Beef and pork ribs - just about every carnivore lifestyle follower has eaten those many times. But have you ever had rib meat from a chicken? You may not know it, but the answer is probably “yes.”
I have done extensive research on rib meat in chicken and will share what I’ve learned about its importance in poultry consumption, nutrition science, and meal preparation.
- 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?
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 not clear. Thus, some of this meat is often attached to the breast when it is commercially processed and sold.
And conversely, if a breast is being sold without a rib portion, it means there probably was some breast meat left on the ribs when the butcher processed it.
Nutrition of Chicken Rib Meat
Rib meat is a good source of vitamins B6 and B12 and minerals such as phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium . It also contains some 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 quite low in fat while still packing an impressive amount of amino acids in a serving .
"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."
Is Chicken Rib Meat White or Dark Meat?
Chicken rib meat is white meat because it is located 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 dark meat, others say it is still white meat because of its proximity to the breast.
Ultimately, whether you classify it as white or dark meat is not particularly important since people do not eat this meat all by itself.
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 the case.
So why is chicken rib meat cheaper? Well, 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 are looking for a good deal on chicken meat, look for packages with some meat from the ribs attached.
Taste and Texture
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 not be so 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 little more fat than the actual breast.
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.
Start with the chicken breast on a cutting board to make the job easier.
The person processing the bird should put their hand on the chicken breast, with the skin side facing up. Using the sharp blade of the knife, divide the breast into two halves.
The person cutting the chicken will want to 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.
Angle the blade to best de-bone the breastbone and ribs. .
You Might Also Like: Best Knives for Cutting Meat
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.
How Do You Prepare Chicken Rib Meat?
To prepare chicken rib meat, 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. Season with garlic powder, thyme, onion powder, bay leaves, salt and pepper, celery, olive oil, or carrots.
Is Rib Meat in Chicken Worth It?
Rib meat in chicken does not change my enjoyment of chicken breasts. While the rib meat adds flavor to the dish while also increasing the moisture content, there is not enough of it on a chicken breast to significantly change the overall flavor or nutrition.
Getting my chicken from a seller I trust to have antibiotic-free birds is far more important to me. One such company is the ButcherBox meat delivery service.
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