WHAT IS A CHICKEN BREAST?
Retail chicken breasts are just one half of the pectoral muscle with the central bone removed. Also known as white meat, the fibers that make up this muscle are fast-twitch (when your survival depends on a burst of speed). Glycogen is the fuel of choice here whereas in slow twitch muscles myoglobin is used. This protein, similar to hemoglobin, carries and stores oxygen which your muscles burn as fuel. The more myoglobin present, the darker the meat and the more often the muscle is used. However the breast muscle was developed for flying, which chickens no longer do. The result is that this skeletal white meat muscle is used much less frequently. Chicken breasts today also have significantly more fat and less protein due to breeding and genetic manipulation. Originally making up 10% of the bird’s today weight, today breasts account for over 20% of their weight on average.
WHERE IS THIS CUT LOCATED?
A chicken breast is a pectoral muscle located underneath the neck. It is split into two parts, each connected by a central breast bone. When the bird is standing upright, these muscles are actually underneath the bird.
IS THE CHICKEN BREAST HEALTHIER THEN OTHER CHICKEN PARTS?
While having less flavor, chicken breasts have less calories and fat then dark meat. However dark meat is richer in certain vitamins and minerals then chicken breast. Both white and dark chicken meat in general are healthy options as their fat is mostly unsaturated.
WHAT RECIPES WORK WELL WITH THIS CUT?
Chicken breast is the ideal chameleon when it comes to different spices and sauces. It has less flavor then dark meat. This allows breasts to become an ideal flavor delivery vehicle for any seasoning. Baking, frying, grilling or poaching, all work equally well when cooking chicken breasts. However no matter the style of cooking, a core temperature above 165 F / 74 C is recommended prior to eating.