Sometimes, there is a right answer.


By Emily Thorson

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to food most things are a matter of taste. You can prefer chocolate to vanilla or vice-versa. You can love Granny Smiths and hate Galas, or adore red peppers and detest the green ones.

But when it comes to chicken, you cannot legitimately like white meat better than dark meat. White meat simply does not taste as good. It is not an opinion, it is a fact. Claiming that white meat “just tastes better” than dark meat is the food equivalent of claiming that a Coors Lite “just tastes better” than a Victory Prima Pils. No, it does not. You just don’t know what beer is supposed to taste like. Figure that out and then get back to me.

A few notes:
Some have argued that while dark meat is better on its own, white meat is better for sandwiches or in chicken salad. This is incorrect. White meat is acceptable in these situations, largely because its relative tastelessness is disguised by other flavors, but dark meat would be better. It’s like when a pretty girl wears a hideous dress. She’s still pretty, but it’s not because of the dress, it’s in spite of it. She’d be a hell of a lot prettier wearing a dress made out of dark meat.

What’s that? You agree with me about the chicken but it’s not really fair to compare Victory and Coors Light because they’re two totally different beers aiming to do different things? Sorry, incorrect. They’re both lagers and they’re both attempting to taste good. One succeeds and one fails.

Photo taken from Tom’s flickr feed. And yes, that is me. And a chicken.


16 responses to “Sometimes, there is a right answer.

  1. I would LOVE to see a dress made out of dark meat. That’s probably going to be the funniest thing I read all week.

    Staying on topic: what about boneless, skinless thighs? Acceptable, or might as well be a frozen breast?

  2. Absolutely priceless.

    Mmm….dark meat dresses are only complete with bacon undergarments.

  3. Absolutely correct! I cannot imagine how boneless skinless thighs don’t count – lately that is actually my top choice for cooking chicken on the grill…

    sometimes i’ll resort to chicken breasts for cooking in a pan because they’re easier to cut up and prep – and then because their lack of flavor is offset by good seasonings…

    but of course – dark meat is most certainly better.

    and coors light is only barely preferable to water most of the time…

  4. But the texture of dark meat!

    The texture of food is as important to me as its taste, and I find the texture of dark meat unpleasant; even when it’s cooked right it still has some of that rubbery, stringy quality. On its own, okay, but in chicken salad? The texture would destroy it. Dark meat does make much better chicken soup, I’ll admit.

    Obviously, the right answer is to generally eschew chicken in favor of more delicious beef, lamb, and pork.

  5. You have made my week. Thank you for the big chuckle! But, unfortunately, your taste buds suffer from dark meat delusion. White meat – so much better.

  6. verplanck colvin

    emily – right on. I am a firm believer in dark meat, especially in turkey.

    lynn – please educate me as to what white meat tastes like. To me, it tastes like nothing; only suitable when a rub or marinade is applied.

  7. George–to tell you the truth, I didn’t know they even MADE skinless boneless thighs. Whenever I buy chicken that’s not a rotisserie chicken (my poultry of choice) I just ask for regular old thighs. The idea is appealing–I’m pretty lazy and I don’t usually eat the skin anyway (I know, sacrilege)–but I’d have to try it first.

  8. I love dark meat – I don’t care what the naysayers, well, what they say!

    White chicken meat looks like people, IMHO.

    My favorite parts of the chicken are the “oysters” on the ass/bottom of a baked beauty. The rest of the chicken is useless to me!

  9. File this under “amen.” Dark meat = delicious. White meat = chicken? really? not so sure.

  10. Chinese cookbooks will tell you that people in the Sichuan provinces feed chicken breats to their dogs. They’re considered to dry for human consumption.

    Truly, they are a wise culture.

  11. Also truly, I can’t spell. Or punctuate. Weird how I make my living as a writer, eh!?

  12. this is an odd food choice on which to anchor culinary absolutism. chinese cookbooks aside, there’s an awful lot of world cuisine (french for example) and a great many chefs (say, keller) that don’t seem to believe that the breast is solely fit for the dogs.

    what’s more, i’m unsure of the accuracy of the opinion of one who avows the skin of the bird. after all, it’s that fatty goodness that combines with the juicy breast and a roast chicken to give a little bit of culinary heaven.

    white vs dark is trade off. it’s depth of of flavor vs textural succulence. and while one might have an opinion of what to trade in general, one’s diet would be poorer without the variety.

    on the other hand, if one truly wishes to take a fundamentalist stance, i believe the sot-l’y-laisse is the answer:

  13. Right answer?

    No, still just your opinion. Good luck imposing it on others…

  14. Thanks, Coco! I appreciate the encouragement as I continue my quest to bend as many people as possible to my dark meat will.

  15. emily, i think i love you.
    that was hilarious.
    also, i’m craving chicken? who craves chicken? good job, i say.

  16. Breasts on the bone can make excellent fried chicken, where the flavor of the crust dominates and the texture and moisture of the breast are superior to the greasy and stringy thigh.

    Otherwise, thighs rule

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