Clash of the Titans LXXI: White Meat v Dark Meat

February 24, 2008, 12:00 am; posted by
Filed under Connie, Debate, Job  | 7 Comments

In this corner, backing white meat, is Job!

And in this corner, arguing for dark meat, is Connie!

On a Thanksgiving day a few years ago, my brother Joel slaughtered, scalded, plucked and then deep fat fried two ducks, to serve as our turkey proxy. They were good ducks, by all accounts, well-bred, well-fed and extremely well-cared for. They were cooked well and thoroughly. There was nothing suspect about their life or culinary preparation…but they were doomed from the minute they were born, because ducks are all dark meat.

The time spent between conception and parsley was merely spent building up to my disappointment. I blame cinema and literature for instilling in me a sense of awe concerning duck: that it was a sort of Everest of edibles. In fact, duck is oily, salty, fatty and overwhelmingly underwhelming. I ate the duck, I tried to appreciate the duck, I smiled and said I liked the duck. But my soul gobbled for the unhyped, protein-infused, and profusely healthier heaps of white meat a turkey offers.

White meat is not only healthier, easier to handle, and not disgusting — but it complements, and is complemented by, other foods. It doesn’t demand a stage all to itself, but instead favors a team effort in pleasing your palate. From gravy to casseroles to cold sandwiches to soups, white meat knows how to delegate.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m a bachelor. I’ve eaten my fair share of dark meat and I will eat it again. I’m not prejudiced against any food, and my stomach is the Ellis Island of your kitchen. Give me your fried, your baked, your raw; give me your tarts that pop, your topping of melted cheese. I don’t care. But as a proverbial immigration officer stamping the papers of the aliens seeking entrance to the new world of my tummy, I can discern those that stand a chance of climbing the menu ladder, and those doomed to spend their lives as esoteric members of an old cookbook. The forgotten. The undesirable.

Thus is dark meat. It is, as a fact, edible, but it is not mainstream. It is not everyday. It is, my friends, the dreaded entity that is an acquired taste. If you either prefer dark meat, or are one of those souls who say they do, so they can be different, I actually don’t wish to dissuade you. Your contributions to the Thanksgiving meal — throwing yourself on the grenade of that greasy mess on the other side of the platter — only serves to distribute the wealth of white meat among those who know that it is the vehicle to a truly satisfying and diversified meal.

Dark meat? You’re dead to me.

Unless you’re free.

There are few things I enjoy more than roasted chicken. My favorite way of preparing my bird is my crock pot, but be careful! Overcooking makes her fall apart, which is fine for Kickin’ Chicken Soup, but not if you want to enjoy the actual chicken pieces with the bones still attached. I like to put a whole orange or a peeled onion into the cavity of my bird while it’s cooking, then season it with an herb mix called Citrus Grill.

Within minutes I’m carving away — carefully putting the boring, tasteless white meat on one side of the platter, and the juicy, flavorful darker portions on the other. I’ve always preferred the dark meat because of the flavor, and it’s not just limited to the meat family. I also like darker versions of gravies, breads, ice creams (Friendly’s Chocolate Almond Chip!), rice, even milk — and of course chocolate. White chocolate is simply disgusting!

I’ve heard all of the stories about how dark meat contains more fat, but for years, I’ve been singing the old song, “If loving you is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.” And now, I’ve been vindicated — as you shall see from my research. By the way, that research says red meat belongs in the the dark meat family, so a vote for the pasty white stuff is a vote against the good old American Porterhouse!

The primary reason dark meat has been labeled bad — besides the political agenda — is saturated fat content. Unfortunately, the general public was considered too dumb to understand the difference between saturated fats and other fats. I cannot accept that. Dark meats simply have more myoglobin proteins, the magic stuff that ships oxygen to the muscle cells; they need them to transfer oxygen more efficiently to the muscles. Muscles which are used more frequently become dark. This is why non-flying poultry drumsticks are dark meat, while breast meat is white.

Dark meats tend to contain more zinc, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamins B6 and B12, amino acids, iron than white meats. Chicken dark meat contain vitamins A, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, minerals as selenium, phosphorus and zinc. Even the fats in most of the dark meats have healthy parts; they contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and other ‘healthy’ fats. Now take a look at the fat content of that bowl of morning cereal twigs with a cup of organic milk. I will take my steak on a grill with some wood chips, thank you. Preferably with Djere grilling.

Meat Calories Fat Protein
Breast w/skin 194 8 29
Breast, skinless 161 4 30
Wing w/skin 238 13 27
Leg w/skin 213 11 28
Dark meat w/skin 232 13 27
Dark meat, skinless 192 8 28



7 Comments to “Clash of the Titans LXXI: White Meat v Dark Meat”

  1. Connie on February 25th, 2008 10:04 am

    Duck is on my “no thanks” list, even if it is free, Job. Along with rabbit, rattlesnake and any chocolate covered insect. And yes I’ve tried them all. And deep frying a greasy, old duck would compound the problem. Ewww3.

  2. Connie on February 25th, 2008 10:05 am

    I can’t vote Steve. I am disenfranchised.

  3. Connie on February 25th, 2008 10:14 am

    But Happy Birthday!!!

  4. Steve on February 25th, 2008 10:18 am

    I gave you my vote here at the office, even though I prefer white meat. I enjoyed the only duck I ever ate…

  5. Tom on February 26th, 2008 12:43 pm

    When did you eat a rattlesnake?

  6. David on February 26th, 2008 1:28 pm

    I ate duck once but it was on fire and I had to put it out first. As far as I remember it was OK but it doesn’t equal a large succulent breast portion from KFC.

  7. Phil on February 28th, 2008 6:24 pm

    Gee, I might have given this more thought if I’d known I would tip the balance. Nah. White meat rules!

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