OFF THE SHELF
Vacuum-sealed chicken breasts don't measure up
By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor
|The Louis Rich chicken-breast cuts we tested were much too salty. Foster Farms' chicken-breast strips had an odd texture and also were too salty.
Gregory Yamamoto The Honolulu Advertiser
Unfortunately, based on my own tasting, and a "Prefab Chicken" test reported in this month's Cook's Illustrated, these products are not quite there yet. I found two examples in my local supermarket: Louis Rich Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Cuts ($4.39 for 6 ounces) and Foster Farms Grilled Chicken Breast Strips ($4.39 for 6 ounces).
The Louis Rich version consisted of pallid chunks of water-logged chicken that looked as though it had been pumped full of some kind of brine before packaging. It tasted that way, too: Much too salty.
Foster Farms Grilled Chicken Breast Strips promised more: the meat looked more like home-cooked, with grill marks and better color. But it, too, had an odd, soft texture and a too-salty taste.
And the price works out to a whopping $11.71 per pound you can get frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts for much less than that. Even small packages of fresh skinless, boneless chicken breasts sell for less than $6 a pound.
Adam Ried of Cook's Illustrated tested seven chicken alternatives, from supermarket rotisserie chicken to canned chicken and "breast meat patties." The tasters concluded that they'd rather spend the 10 minutes to grill a chicken breast.
The only option they found acceptable was supermarket rotisserie chicken. The problem here is that the chicken might be infused with flavors (barbecue sauce, lemon-herb, etc.) that don't match up with the use you have in mind.