The meat in your dinner plate is a combination of proteins and fats that is often overlooked when you consider the quality of its flavor.
And that’s exactly what a new study from researchers at Cornell University shows.
They found that the flavor of poultry from the same source has an enormous range of differences from one brand to the next, ranging from the very mild to the intense.
The study, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also suggests that some poultry varieties can have very different flavor profiles.
“The study is a huge leap forward in our understanding of flavor,” said lead author and Cornell professor of food science, Richard Wertheim.
“We found that some of the flavor differences that we thought were very small can actually have a huge impact on the flavor.”
The researchers analyzed the taste profiles of nearly 800 different brands of poultry, looking for differences in flavor intensity and aroma.
They analyzed a range of chicken varieties including: the Louisiana-raised Wagyu, the white Angus, the American Wagyu and the chicken of the same brand from Nebraska.
In a nutshell, the researchers found that many varieties have very low levels of sweetness, but many have very high levels of bitterness.
“Some of the most flavorful and most delicious chicken is a product that’s not going to taste as good as the best quality beef,” said Wertheimer.
The findings also reveal some of how these different flavors are generated, he said.
“The flavors of these different products are generated by a combination … of different enzymes that are used to produce sugars and other amino acids, and a bunch of other factors.”
In some ways, the findings reveal an evolutionary advantage for the chicken industry.
“This is something that people have been thinking about for a long time, but it’s a big, big, deal,” said Rhea Shand, a professor of plant biology and biochemistry at the University of Nebraska and co-author of the study.
“In terms of flavor, this means you can’t get a good chicken flavor in a supermarket without really, really strong acidity.”
Shand noted that flavor is one of the major determinants of the quality and taste of meat.
“What’s going on here is that the chicken flavor is not created by enzymes in the meat that are the same for each species,” she said.
Instead, it’s generated by the enzymes in different chicken breeds.
“It’s the enzymes that give the meat its flavor.”
When it comes to the flavor profile, Werthel noted that the taste of a chicken product depends on many different factors, including its origin, and how well the chicken is fed to chickens, whether it’s raised in the same facility as the beef or in a different facility.
For instance, the beef of a large brand of poultry would be different from that of a smaller brand.
“They’re all in the barn,” said Shand.
The study also found that a chicken’s flavor can vary from one product to the other based on several other factors, such as the size and age of the chicken, the type of feed used to raise it, and the amount of water it is fed.””
And those different breeds that are produced are the ones that you’ll find in the supermarket.”
The study also found that a chicken’s flavor can vary from one product to the other based on several other factors, such as the size and age of the chicken, the type of feed used to raise it, and the amount of water it is fed.
“You’re getting an indication of the whole food environment of the chickens,” said study coauthor and Cornell meat scientist Daniel Buehler.
“You’re not just looking at one product.”
When Shand was working at the Cornell Lab of Food Science, she was working with her graduate student, Paul Schulz, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell.
They decided to investigate how the flavor characteristics of a variety of poultry differentiates from one another.
“Paul, I remember, was like, ‘We’ve got to study the taste,'” she recalled.
“Then I thought, Oh my God, you’ve got the flavor on a plate.”
The Cornell team began by looking at the flavor profiles of the products they wanted to study, looking at different brands, different ages, and different types of feed.
They then tested the flavor properties of each of these products in a variety and variety of environments.
“I remember thinking, Oh, I wonder how they’re different from one other product that we have in the lab,” Shand said.
In the end, they chose one brand of the Louisiana Wagyu to study.
The researchers found a range in the flavor, with some varieties exhibiting almost no variation in flavor.
“At first I thought that this is a really minor thing,” she recalled, “but then I realized that it’s something that’s really important.”
The team then tested how well they could predict the flavor and aroma of the product from the characteristics of the different feed.
“That was really the magic part of this work,” Shis said.
They knew exactly how well each of the feed types could predict flavor