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Old 04-20-2012, 09:00 AM   #1
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Breasts

Ah. Now I have your attention.

I am fascinated by how big chicken portions seem to be in the States. I have the Food Network channel and like to catch up with different chefs on there. I've seen Rachel Ray, Tyler Florence, oooh and someone who grills meat, Bobby Flay? I love Barefoot Contessa the best though.
Anyway I digress.

The breasts are huge! The chickens must be massive !!! Is this the case and why ?

I hate a scrawny chicken. Give me big plump bird anytime but they are quite hard to find here especially if you want organic or free range, which cost the earth.

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Old 04-20-2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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Americans are, by and large, white meat eaters. More boneless skinless chicken breasts are sold than any other part. Big breasts are a selling point.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:16 AM   #3
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I bought two bone-in chicken breast halves for dinner last night. They were possibly the largest that I have ever bought. There were 2 in the package and the package was 4 POUNDS! They looked like they were more from a small turkey!

Free range, organic chickens are usually smaller or more "normal" size here. When buying chickens whole, they are usually around 4 pounds, although we have larger birds that are marketed as "oven stuffer" that can be on average 7-8 pounds.

I would love to see how big this chicken was that we ate last night!
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:26 AM   #4
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Gravy Queen,

Hilarious post !

Yes, I have to say chickens seem alot larger in the USA than in Spain or Italy.

@ Andy: are large breasts really a selling point ? ! In the 21st Millennium, breasts can be any size you order !!

Ha ha ha ...

Have a nice wkend.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:31 AM   #5
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Darling small breasts are a let down but I'm sure you know a bit of padding works wondersClick image for larger version

Name:	garden & BBQ 512.jpg
Views:	306
Size:	41.4 KB
ID:	13534 clic on pic to make the breasts bigger
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:36 AM   #6
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I'm sure they have been breeding for large birds here, but I suspect there is probably some growth hormone involved. That would explain why the organic ones are smaller.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:40 AM   #7
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Bonio darling I don't need any padding. I love a good stuffing though. Obsessed with it!

So, the chickens are bred to be bigger, not many buy free range then? It can be quite a snobby thing here "oh I ONLY eat free range catholic presbyterian chickens who have been treated well and raised on Cruise Liners".

Nah, I just want a big plump one!!
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:43 AM   #8
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Gravy Queen,

You certainly have all the Members checking out your post !!! See, all it takes is a body part or hedonistic expression ... ha ha ha



Tax Lady,

Yes, I am in agreement --- Spanish organic chickens, called Coral, are quite a bit smaller ...

Bolas,

Thanks for the visuals !

Have a nice wkend.

Margi.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolas De Fraile View Post
Darling small breasts are a let down but I'm sure you know a bit of padding works wondersAttachment 13534 clic on pic to make the breasts bigger

- chicken breast augmentation?
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:05 AM   #10
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I actually did some research on this awhile back because I wondered the same thing. I'm generally untrusting of the corporate food industry, so I just assumed that chickens were given growth hormones or something scary was added to the feed. Turns out it isn't anything like that. Growth hormones for chicken are illegal here, just like they are in most places (antibiotics are a different story, however).

There are two factors that cause the larger breasts: genetics and age. Like Andy said, most people in this country have been conditioned over time to believe that fat is bad, so we've become a nation of white meat eaters. The poultry industry has responded by breeding chickens that tend to be "top-heavy". Also, US chickens go to market an average of two weeks later than in other parts of the world.

As for organic or free-range chickens having smaller breasts, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. Some farms raise so-called "heritage breeds" that are smaller and more like chickens were when I was a kid. Others raise the same bland-tasting big breasted birds used by food biggies Purdue and Tyson.

Though I like chicken, I don't eat a lot of it because the free-range antibiotic-free (and maybe Presbyterian ;)) farm chickens I prefer cost almost four times what the standard supermarket birds cost. But they have a lot more flavor, or at least I think so. Even the breast meat is meatier. We buy 8-10 whole roaster chickens a year and freeze them. About half of them I'll cut up into smaller portions. The rest we roast whole. Whole roasted chicken seems to be something that not many people here in the US do much of anymore. Which is kind of a shame.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:05 AM   #11
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Chickens and turkeys are bred that way here by the factory farmers. Their breasts are so large that they cant walk properly, if they are allowed to walk at all.

If you buy totally non factory birds, like heirloom or heritage turkeys, you will be very surprised at their proportions.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:08 AM   #12
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YES! We Americans like big breasts!
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:33 AM   #13
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Bonio darling I don't need any padding. I love a good stuffing though. Obsessed with it!

So, the chickens are bred to be bigger, not many buy free range then? It can be quite a snobby thing here "oh I ONLY eat free range catholic presbyterian chickens who have been treated well and raised on Cruise Liners".

Nah, I just want a big plump one!!
A castrated Rooster is what you need. My Dad would chop a few every month, this has two benefits.

1 they cock a doodle do like Maria Callas.
2 They grow quickly to the size of small Turkeys.

The down side was for little jimmy our prize cock when Dad put him in with the flock he got rather confused

Queen we British Stuff a lot as you know, in fact that is why we live in Great Britain. The Great in Great Britain was put there because we stuffed all sorts of nation and called them our own. Our ex colonial serfs do not call it stuffing because they dont tend to stuff, the cook the stuffing in a tray and refer to it as dressing. I like stuffing and dressing in no particular order.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolas De Fraile View Post
A castrated Rooster is what you need. My Dad would chop a few every month, this has two benefits.

1 they cock a doodle do like Maria Callas.
2 They grow quickly to the size of small Turkeys.

The down side was for little jimmy our prize cock when Dad put him in with the flock he got rather confused

Queen we British Stuff a lot as you know, in fact that is why we live in Great Britain. The Great in Great Britain was put there because we stuffed all sorts of nation and called them our own. Our ex colonial serfs do not call it stuffing because they dont tend to stuff, the cook the stuffing in a tray and refer to it as dressing. I like stuffing and dressing in no particular order.
I'm very fond of capon. Not only are they big, they are more juicy and tender than chickens.

Where I live, most people don't know about them, so they get sold as "big chickens". Maybe that is happening in parts of the US too.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:55 AM   #15
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The size of many chicken breasts in the U.S. today borders on the freakish. It's a matter of breeding and feeding. A chicken bred to become enormous in the allowed 40 days is not going to be a very flavorful chicken, and while it had been designed to have large muscles, they are not very developed muscles. That has all sorts of results. And, while growth hormones may be out, dosing water with salts increases weight and therefore profit. You can do an awful lot to a chicken for the sake of weight, when you only have to keep the chicken alive for six weeks. Do you not find that these chickens give off annoying amounts of water during cooking? They are big chickens, but not good chickens. There is some hope that the trend toward local products may increase the availability of real chickens.

When you read the legal histories of large chicken producers, like Tyson, it's clear that they are dedicated to working every possible angle to circumvent the spirit of even the corporate-friendly food laws.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:42 AM   #16
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Do you not find that these chickens give off annoying amounts of water during cooking?
I found these giant breasts to be really juicy, but when cooking (slow smoking for an hour and then grilling them) they gave off very little water.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:59 AM   #17
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whole roasted chicken seems to be something that not many people here in the US do much of anymore. Which is kind of a shame.
You are right. I brought a few chickens, quarterd and did them up on the bbq for a party and some of the people didn't seem to know how to eat them. Some of the teenagers and young adults seemed awkward.(I don't think it was how they were cooked, I got compliments from a few other people) I think most of the chicken people eat now just require a fork or they eat it in between a burger bun...
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:33 PM   #18
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The size of many chicken breasts in the U.S. today borders on the freakish. It's a matter of breeding and feeding. A chicken bred to become enormous in the allowed 40 days is not going to be a very flavorful chicken, and while it had been designed to have large muscles, they are not very developed muscles. That has all sorts of results. And, while growth hormones may be out, dosing water with salts increases weight and therefore profit. You can do an awful lot to a chicken for the sake of weight, when you only have to keep the chicken alive for six weeks. Do you not find that these chickens give off annoying amounts of water during cooking? They are big chickens, but not good chickens. There is some hope that the trend toward local products may increase the availability of real chickens.

When you read the legal histories of large chicken producers, like Tyson, it's clear that they are dedicated to working every possible angle to circumvent the spirit of even the corporate-friendly food laws.
I agree with this and the other comments along the same line. Chicken breast meat is the most expensive chicken cut and the more producers can make the more they profit. They're breeding and feeding them for large breasts, and slaughtering them later to get this result.

IMO breast meat is the least flavorful and driest part of the chicken. Most often I buy thighs or leg quarters, and even when buying skinless boneless I buy thigh meat, not breast meat.

I guess most Americans don't agree with me regarding their favorite chicken meat.
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:54 PM   #19
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These large breasts freak me out, sometimes. I usually cook just one for my husband and me. If I am making chicken parm I cut one in half and pound the 2 pieces to the thinness needed. Works for me.
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:24 PM   #20
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I am with Greg. I do not like white meat. Chicken or turkey. Dry and no flavor. Give me the chicken of my youth. Two chickens in the oven for Sunday dinner for six folks. Lots of flavor and enough juices to make a reasonable amount of gravy for everyone.

Now don't get me started on skinless parts. YUK!!!
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