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 The way chicken used to taste

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yumbo

  • Total Posts: 330
  • Joined: 6/4/2001
  • Location: Milwaukee, WI
The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 2:32 PM (permalink)
I hear a lot from older folks that chicken doesn't taste the same anymore. Is this true? Is this a function of how chickens are raised these days and what they're fed? I've not sampled free range chickens yet. Any chicken experts on this list that can shed some light on this?

-Yumbo
 
#1
    Grampy

    • Total Posts: 1559
    • Joined: 10/14/2002
    • Location: Greenfield, MA
    RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 2:41 PM (permalink)
    Spend the extra for free-range or organically fed chickens. Murray's, D'Artagnan, Empire Kosher, or any number of others are excellent and will give you a sense of what farm-raised chicken used to be. They cook up much moister and have far more flavor. Also, apart from the way chickens are cruelly raised in mass production, there is greater risk of contamination in these overcrowded suroundings.
     
    #2
      lleechef

      • Total Posts: 6212
      • Joined: 3/22/2003
      • Location: Gahanna, OH
      RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 2:54 PM (permalink)
      I used to live out in farm country in the north of France. My friends Genevieve and Henri were dairy farmers but of course had chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese, etc. A typical chicken weighed about 8 lbs. Roast it for 4 hours, covered, it was DONE but the meat never fell off the bone. Best chicken I ever ate in my life. Before cooking, the skin was slightly orange, due to the fact that the chickens ate marigolds in the garden.
       
      #3
        Kristi S.

        • Total Posts: 712
        • Joined: 7/23/2002
        • Location: St. Petersburg/Tampa, FL
        RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 3:35 PM (permalink)
        What about brining the chicken overnight? Somewhere I read that doing that gives mediocre chicken a better flavor and texture.
         
        #4
          KimChee43

          • Total Posts: 382
          • Joined: 8/25/2003
          • Location: Chicago, IL
          RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 3:58 PM (permalink)
          I think one could say the same about pork. It doesn't taste as good as it used to years ago, probably because the amount of fat on the animal has been greatly reduced.
           
          #5
            Bushie

            • Total Posts: 2902
            • Joined: 4/21/2001
            • Location: Round Rock, TX
            RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 4:00 PM (permalink)
            Unfortunately, "organic" doesn't necessarily mean it's "free-range", so go with Free-Range. There is a definite difference in taste, and like Grampy mentioned, it's just a BETTER way to raise poultry.

            Better for the "circle of life", better for your body, and better for your taste buds.

             
            #6
              BarbaraCt

              • Total Posts: 333
              • Joined: 5/19/2003
              • Location: Trumbull, CT
              RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 6:08 PM (permalink)
              According to Alton Brown of the Food Network, brining works on almost all meats. He even brines shrimp. I have been brining chicken for a while, and it works. I bought a nice square container at Lines and Things, just like he uses. I used to "kosher" chicken, too, and then grill it. I am not an expert, but I would take kosher salt and liberally spread it on both sides of a split chicken and refrigerate for 24 hours. I would then put it on the grill until done, and eat with beer. I wouldn't wash off the salt, although, I think you are supposed to, as that is the reason you are doing it, to draw out the blood. I know that when I brine chicken, the water turns pink.
              The "Cooks Magazine" did an article on different chicken and found that after brining, there wasn't much of a difference. They noted they could tell a difference without brining. I even brine wings before I buffalo them.
               
              #7
                b-n-kchefservice

                • Total Posts: 69
                • Joined: 10/9/2003
                • Location: P.H., MI
                RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 11:12 PM (permalink)
                wheather I am frying, roasting, grilling or smoking I brine my birds.
                2quarts of water
                1/4 cup salt
                1/4 cup w suger
                1/8 cup b suger
                2 bay leaves
                10 pepper corns
                1 tbls garlic pwdr
                1 tbls onion pwdr
                bring to boil let cool
                ad chicken 24 hours
                cook anyway you want it will taste great.

                oops what am I thinking this is supposed to be a secret.
                Barry From MI
                 
                #8
                  UncleVic

                  • Total Posts: 6025
                  • Joined: 10/14/2003
                  • Location: West Palm Beach, FL
                  • Roadfood Insider
                  RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/21/04 11:48 PM (permalink)
                  I have to say buy some chicks, raise them in the backyard and slaughter them after a few weeks... Nice, tender and tasty (and hopefully chemical free).. Anyways, got a good chuckle when I read the topic "The way chicken used to taste"... For some reason I remember when I was a kid, and my dad thought he was BBQ King of West Michigan... Never had I ate more burnt / dried out chicken then back in them days... Luckily for me Mom was / is good in the kitchen even to this day!!!! (Might have starved otherwise).
                   
                  #9
                    Cosmos

                    • Total Posts: 1448
                    • Joined: 5/14/2002
                    • Location: Syracuse, NY
                    RE: The way chicken used to taste Thu, 04/22/04 7:14 AM (permalink)
                    quote:
                    Originally posted by BarbaraCt

                    According to Alton Brown of the Food Network, brining works on almost all meats. He even brines shrimp....


                    I tried brine shrip, but they're so hard to scewer for grilling.

                    Seriously, we buy free range chickens from a local farmer here in central, NY...at a premium, mind you. It has great texture, its pink...not yellow, or orange, and it doesn't come with huge blobs of fat attached to it, and it tastes great.
                     
                    #10
                      Alexander

                      • Total Posts: 164
                      • Joined: 2/27/2004
                      • Location: Columbia, SC
                      RE: The way chicken used to taste Thu, 04/22/04 7:28 AM (permalink)
                      quote:
                      Originally posted by yumbo

                      I hear a lot from older folks that chicken doesn't taste the same anymore. Is this true? Is this a function of how chickens are raised these days and what they're fed? I've not sampled free range chickens yet. Any chicken experts on this list that can shed some light on this?

                      -Yumbo


                      Yes, it is true. Most commercially raised chickens are fed a diet of fishmeal (that's where the menhaden go) and consequently have a somewhat fishy flavor when cooked. A couple of generations have now grown up not knowing the taste of real chicken, thinking it should taste like something from Captain D's. The free-range route may be all you have to rely on. I'm lucky in that there are a couple of local commercial chicken farms that do not use fishmeal, but rather rely on the old-fashioned grain-based feeding. Their chickens, if not tasting the way the ones I raised tasted, are still pretty good.
                       
                      #11
                        tiki

                        • Total Posts: 4135
                        • Joined: 7/7/2003
                        • Location: Rentiesville, OK
                        RE: The way chicken used to taste Thu, 04/22/04 5:31 PM (permalink)
                        Feerange is definatly my preference---birds that eat BUGS taste better! In California i used to feed mine the slugs and snails i would trap in the garden with beer, they love snails!! I liked to feeb two out door pens for them---one on each side of the coop with different doors----when the greenery in one pen was all eaten I would open the other side and close one with no greenery and water it ---even through in grass and flowers. They love it and seemed to be healthy and fat and tasty too!!!Not to mention better eggs!
                         
                        #12
                          Alexander

                          • Total Posts: 164
                          • Joined: 2/27/2004
                          • Location: Columbia, SC
                          RE: The way chicken used to taste Fri, 04/23/04 8:18 AM (permalink)
                          quote:
                          Originally posted by tiki

                          Feerange is definatly my preference---birds that eat BUGS taste better! In California i used to feed mine the slugs and snails i would trap in the garden with beer, they love snails!! I liked to feeb two out door pens for them---one on each side of the coop with different doors----when the greenery in one pen was all eaten I would open the other side and close one with no greenery and water it ---even through in grass and flowers. They love it and seemed to be healthy and fat and tasty too!!!Not to mention better eggs!


                          From my childhood I fondly remember a flock of our chickens (freerange and protected by our geese who would on occasion kill trespassing foxes) chasing one of their number who had found a dead mouse somewhere. I was thrilled to see one finally eat it I also saw one of them eat a small grass snake.

                          The chickens did indeed taste better and I agree with you on the eggs.
                           
                          #13
                            howard8

                            • Total Posts: 355
                            • Joined: 5/12/2003
                            • Location: randolph, NJ
                            RE: The way chicken used to taste Mon, 04/26/04 2:56 PM (permalink)
                            I also brine a lot, particularly chickens.
                            I find it certainly increases the moisture and overall juiciness but not the overall flavor.
                            I also think the taste and quality of chicken is not what it used to be.
                            I recently cooked a D'artagnan pheasant and damn if it didn't taste like a very flavorful chicken from years gone past.
                             
                            #14
                              renfrew

                              • Total Posts: 696
                              • Joined: 4/29/2003
                              • Location: Providence, RI
                              RE: The way chicken used to taste Mon, 04/26/04 3:06 PM (permalink)
                              Kosher poultry consistently wins awards over non-kosher and the reasons is usually due to the ineherent brining that occurs with the kashering process.

                              I dont know if the fishmeal vs non fishmeal thing is true, but the major kosher brands do not feed fishmeal to their chickens.
                               
                              #15
                                tiki

                                • Total Posts: 4135
                                • Joined: 7/7/2003
                                • Location: Rentiesville, OK
                                RE: The way chicken used to taste Mon, 04/26/04 5:08 PM (permalink)
                                Actually this topic is one that i think on often---not just chidken but everything----i know i hear all the time from foks that say try as they may no matter what they do alot of the foods they cook tiday just dont taste the same as "when Grandma cooked them"---i think the reason they dont TASTE the same is that the food today is NOT the same----i kbow that if you where to to the average walmart superstore--or safeway and buy all the ingrediants to make my grandmothers sunday dinners, there is no doubt in my mind that the vegies you get will not be same varieties that grandema bought or grew and the quality cant possibley be as good---most vegies for instance are now "market variety" seeds that are developed for uniformity and shelflife. Fifty yearst is definatly not true today ago most of the food my grandparents ate was locally produced and FRESH PICKED AND VINE RIPE-or they put it up themselves---that is definatly no longer true. Theres no way for mass produced foods to taste that good-----anyone who has ever waited with baited breath for thier tomatoes to finally ripen in the back yard knows this-----well todays chickens arent any different---i will garantee that the same is true of beef thats feed lot fed, and i know theres a guy donw there in Texas thats selling wild pigt---and its GOOD---the best pork you ever ate--well ate least since i was a kid and we had resteraunts that saved food scraps for the pigs my grandparents
                                raised.Theres no doubt about--mass production,shipping concerns and shelf life are of more concern to agribusiness then taste!
                                 
                                #16
                                  Cosmos

                                  • Total Posts: 1448
                                  • Joined: 5/14/2002
                                  • Location: Syracuse, NY
                                  RE: The way chicken used to taste Mon, 04/26/04 6:08 PM (permalink)
                                  Excellant point! My major consternation is produce genetically engineered for looks and easy transport...those cherry red tomatoes that taste same as the greenish-orange ones of our youth. The other one is leaf lettuce that has been cross-engineeered with iceberg so it lasts longer in transit and on the shelves....AAARRGGGHH. If I wanted iceberg, I'd buy it!
                                   
                                  #17
                                    emsmom

                                    • Total Posts: 955
                                    • Joined: 3/23/2004
                                    • Location: Gastonia, NC
                                    RE: The way chicken used to taste Tue, 04/27/04 9:06 AM (permalink)
                                    I remember, growing up, that we saved our table scraps and a friend of my Dads came by and picked them up to feed to his pigs. Then at Christmas, he would always bring us a country ham and other times during the year fresh sausage. Nothing we buy now taste anything like that did then
                                    quote:
                                    Originally posted by tiki

                                    Actually this topic is one that i think on often---not just chidken but everything----i know i hear all the time from foks that say try as they may no matter what they do alot of the foods they cook tiday just dont taste the same as "when Grandma cooked them"---i think the reason they dont TASTE the same is that the food today is NOT the same----i kbow that if you where to to the average walmart superstore--or safeway and buy all the ingrediants to make my grandmothers sunday dinners, there is no doubt in my mind that the vegies you get will not be same varieties that grandema bought or grew and the quality cant possibley be as good---most vegies for instance are now "market variety" seeds that are developed for uniformity and shelflife. Fifty yearst is definatly not true today ago most of the food my grandparents ate was locally produced and FRESH PICKED AND VINE RIPE-or they put it up themselves---that is definatly no longer true. Theres no way for mass produced foods to taste that good-----anyone who has ever waited with baited breath for thier tomatoes to finally ripen in the back yard knows this-----well todays chickens arent any different---i will garantee that the same is true of beef thats feed lot fed, and i know theres a guy donw there in Texas thats selling wild pigt---and its GOOD---the best pork you ever ate--well ate least since i was a kid and we had resteraunts that saved food scraps for the pigs my grandparents
                                    raised.Theres no doubt about--mass production,shipping concerns and shelf life are of more concern to agribusiness then taste!
                                     
                                    #18
                                      tiki

                                      • Total Posts: 4135
                                      • Joined: 7/7/2003
                                      • Location: Rentiesville, OK
                                      RE: The way chicken used to taste Tue, 04/27/04 8:09 PM (permalink)

                                      Originally posted by emsmom

                                      I remember, growing up, that we saved our table scraps and a friend of my Dads came by and picked them up to feed to his pigs. Then at Christmas, he would always bring us a country ham and other times during the year fresh sausage. Nothing we buy now taste anything like that did then.



                                      Yep---a few yrs back i was cooking in a small Mexican place in Chico Ca --i decided to raise som pigs up to butcher and set up a few barrels at work for table scraps to feed them with---when it came time to butcher,Lilia--the lady who REALLY cooked the food at the resteraunt that the rest of us served out,ask if i was selling any of them---i asked---Why,do you want one Lily?. To which she replied---"Sure.i been seasoning that carnitas all summer,should taste good now,eh?----and she was right too
                                       
                                      #19
                                        scbuzz

                                        • Total Posts: 844
                                        • Joined: 3/7/2003
                                        • Location: Sumter, SC
                                        RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/28/04 8:55 AM (permalink)
                                        My grandmother always had a chicken yard full of chickens. Every evening she would go out and let them out of the chicken yard and let them roam around the regular yard. They would have a feast on worms and bugs ... but mainly june bugs. If you have ever heard of the southern saying "Like a chicken on a june bug" ... well let me tell you its true. The chickens would make a beeline for the fig tree (where the june bugs liked best) and jump all over them. Those were some happy chickens. My grandmother mainly used the chickens for eggs, but when they would get older and not produce eggs anymore she would cook them. Chickens always tasted much better back then. But then again, it could have been that I was just young, happy and with my grandparents !!!!
                                         
                                        #20
                                          emsmom

                                          • Total Posts: 955
                                          • Joined: 3/23/2004
                                          • Location: Gastonia, NC
                                          RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/28/04 9:01 AM (permalink)
                                          I agree. When I think back,I always think that anything that my Grandmohter cooked always tasted the best. I remember thinking that she could cook green beans and new potatoes better than anybody and I even thought her sliced cucumbers were better than anyone elses
                                          quote:
                                          Originally posted by scbuzz

                                          My grandmother always had a chicken yard full of chickens. Every evening she would go out and let them out of the chicken yard and let them roam around the regular yard. They would have a feast on worms and bugs ... but mainly june bugs. If you have ever heard of the southern saying "Like a chicken on a june bug" ... well let me tell you its true. The chickens would make a beeline for the fig tree (where the june bugs liked best) and jump all over them. Those were some happy chickens. My grandmother mainly used the chickens for eggs, but when they would get older and not produce eggs anymore she would cook them. Chickens always tasted much better back then. But then again, it could have been that I was just young, happy and with my grandparents !!!!
                                           
                                          #21
                                            Jellybeans

                                            • Total Posts: 312
                                            • Joined: 7/24/2003
                                            • Location: Oxford, VA
                                            RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/28/04 9:35 AM (permalink)
                                            My granma used to run a farm back during the colonial days and some years during the post-colonial years after independence. And until a few years ago when she and my grandad were still living on their own, she still reared chickens and slaughtered them herself (occasionally, I had to help by holding the chicken)

                                            Man, those chickens were GOOD!!!! She would just steam them and serve with a tangy chilli pepper sauce and green/salad onions sliced thinly and soaked in a combination of soy sauce and oil, then poured all over it. We'd eat it with rice cooked in chicken fat--good yellow chicken fat.

                                            YUM!!!!

                                            Of course, only chicken reared free-range and fed well like this has enough taste to stand up to such simple cooking--literally no-frills!
                                             
                                            #22
                                              emsmom

                                              • Total Posts: 955
                                              • Joined: 3/23/2004
                                              • Location: Gastonia, NC
                                              RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/28/04 3:55 PM (permalink)
                                              quote:
                                              Originally posted by scbuzz

                                              My grandmother always had a chicken yard full of chickens. Every evening she would go out and let them out of the chicken yard and let them roam around the regular yard. They would have a feast on worms and bugs ... but mainly june bugs. If you have ever heard of the southern saying "Like a chicken on a june bug" ... well let me tell you its true. The chickens would make a beeline for the fig tree (where the june bugs liked best) and jump all over them. Those were some happy chickens. My grandmother mainly used the chickens for eggs, but when they would get older and not produce eggs anymore she would cook them. Chickens always tasted much better back then. But then again, it could have been that I was just young, happy and with my grandparents !!!!
                                               
                                              #23
                                                danimal15

                                                • Total Posts: 1092
                                                • Joined: 8/7/2003
                                                • Location: Chicago, IL
                                                RE: The way chicken used to taste Wed, 04/28/04 5:08 PM (permalink)
                                                I'm not old enough to know how chickens used to taste, but I recommend Aaron's brand of Kosher chicken. It has a wonderful chickeny flavor.
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  renfrew

                                                  • Total Posts: 696
                                                  • Joined: 4/29/2003
                                                  • Location: Providence, RI
                                                  RE: The way chicken used to taste Thu, 04/29/04 8:27 AM (permalink)
                                                  Aarons is okay, Vineland kosher is better. And the best kosher chicken I have had is Wise Organic Kosher.
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    tiki

                                                    • Total Posts: 4135
                                                    • Joined: 7/7/2003
                                                    • Location: Rentiesville, OK
                                                    RE: The way chicken used to taste Thu, 04/29/04 12:12 PM (permalink)
                                                    ORGANIC KOSHER eh?!---bet those are good chickens!
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      renfrew

                                                      • Total Posts: 696
                                                      • Joined: 4/29/2003
                                                      • Location: Providence, RI
                                                      RE: The way chicken used to taste Thu, 04/29/04 12:14 PM (permalink)
                                                      Yep, it is pretty awesome. Only seen it in the NY/CT/MA area though.
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        HollyDolly

                                                        • Total Posts: 1065
                                                        • Joined: 1/18/2006
                                                        • Location: Schertz, TX
                                                        RE: The way chicken used to taste Mon, 08/28/06 3:17 PM (permalink)
                                                        Never had any chicken raised on the farm though my dad did as a kid. Kosher chickens have to meet strict jewish dietary laws in how they are raised and killed,etc in order to be certified Kosher.I have seen kosher and free range chickens at HEB Grocery Stores here,especially Central Market,.
                                                        I'll have to splurge sometime and buy one to try it.
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          xannie_01

                                                          • Total Posts: 1481
                                                          • Joined: 10/18/2005
                                                          • Location: albuquerque, NM
                                                          RE: The way chicken used to taste Mon, 08/28/06 3:21 PM (permalink)
                                                          i only use kosher chickens when making chicken soup.
                                                          the difference in taste is tremendous.
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            fabulousoyster

                                                            • Total Posts: 1855
                                                            • Joined: 11/17/2005
                                                            • Location: new york, NY
                                                            RE: The way chicken used to taste Tue, 08/29/06 10:23 AM (permalink)
                                                            I brine all whole and chicken parts too for at least 24 hours before, if I have the time. It does make a difference in the taste and texture.
                                                            2 qts water
                                                            1/2 cup sugar
                                                            1/2 cup salt

                                                            Then I add 2 tbs of jerk seasoning into the water ( I make my own) blenderized with 1 onion, 4 garlic and 1 hot pepper. I place this all in a gigantic tupperware container in my refrigerator or you can use ziploc bags.
                                                            The next day, let drain well and bake or grill or fry, whatever you like.
                                                             
                                                            #30
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