why does some chicken taste like it is "freezer burned"?

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Lori T. November 2, 2018
In some cases, you get a chicken afflicted with what is called "woody breast". That's a muscle development problem which will cause the cooked breast meat to be drier and tougher to eat, and it will look pale and striped in the raw state. Modern chickens are also bred to reach market size at very young ages, usually less than 12 weeks. Their diet is bland, and they get none of the greens and bugs that they are naturally supposed to be eating. All of that translates to a bird with little to no flavor. Flavor can also be influenced by the breed of chicken, and heirloom breeds do tend to taste better. That's partially because they are not bred to quickly gain size/weight, and generally have better diets than the average supermarket chicken. Chickens used to come in a variety of sizes, which is why you will see terms like broiler chicken, fryer, roaster, and stewing chicken designated in older cookbooks. You chose your bird according to what you intended to use it for. Roasters were younger and smaller, generally not much more than a pound in weight. Fryers were a bit older and larger, but still not usually much more than 2- 2 1/2 pounds. Roasters were older and larger still, with more fat to allow them to be roasted and not be dry. The stewing hen was the oldest and largest bird sold, usually because they no longer laid eggs. They were obviously meant to become soup, as a longer and more moist cooking method was the best way to make the most of the older, tougher, but very flavorful bird. I suppose the short answer to your question is that chicken tastes differently now because they are raised more quickly, with more eye on cost than on flavorful meat development. It didn't used to be a bland meat, but it certainly has become one.
 
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