In Defense of Dark Meat Chicken, Or: Chicken Breast Kind of Sucks

I still remember the day McDonald's switched to all-white meat chicken nuggets. It was horrible. Only a week before, I would hunt through my six-piece boxes, looking
for the slightly darker, better tasting chunks of chicken, but that day everything was the same shade of lighter beige-ish brown. Not even barbecue sauce made it better.

And the worst part? They celebrated it like it was something that they were proud of. “Hey guys,” they basically said. “You know those pieces of chicken we grind up, bread, and then deep fry? Well, now they're just the slightest bit healthier.”

Never mind they were making their food slightly worse.


Let's face it everyone, dark meat chicken tastes so much better. It's got more fat, it stays more moist, it cooks easier. If you over cook white meat chicken? It's gummy and makes your teeth stick. Over cook dark meat chicken? Eh, not bad. (And yeah, you might brine and not overcook your chicken, but you can't tell me fast food's going to be perfect all the time).

But since the day McDonald's switched over to white meat chicken nuggets, it seems to me like everyone's been on this healthier chicken kick. That if they serve chicken, it's going to be healthy white meat, save for wings and KFC. Chik-Fil-A? chicken breast. Any chicken tender you'll find? Also chicken breast. Even KFC's Double Down is made with chicken breast.

The worst example: I got a marketing email a few weeks ago. The subject line was a proud “Biggest chicken in fast food.” They were buzzing about the biggest chicken sandwich in fast food — not the healthiest, the biggest. But you know what? The sandwich was still made with white meat.

Has no one noticed that white meat just tastes worse? Like, really?

I have a friend who's big into weight lifting, and when he would want stupid amount of protein without too many junk calories, he would eat chicken breast and brown rice. Just chicken breast and brown rice. Those were some of the most depressing meals I had ever seen. There were a few times I was pretty sure he was physically choking down his dinner.

Please, everyone, no more. Especially fast food restaurants, this is 2014, I'm not fooling myself thinking that eating fast food is particularly healthy. I know it's bad for me, everyone knows it's bad for them, you can use dark meat, it's fine. I just want things to taste good again, because yeah, dark meat is slightly worse for you, but if you're breading your chicken and deep frying it, who's really thinking about their health. Embrace the artery damage, because let's face it: white meat sucks.

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You can also follow Charles Lam on Twitter @charlesnlam. He's less sardonic there, we swear.

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