I was hoping that some of you could offer me some insight in to the use of dark meat chicken in your restaurants. I am doing a new research project and would greatly appreciate any feedback from the restaurant/chef prospective. The dark meat from the chicken thigh or leg is fattier which leads to more flavor and is lower is cost. Do you feature dark meat in your recipes or at your restaurant? If so, how do you menu it? Do you find there is a stigma around dark meat chicken? It seems as though consumers are trained to buy & prefer white meat chicken, do you agree?
I now cook in oilfield construction camps and the crews are actually very fussy. I use the thighs or the leg quarters for baking, roasting and frying and they are always well received. The prep options are essentially endless and yield much more flavor, volume and better texture. I reserve the breasts and breast portions for grilling and specialty dishes where they can be cooked "hot & fast", poached or cooked in any of the other manners that allows them to stay moist and flavorful. The dark meat portions are far better received and my guys do comment on the "real" chicken flavor of the portions.
Head Chef, KAS
Thanks very much for your valuable insight, Pat! Do you have any experience using dark meat chicken in a restaurant & if so, how do you advertise it to your guests? I am doing research for a large chicken company & sometimes we find that "dark meat" has a stigma around it (as if it's not the healthier & tastier option) and folks don't order it. Any insight you can provide would be great! Thanks again.
I agree with you. Dark meat is tastier. We no longer have restaurants in the U.S., only internationally but it's the same if not worse of a stigma. I was just thinking about trying to make chicken confit. Anyone tried it? The duck confit which is precisely the dark meat of the duck cooked in its own fat is absolutely delicious. I will try that soon and report to you. In the recent Berkeley Wine Festival at The Claremont and they were serving a "breaded duck confit" and it was amazing. Oh, and perhaps pulled chicken sandwiches would work too :) Good luck