Thank you to my niece Aislyn for modeling with one of their chickens for the featured photo!
There is a problem with our chickens! If you have not experienced the revolting bite of a woody chicken breast thank your lucky stars. There is a lot of media on how badly we raise chickens and all the faults within the industry. I won’t go into those.. much of which has been changing internally within the industry. What I will address here is the “woody” issue with chicken breasts.
Chickens are raised to produce big wings. The wings are the most valuable portion of the chicken because there are only 2 and in most cases the tip 1/3 of the wing is shipped to Japan. This creates a problem as the chickens reach a size that is to large for tender breast meat. To top this off if the market price is down plants will wait a few more days to slaughter further adding to the size.
The result is chicken breasts that develop the “woody” condition. This makes the breasts almost inedible there is nothing harmful in eating it but it is like shoe leather. Generally you can see from the picture that the woody breast has white ligament lines through it. Chicken packers are working around this condition by grinding and packing thin sliced breast meat but the big breasts still infect our grocery stores. I personally will only buy Giant brand Organic Individually wrapped small breasts or chicken tenders.
The industry is spending a lot of money trying to figure this out but currently there are only 6 small bird packers in the US. This means every other packer is producing big birds which all run the risk of having the woody condition. Buying organic or all natural will not reduce the risk of this condition the chicken must be below 6 lbs to make sure this condition does not exist.