The question isn’t why the chicken crossed the road; it’s why we crossed the road to a better chicken producer.
You might remember that a couple of months ago, we announced our switch to a new chicken provider, Pure Prairie Poultry. We’re happy to say that the relationship is now in full swing, and we can offer everything from whole birds to wings. We are excited about working with this company because of its dedication to “pure midwestern values” with farmers in Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, and Northern Iowa. But that’s just part of the story.
What we really like about this company is chilling. Air-chilling, to be specific. And that’s a big deal when it comes to the quality of the chicken AND the impact on the environment.
Pure Prairie Poultry chickens are raised antibiotics-free in a cage-free, climate-controlled barn environment for protection against viruses carried by wild birds, predators, and inclement weather. They’re free to roam the barn and have 24/7 access to nutritious feed and water.
After processing, the chicken meat is cooled quickly and thoroughly to maintain food safety and wholesomeness. Often, providers use a water-chilled method, where many chickens tumble together in a water/chemical bath. In this process, the birds can absorb over 10 percent of their body weight in water, adding unnecessary weight and diluting the chicken’s natural flavor. This method is also a wasteful use of a vital natural resource – water.
At Pure Prairie Poultry, the chickens are cooled using frigid, circulating, purified air on a two-mile-long journey in our chilling room. This air-chilling method not only cuts down on wasteful water usage but also accomplishes the quick cooling of the chickens without adding water weight, making them more flavorful and tender.
If you’re a meat nerd like us, and we know many of our customers are, you’ll quickly notice some differences in 100% air-chilled chicken. Here are a few quick facts from our friends at Pure Prairie Poultry.
- The chicken looks clean, without pinkish water sloshing around in the package.
- When prepping, it’s dry to the touch without a wet, slimy feel.
- The chicken can absorb your favorite seasonings and marinades without excess water to dilute the flavors.
- When roasted, grilled, and seared, you’ll get a crispier, golden skin.
- Plus, with 100% air-chilled chicken, you pay for the chicken, not the added weight of retained water.
- And last but not least, it’s tender, moist, and flavorful – precisely what chicken is supposed to taste like.