Dark Meat? White Meat?

Chicken Breastchicken-legIt’s National Chicken Month and to celebrate, many of my posts over the next couple of weeks will focus on – you guessed it – chicken! First up, the difference between white and dark meat.

Dark meat. White meat. Dark meat? White meat? I can remember as a kid hearing these words tossed around while standing in line at KFC. I had no idea what it meant then, only that it somehow affected how many drumsticks – my personal favorite – ended up in the bucket. At some point I figured out that white meat referred to the oft-overcooked chicken breast and wings and the moist, juicy legs and thighs were the dark meat. And here’s why…

Dark meat’s darker in color due to the presence of a protein called myoglobin. Myoglobin supplies oxygen to the chicken’s muscles, so the more the muscle’s used, the more myoglobin in the muscle. Chickens don’t fly so the breast and wing aren’t put to much use, requiring very little myoglobin. The thigh and leg muscles, however, are worked frequently, (all that running around like a chicken with its head…well, you get the picture) requiring more myoglobin.

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1 Comment

Filed under Small Bites

One response to “Dark Meat? White Meat?

  1. Neat. Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

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