What Is Rib Meat in Chicken? (6 Nutrients & Meal Planning)

Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

Chicken rib meat is a popular meat consumed worldwide. However, as popular as it is, I still meet people who aren’t sure of what to do with it or its nutritional benefits.

As a dedicated carnivore, chicken ribs are one of my favorites, and to ensure I’m doing everything right when handling this type of meat, I talked to my dietician and poulterers alike.

It's crucial to buy chicken from a trusted source that guarantees antibiotic-free birds. One such reliable option is the ButcherBox meat delivery service.

Through extensive research, I learned about rib meat's importance in poultry consumption, its nutritional benefits, and meal preparation, which I’ll share with you in this article.

Quick Summary

  • Rib meat is the meat attached to the rib cage of a chicken.
  • Chicken rib meat is a good source of protein, with around 22g per serving.
  • This meat will not dry out as quickly as the breast.

What is Rib Meat in Chicken?

A top view of raw rib meat on a wooden board

Rib meat in chicken is the meat that comes from the small bones between a chicken's rib cage and breast. It is connected to the chest muscles and is an integral part of the anatomy as it helps hold the wings in place for the whole chicken.

That said, there is not much rib meat on a chicken. So, you won't ever go to the store and buy a package of this meat. However, you could easily find it sold attached to packaged chicken breasts.

You can separate rib meat from chicken breasts, but the line of demarcation is unclear. Thus, some of this meat is often attached to the breast when it is commercially processed and sold.

  • Conversely, if a breast is sold without a rib portion, it means there probably was some breast meat left on the ribs when the butcher processed it.

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Nutrition of Chicken Rib Meat

Rib meat is a good source of vitamins B6 and B12 and minerals such as phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium [1]. It also contains essential fatty acids necessary for cellular metabolism and maintaining healthy skin.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not publish nutrition facts for chicken ribs alone.

However, it does have nutrition information for a 100-gram serving of chicken breasts with rib meat attached:

  • Energy: 116 calories
  • Protein: 22.32 g
  • Total fat: 2.68 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.45 g
  • Carbohydrate: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 71 mg

As you can see, when combined, chicken breasts with rib meat are pretty low in fat while still packing an impressive amount of amino acids in a serving [2].

"No hormones are used in the raising of chickens. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of steroid hormone implants for growth purposes in poultry."
- USDA

Meal Planning Chicken Rib Meat

You can use chicken rib meat in different meals throughout the week. Here is a simple way to integrate this cut of meat into your meals for seven days:

  • Day 1: Serve soft tacos with shredded chicken rib meat with salsa, cheese, and lettuce
  • Day 2: Serve chicken rib meat stir-fry with brown rice and vegetables
  • Day 3: Serve BBQ chicken rib meat with coleslaw and sandwiches or sweet potato fries
  • Day 4: Serve chicken rib meat curry with jasmine rice, potatoes, and salad
  • Day 5: Serve chicken rib meat soup with salad and noodles
  • Day 6: Serve chicken rib meat skewers with vegetables and baked potatoes
  • Day 7: Serve chicken rib meat pizza. You can use bell peppers, mushrooms, fruits, or onions as your toppings.

Other than that, you can also have chicken rib meat as a snack in the following ways:

  • Spring rolls
  • Lettuce wraps
  • Stuffed bell peppers
  • Meat bread

How To Prepare Chicken Rib Meat

To prepare chicken rib meat, consider following these steps:

  1. Bake a chicken breast with rib meat on a baking sheet in the oven at 450°F for 20 minutes until the internal temperature is 165°F and the juices run clear. 
  2. Season with garlic powder, thyme, onion powder, bay leaves, salt and pepper, celery, or olive oil.
  3. Leave to cook, then serve. 

Also Read: Chicken and Chickpea Curry

THE BEST WAY TO REMOVE CHICKEN RIB MEAT

Although relying on the local butcher is the easiest method, removing rib meat from a chicken breast only requires a sharp knife and some patience. Consider doing the following:

  1. Start with the chicken breast on a cutting board to make the job easier.
  2. Put your hand on the chicken breast, with the skin side facing up.
  3. Using the knife’s sharp edge, divide the breast into two halves.
  4. Follow the chicken bones of the rib cage and carefully cut away at the edges until all the ribbon-like meat detaches from the chicken breasts.
  5. Angle the blade to best de-bone the breastbone and ribs [3].

Is Chicken Rib Meat White or Dark Meat?

A close up shot of raw rib meat with peppercorns and garnish on top

Chicken rib meat is white meat because it is directly adjacent to the breast. Even though this brown meat is part of the same muscle group as the chicken breast, ribs have a slightly darker color due to the amount of myoglobin in the tissue.

Although some experts consider chicken rib meat as dark meat, others say it is still white meat because of its proximity to the breast.

Whether you classify it as white or dark meat is not particularly important since people do not eat this meat separately.

Price of Chicken Rib Meat

Chicken breasts with rib meat attached are commonly sold at a lower price than plain, boneless breast meat. You might think this means rib meat is inferior to breast meat, but that is not true.

The price difference occurs because butchering the animal and leaving the rib meat attached is faster and easier than separating it.

Additionally, when the chicken is cut to leave the rib meat behind, some chicken breast meat is often left as well.

Thus, it is ultimately easier for the butcher to not separate the meat, which results in a cheaper product.

Less wasted time and meat add up to a lower price for the end product. Therefore, if you want a good deal on chicken meat, look for packages with some meat from the ribs attached.

Taste and Texture

A close up shot of chicken rib meat on a fork

The chicken rib meat taste is slightly different than that of chicken breast meat. This is because this meat has more myoglobin, which makes it more flavorful when cooked.

The texture of the meat also varies but is generally chewier than breast meat. If you are accustomed to eating cooked boneless and skinless thighs or drumsticks, then the difference in texture will be less pronounced.

However, standard chicken breast meat is often dryer than the meat from the ribs. Thus, leaving the rib meat in a dish makes it more tender and flavorful.

Is Chicken Rib Meat Better Than Breast Meat?

No, chicken rib meat is not better than breast meat - particularly regarding the quantity available per bird. However, I would not say this meat is inferior to breast either. In the end, it is mostly a matter of taste.

People who like thighs and drumsticks may like rib meat more than those who love the breast.

However, there is not enough of this meat on a chicken breast to significantly change a dish's overall taste or nutrition.

The chicken breasts with rib meat add a slightly richer flavor and chewier texture while also increasing the moisture content.

Additionally, this meat contains a lot of protein and only a bit more fat than the breast.

FAQs

Is Chicken Breast With Rib Meat Good?

Yes, chicken breast with rib meat is good and can be a healthy and tasty addition to your meals. You have likely had this meat without knowing it, as it is often included in packages of boneless, skinless white meat chicken breasts.

Is There Chicken Breast Without Rib Meat?

Yes, there is chicken breast without rib meat. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are sold without this attached meat and often cost slightly more than those with rib meat.

 

 


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462824/
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/600983/nutrients
  3. https://www.americastestkitchen.com/cooksillustrated/how_tos/8229-boning-a-split-chicken-breast
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About the author

Arianna Foster
Nutritionist/Editorial Director
Arianna Foster is the editorial director and senior reviewer at Carnivore Style. She loves sharing her passion for nutrition, diverse cooking techniques, and the many health benefits of a meat diet with readers.
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