Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I’m writing about “air-chilled” chicken?

Yes, I am writing about “air-chilled” chicken. An article in the Thursday, June 23 Wall Street Journal “Personal Journal” section examined “air-chilled” chicken. To refrigerate them quickly after slaughter, air-chilled chickens are hung on shackles and passed through cold chambers, rather than being soaked in cold, chlorinated water, as with water-chilled chickens. An air-chilled whole chicken costs around $2.20 per pound, whereas water-chilled whole chickens cost approximately $.90 per pound. Air chilling is significant because chicken can absorb 2% to 6% of its weight in water during the water-chilling process, according to The Wall Street Journal. Air chilling is also purported to result in a better tasting chicken.

One brand of air-chilled chicken I have tried is MBA Brand Smart Chicken. I find that the Smart Chickens do taste better than other brands I have eaten. Whether it is the air chilling, or the fact that it is natural chicken, not treated with antibiotics or hormones, fed vegetable diets free of animal by-products, and raised “in a stress-free, environmentally sustainable manner,” I am not certain. I am inclined to think the latter factors play a significant role.

I do not have a problem with paying around $1.30 more per pound. Natural chicken, not injected with oil and artificial flavor, is much preferable to that which has been “enhanced.” The diets must also account for something; for one, the chickens are white, rather than yellow, which reflects the diets. The Smart Chickens are trimmed of fat fairly well, also, so you are not paying for something you are going to discard. It is also good to know that the producer is not dumping contaminants into the waterways, as some producers have run into trouble for doing.
Up to $9 for an all-natural chicken may sound like a lot to pay, but I think it is reasonable, when you consider that a family of four can make about two meals out of it, and an entrée for just one person would cost about $9 in a restaurant. Furthermore, they taste like chicken.

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