Maturity And Tenderness

We learned in Chapter 10 that the tenderness of a piece of meat—or poultry—is related to connective tissue and that connective tissue increases with

• Use or exercise of the muscle.

• Maturity or age of the animal or bird.

1. Use or exercise is of less concern in poultry. Most poultry is so young that it is relatively tender throughout. However, there are some differences, discussed in the next section, between light meat and dark meat.

2. Maturity is a major consideration when selecting poultry.Young, tender birds are cooked by dry-heat methods, such as broiling, frying, and roasting, as well as by moist-heat methods. Older, tougher birds need slow, moist heat to be made palatable.

Maturity is the major factor in categorizing each kind of poultry (see p. 354). Skin color is determined by diet and is not related to the flavor or tenderness of the poultry.

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