of the thigh meat,” Whole Foods global meat buyer Theo Weening tells the Journal.


No longer.


“Every single day we have shortage of dark meat,“ chicken company Bell & Evans owner Scott Sechler tells the newspaper. “It’s getting worse every year. Customers started to realize that if you threw them on the grill, they’re a lot more flavorful.”


Price doesn’t seem to really play into the dark-over-white turn-around. According to the Journal, boneless thighs cost about the same as boneless breasts.


So, how will the poultry industry deal with the popularity of dark meat if demand continues to increase?


“If the industry realizes tastes are changing, perhaps they’ll need to shift the genetics,” industry analyst Akshay Jagdale tells the newspaper.


Sorry, but I’d much rather have a bigger, less flavorful breast than know my dark meat came from a chicken with three legs. You have to draw the line somewhere, right?


Read nutritionist Monica Reinagel’s “Dark Meat: Five Reasons You Should Be Eating It Now”

 Make the Chicken Scarpariello pictured above.

White meat or dark? Your call. Check out all our chicken recipes!




28 Responses to “Chicken Breast is No Longer Best”

  • Propecia says:

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  • Winford says:

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  • Scott says:

    Ha, you dummy, the chicken breast may also come from a chicken with 3 legs duhhhhhhh

  • Julia says:

    I say that it is true about the leg thigh and breast thing. I like legs better than anything

  • Gerald says:

    I have known that the dark meat on fowl was more flavorful and even better smoked or grilled than the breast…I learned this from my grandmother over 50 years ago..The breast dries out and becomes stringy when smokes or grilled….So what people are now learning is not new they are just slow learning it…Even brined breasts will dry out faster and have a flat taste…

  • Kristian says:

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  • Jealith says:

    White meat only became popular because the media kept insisting it was healthier. It has never been more flavorful and all the things people did to make it so just added more calories to it which defeats the purpose of eating it in the first place. Now they (the media) are saying it’s swinging back to dark meat. That will only bring the price up and that’s the whole point. If you really want more flavorful chicken, try eating one that is 2 years old not 8 weeks. Huge differance. I actually would not be surprised if they try to genetically alter chickens to be 4 legged animals. It’s all about the money after all. I never buy grocery store meat. You never know what you’re gonna get.

  • Blick says:

    Why the comment about three legs? Does not belong and ends a good article on a sour note. White and dark chicken are both good, with differing flavor and texture. Why denigrate one after acknowledging others extol its taste?

  • Angie says:

    “Sorry, but I’d much rather have a bigger, less flavorful breast than know my dark meat came from a chicken with three legs. You have to draw the line somewhere, right?”

    Ummmm – you do know that those bigger breasts are genetically engineered, right?

  • Ann says:

    Have always loved the chicken thighs & legs.
    I now take the bones out and they cook all the way through.
    . Glad my children and grandchildren
    want the breast,,hubby and I can still have our
    chicken thighs and legs. They are great breaded
    or roasted.

  • Vivian Danziger says:

    Dark meat is tastier, jucier and cheaper.- no contest

  • Kelly says:

    I think it’s more that people are having to spend less on food than anything to do with cooking shows.

  • Carol Cannon says:

    I spent most of my adult life using the legs and thighs because they were cheap and I could feed my husband and my sons more food for less money. BUT…. now that the cooking shows are showing more and more recipes using the dark meat, I’ve noticed the price of it rising higher and higher every month. All meat products have become so expensive that I sometimes feel like I need to take out a bank loan just to buy it. Living on Soc. Sec. as my only source of income I find that my diet is becoming less and less healthy. Don’t know what to do about it.

    • Sunny says:

      I am also a SC and my suggestion to you would be to eat and buy more vegetables and fruit when they are in season. When you feel you must have meat or fowl, eat a “helluva lot less” of it at any meal and you will, like me, be able to get by on that meager monthly SS check much better than you are now!
      P.S. If you buy paper towels, stop doing so, and use a sponge, (you’ll be saving the environment as well as your pocketbook and you will feel very proud of yourself).

  • A. Hall says:

    I don’t think tastes have changed that much, I think what’s changed is that people are looking for ways to spend less because of the econmony and the dark cuts have been (and still are) cheaper. You can get legs or leg quarters for $1.00 to $1.29 at my local grocery store in Texas, breast meat is still a lot higher.

  • sara bojarski says:

    I agree that dark meat chicken is better! It’s cheaper at my grocery store !

  • Vad says:

    Chicken is always simply to cook, but still there are some tricks:)

    • Julia says:

      Vad, I think that it is really simple to cook chicken to but it does get a little tricky once it gets in the pan because I cooked some today and it turned out great but the grease kept popping on me. But I was ok. I have a great passion for cooking now. And my dad was a chef once. But now he feeds sick people who really need help at a hospital so yeah never give up you passion for food. As long as I am cooking then I am happy. Find your dream, like I did and hold on to it and never let it go. Embrace the inner you.

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  • Colleen says:

    I have always perferred thighs over breasts when cooking chicken. More flavor and it just cooks to a more pleasing texture.

    Recently, however, I’ve run across a couple recipes for chicken where breast is better. Mostly they are ones where you pound the chicken thinly and saute it with a sauce. It just doesn’t have the right mouth feel if I make it with thighs.

  • Stephanie says:

    My grocery store disagrees that boneless breast and legs/thighs are the same price but thanks anyway Wall St. Journal.

  • Lorraine says:

    Always thighs and legs for us..yummy, moist and delicious

  • Joe says:

    Both are fine with me. Usually cook white meat, especially if it is bone-in as I have always had trouble getting thighs cooked all the way to the bone. As to white meat being grainy or dry: depends on how you prep it. If you take it straight out of the pack, salt and pepper it, throw it in a 400 degree oven, it WILL be hard on the outer layer and dry inside. I always either inject it or brine it before cooking and never, never go over 350 degree oven temp.

    • Donna says:

      I used to cook in a restaurant. This trick works with the chicken thighs and chicken legs, Just run your forefinger down beside the bone as far as you can. Will open the piece up enough to let it cook all the way through. Hope this helps…

  • Carol says:

    Dark meat. It always has more flavor. White tends to be dry and grainy.

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