Smart chicken - safe chicken?

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hermitt4d
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2003/12/08 12:41:03 (permalink)

Smart chicken - safe chicken?

No, this is not a chicken joke .

I came across a new product this weekend, Smart Chicken, which is organically raised and 'air cooled' as opposed to being chilled in an ice water bath. The claims are that it is safer, not being subjected to the 'communal bath' during processing, and tastier. Supposedly 'air cooled' processing is common in Europe and Canada.

http://www.smartchicken.com/new.html

I easily overcooked it in my rotisserie, perhaps because it has no water added. It wasn't as juicy, perhaps for the same reason. The legs and thighs were definitely tastier than any chicken I've had in recent memory. I didn't detect much of a taste difference in the breast meat and I thought it actually had less appealing texture than ordinary (Tyson's, Southern Pride, etc.) supermarket chickens.

I paid $2.19 lb at Central Market in Houston for a whole bird; if the other stores in the HEB family carry it, it'll probably be priced lower. That's pretty pricey for a whole chicken; cheaper than kosher birds (Aaron's, Empire) but more than I pay for Buddys All Natural chickens (on special, anyway) which are raised locally. I haven't detected much difference in taste in them, tho.

I know there are some knowledgeable cooks on Roadfood; any comments on the claims made for this processing method Or have you had any experience with the product .

It's so new, no place in Texas is even listed on their chart of merchants that carry it.
#1

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    lleechef
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 13:15:26 (permalink)
    OK, I'll be the first to put in my two cents about Smart Chicken. I bought one (needed to take out a second mortgage) in Anchorage and it was $3.29/lb. Organic they said, air cooled they said, tasted like cardboard I said. I can buy Tyson for $.49 a lb. There's only one truly good chicken on the planet and that's the one that was raised in the barnyard, squawking around and pecking like a true bird. I used to get them at the farm.....they looked like capons, weighing at least 8 pounds and took 3 hours to cook and NO.....the meat NEVER fell off the bones because it was a TRUE HONEST TO GOD CHICKEN. It has taste.....it had texture......it was delicious.
    #2
    scbuzz
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 13:40:24 (permalink)
    Yep ... nothing beats a real farm raised yard bird !!! I think all the junebugs they eat makes them tasty and tender !!! I could be wrong !!! But I don't think soooooooooo !
    #3
    lleechef
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 14:28:03 (permalink)
    clothier, I think the closest kosher butcher to me is in Warsaw.
    #4
    lleechef
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 14:39:43 (permalink)
    don't tell me I have to go to Michigan........
    #5
    lleechef
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 14:58:25 (permalink)
    welllllll.........I could be persuaded......I mean after all, a real Kosher chicken..........as long as you promise me a nice little Armani suit to go along with it....well, I guess so.....
    #6
    lleechef
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 15:44:04 (permalink)
    what do I get for $24,000???
    #7
    scbuzz
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 16:03:10 (permalink)
    Hmmmmmmmm, wonder how one reacts to spilling hot dog chili on an $8000 suite ????

    Er ..... I guess that should be Suit instead !!!!
    #8
    lleechef
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 16:10:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by scbuzz

    Hmmmmmmmm, wonder how one reacts to spilling hot dog chili on an $8000 suite ????

    you'd better have a good dry cleaner!!!!!!
    #9
    JimInKy
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 17:05:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by scbuzz

    Yep ... nothing beats a real farm raised yard bird !!! I think all the junebugs they eat makes them tasty and tender !!! I could be wrong !!! But I don't think soooooooooo !

    I heartily agree with scbuzz that nothing beats a farm raised yard bird.

    Chicken for our restaurant's southern fried chicken came from our meat supplier, but in warm weather months, we killed fresh chickens for Sunday's chicken and dumplings. My retired uncle had a chicken farm across the river and I would go over on Saturdays for the order. My uncle would spend forever choosing the choice hens for my mom's pots and he liked to include a few fryers for the family table.

    Americans now refer to poultry from the farm as free range chicken. I always smile when I hear that phrase.
    #10
    Cosmos
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/08 19:08:31 (permalink)
    Well, we get our 'free range' chickens from a farm, 'Nature's Way' in Cortland N.Y. The little buggers actually walk around, therefore the meat has texture. The meat is also not yellow or orange, but a nice pink, the way god intended. There are no blobs of fat hidden inside the cavity, and well, they're quite tastey.

    We do pay a premium for them, but they are well worth it. We get them small, 2-3 pounders, five to ten at a time, and freeze them. We stock up for the winter, and typicaly cook one a week, using the leftovers in a variety of ways. I then make stock with the bones and the giblets, and freeze that for our other recipies. Love them birds!

    Oh, and I don't know if they are air dried or not. They're processed in a converted school bus, so I tend to think not.
    #11
    Cakes
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/09 00:22:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Cosmos

    Well, we get our 'free range' chickens from a farm, 'Nature's Way' in Cortland N.Y. The little buggers actually walk around, therefore the meat has texture. The meat is also not yellow or orange, but a nice pink, the way god intended. There are no blobs of fat hidden inside the cavity, and well, they're quite tastey.

    We do pay a premium for them, but they are well worth it. We get them small, 2-3 pounders, five to ten at a time, and freeze them. We stock up for the winter, and typicaly cook one a week, using the leftovers in a variety of ways. I then make stock with the bones and the giblets, and freeze that for our other recipies. Love them birds!

    Oh, and I don't know if they are air dried or not. They're processed in a converted school bus, so I tend to think not.


    If the school bus is going down the road, then they might be air dried, all they would have to do is open the windows.
    #12
    hermitt4d
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/09 01:41:05 (permalink)
    Thanks for the replies . Soon's I become the first Texan to win Mega Millions, I'm gonna get me one of them $24,000 suits .

    Oh yes, and thanks for some replies on the chicken, too . So that's what cardboard tastes like - who knew . Portions of one leg were more like shoe leather, I overcooked it so much. Leftovers the next day pretty well confirmed what I thought on first sampling. The breast meat texture was really disappointing. If I buy this again I'll probably stick with leg quarters. I actually don't buy much chicken because its so tasteless.

    The website does describe them as 'free range.' All they had were very young chickens which I think has something to do with how much flavor the meat has developed.

    I live on the edge of the 'Jewish' neighborhood here and several supermarkets carry lots of Kosher. The Kroger Signature store carries Aaron's and some frozen Empire chicken, but they also have a Kosher butcher shop. To tell the truth, I've never paid any attention to chickens there; I'll have to remember to check it out. Thanks!
    #13
    howard8
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/09 14:12:09 (permalink)
    Other than a kosher chicken, I never met a chicken that didn't benefit from brining overnight in a salt and sugar solution. Brining imparts a lot of moisture into the meat. It tends to allow overcooking without sacrificing juiciness to an extent. I recently put a five pound chicken in a crockpot on a bed of celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Cooked 7 hours covered on low. It was tender and tasty and created half a quart of juice for gravy. I have rotisseried, baked and grilled brined chicken with great results after brining.
    #14
    Lone Star
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/09 15:16:57 (permalink)
    Every time I hear the expression "free-range chicken" I always picture a chicken with a hat and boots, carrying a lariat.
    #15
    lleechef
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/09 15:23:24 (permalink)
    Lone Star, don't forget the chaps.........
    #16
    drchanterelle
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    RE: Smart chicken - safe chicken? 2003/12/11 08:56:47 (permalink)
    If you "free range" chickens, they'll eat more than junebugs - they eat everything! Ever see an outdoor fenced chicken range? There is absolutely nothing there but dirt - talk about efficient recyclers. That's why non ranged chickens are raised on mesh wire - at least those don't get the chance to flavor themselves with themselves. jm
    #17
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