If you have ever come across the term rib meat when it comes to chicken breasts, you might be feeling very confused. What is rib meat? What is it used for and how does it taste?
What is rib meat in chicken? Rib meat is mostly breast meat, but it simply refers to the fact that the person cutting the meat has cut a bit beyond the white meat, and you are getting some brown meat too. It is not just the breast, but also the meat that goes beyond the bird’s breast and toward the ribs.
Why Do We Get Rib Meat?
There are a few different reasons that you might end up with rib meat. Occasionally, you might get it because the person processing the chicken meat cut too far, and this resulted in both white and dark meat being cut together. Sometimes, rib meat is deliberately cut this way because some people enjoy it and it’s easier to cut.
Rib meat may be cut by accident, especially if you buy your meat from a local butcher, where the birds may be cut by hand. You might buy rib meat on purpose if you enjoy the flavor of some of the brown meat, or you may find that it is cheaper than the all-white breast meat.
Is Rib Meat Better Than Breast Meat?
Rib meat is neither better nor worse than breast meat, and it is not an inferior product. It may sometimes be considered less desirable because breast meat is usually thought of as the best part of the chicken, and adding brown meat to the “pure” white breast meat is not considered a good thing.
If you have seen the “with rib meat” label when purchasing chicken breasts in a store, you may have hesitated to buy them, because you might be uncertain about what rib meat is or whether it is pleasant. It doesn’t immediately sound appealing.
However, you will probably find that you barely notice the rib meat once you have cooked the chicken, and that there is no loss in quality or flavor.
If you find that you don’t like the rib meat, it is easy enough to simply trim it off the chicken breast and cook the breast as normal. The meat can be used for stock, in casseroles, in soups, or discarded. However, it is perfectly good meat, so it is best to use it if you can.
Is Rib Meat As Nutritionally Valuable?
Yes, rib meat is essentially the same as breast meat in terms of the nutrition it offers. Chicken breast and rib meat are both high in protein, and there is no reason to throw rib meat away if you get chicken with it still attached – simply use it up as you would normal chicken breast.
Although chicken breast is one of the most sought-after pieces of a chicken, many people do enjoy the dark meat, and if you don’t mind which you eat, there is absolutely no reason to trim off rib meat. It will offer as much nutrition as the chicken breast does.
It may differ to a degree in terms of its calories, but since it is only a very small piece of meat, it is unlikely to be worth worrying about. If it really does bother you, simply remove the strip of meat and cook your chicken breast as normal.
Can You Cook Rib Meat Just Like Chicken Breast?
Yes, you don’t need to change your approach to the chicken breast just because it contains some rib meat. As long as the chicken is thoroughly cooked before you serve it, it doesn’t matter that dark meat is attached to white meat.
Whatever meal you had planned for your chicken breasts, all that matters is that the meat is heated to 165 degrees F so that it is safe for consumption. Chicken rib meat does not need to be cooked to higher temperatures or in any different way. If it reaches 165 degrees F, it should be perfectly safe to eat.
Is Rib Meat An Additive?
People sometimes get concerned when they see that meat contains something they don’t expect, because the meat industry is known for bulking out products with filler ingredients and things you don’t really want to eat. However, you don’t need to worry here; rib meat is not something that has been added.
Although it does mean you are not getting a hundred percent pure white breast meat, it is not something that has been stuck into the packet to make the contents weigh more without giving you the meat that you are paying for.
Rib meat has not been added later; it is just a result of the butchering process not being perfect.
Why is Rib Meat Cheaper?
You might have noticed that chicken breast with rib meat is often cheaper to buy, and that could leave you puzzled. If it is not really any different, why does it cost more? The answer is simple: it’s easier to cut the chicken like this.
It takes time for a butcher to remove the bones from chicken breast perfectly. This is not an easy process, and therefore it is often more expensive to do because it costs more in terms of labor hours.
Butchers that sell the chicken breast with rib meat will spend less time cutting up the meat. This means that they can do more cutting, process more food, serve more customers, etc. All of these things help to bring the price of chicken breasts with rib meat down.
If you want chicken breasts that are totally pure white meat, you will have to pay more for them, because they take longer to cut.
Rib meat in chicken simply refers to the brown meat that is still attached to the breast when it is packaged and ready to purchase. It is perfectly safe to buy and eat this meat, and it will often add to the flavor of your dish, as well as bring the price of the chicken down. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go!