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Exclusive below >> That is Some Smart Chicken!

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That Is Some Smart Chicken!

By Steve Jones

I was in the meat department of my local grocery store staring at the usual line-up of chicken. Perdue, Holly Farms and the local store brand. As a chicken consumer the landscape has remained relatively unchanged for a long time. Yes there are more select cuts offered, but basically a piece of chicken is a piece of chicken.

Imagine my surprise when a different package caught my eye. Smart Chicken? What could possibly make this or any other chicken smart? The price was noticeably higher, but my curiosity had been piqued so I bit the bullet and bought the Smart Chicken brand.


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Smart on the left, Perdue on the right... photo by Shanny

Smart Chicken is headquartered in Nebraska. Their goal is to be the least disruptive large scale chicken producer in the world. The chicken feed is grown in the Midwest so that is where they decided to locate their farms. Turns out it's more efficient to ship the chicken than the feed.

The key to their chicken is their pure air chill method, dry-air chilling using circulating pure cold air with no water added. This greatly lessens the amount of waste water. Most chicken is immersed or sprayed with chilled water. Also the birds are raised certified humane and organic.

Yet the true test of any food is cost and taste. So we headed into the Green Earth Live Kitchen to do our own analysis comparing Smart Chicken and Perdue, a well known national chicken producer and processor. Our comparison was of both companies' boneless and skinless chicken breasts.

First let's look at the cost difference. Perdue Fresh All Natural sold at $5.49/lb while Smart Chicken rung up at $9.99/lb. That is a 45% premium to pay for Smart Chicken, a sizeable amount.

Next up the color and texture of the uncooked chicken was analyzed. Perdue had a reddish and ruddy appearance while Smart Chicken had an even, golden color. Texture was also a sharp contrast with Perdue's being striated, firmer and with minimum marbleized fat. The Smart Chicken was softer and smoother with no fat.

Both brands were then baked at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. To accommodate for the heavier weight of the Perdue chicken, it cooked 3 minutes longer. Upon cutting, the Smart Chicken had an even consistency. Perdue was tougher with an almost steak-like texture in comparison.

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Smart on the left, Perdue on the right... photo by Shanny

Last and most importantly; which tasted better? On a scale of 1 to 10 by our four diners, Perdue ranked a 6.5 while Smart scored a 9.0. The general consensus was both brands were good, but the taste put Smart Chicken clearly ahead of Perdue.

So it is possible to be greener and enjoy your chicken too! While extra cost is a factor, most eco-products will continue to be more expensive until the market grows. Here at Green Earth Live, we are putting our money where our stomachs are; on the Smart Chicken.

Editor's Note: Harris Teeter, my local grocer, is now offering roasted Smart Chicken.

If cost is an issue, try the Smart Chicken chicken strips.