Chicken dark meat, including thighs and drumsticks, are gaining in popularity in the United States as consumers are starting to look beyond boneless skinless chicken breasts. For domestic chicken processors who used to have trouble finding a market for dark meat, the change is helping to boost prices and push the industry out of a long slump.

Fox News reported that Pat LaFrieda Jr., New York butcher and star of the Food Network series “Meat Men,” is having trouble getting enough chicken thighs for his business. He says that consumers are starting to discover what chefs have long known.

“[Dark meat] was always the least expensive protein that you could buy, but it had the most amount of flavor," LaFrieda said.

Poultry industry experts agree TV food shows are helping to spur demand as chefs talk up dark meat and give home cooks new ideas. Dark meat is more forgiving than white and doesn't dry out as easily, La Frieda said, so thighs are great on the grill, while ground dark meat works well shaped into burgers, stuffed into ravioli or stirred into a Bolognese sauce and served over pasta, he said.

Tyson Foods said that the company is actively promoting dark meat to value-conscious consumers by way of lunch meats, pizza toppings, ground chicken and smoked sausage.

“These offerings allow value-conscious customers to buy high quality, great tasting all-meat products, but at a lower price point,” said spokesman Gary Mickelson.

Similarly, GNP Co. said that a planned launch of a new line of chicken sausages has already attracted strong interest.

Source: Fox News