I Have a Beef with Chicken – Labor Day 2011

Yes it’s true I have a “beef” with chicken. It’s Labor Day, grilling season is wrapping up, and unless you’re a hardcore griller you’ll soon be swapping the grill for the oven. Temps here in Arkansas will be in the 70s for much of the week with lows in the 50s! I get to wear long sleeves again!

If you ask my friends and family what don’t I like to eat, you might get answers like pineapple, bananas, and chicken. Yeah, the white meat. My sister on the other hand, I’m pretty sure she’s made of chicken. We went to the Dixie Stampede back in July. She took all my chicken and I ate all her pork, so we kinda get the best of both worlds.

Grilling for the family. Sister wants chicken, I made sure to include some red meat for my plate.

Not that I have anything against chicken or poultry producers, it’s just that the taste is kinda bland, and always the same. (In te interest of full disclosure, I write this after eating more than my fair share of grandmother’s fried chicken for Sunday dinner.) I realize that poultry producers are just like me, farmers working to feed the world, but here in Arkansas, the land of Tyson, seems like every meal starts with chicken. If I have a choice, I’ll chose a plate of beef or pork over chicken any day.

So how do the facts  (production and nutrition) line out for chicken vs beef?

  • 36.7% of Arkansas farm receipts ($2.64 billion) result from broiler production (12.% of U.S. production)
    • Cattle make up 6.1% ($437 million) of Arkansas farm receipts (1% of U.S. production) USDA ERS 2011
  • Arkansas ranks No.2 in national poultry product exports ($432.8 million) USDA ERS 2011
  • In 2010, U.S. Beef Consumption was a total of 26.4 billion pounds. USDA ERS
  • According to government guidelines, a serving qualifies as “extra lean” if it has less than 5g total fat, 2g or less saturated fat and less than 95mg cholesterol per 3.5 oz. serving. A serving qualifies as “lean” if it has less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat and less than 95mg cholesterol per 3.5 oz. serving.
  • Beef is an excellent source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorus; and a good source of choline, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, and riboflavin. BIWFD
  • A 100-gram (3 1/2-ounce) portion of roasted breast meat with skin has 197 calories, 30 grams of protein, 84 milligrams cholesterol and 7.8 grams fat (35% of total calories).
Any way you put it, I’ll take the red meat. Beef It’s What’s For Dinner (BIWFD) around my house!
How about you? What’s your meat of choice? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?
Happy Labor Day!


  1. Happy Labor Day, Ryan! The Eastern Shore of Maryland is chicken country, too. Of, course, Maryland is famous for Blue Crabs, which, next to beef, is my favorite meat. (I do love BBQ chicken, tho’, but not quite as much as BBQ ribs – beef and pork.) Chicken farmers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland have been under the gun for polluting the Chesapeake Bay, as are all farmers in this area, for some time now. But there are so many chicken farmers, they have born the brunt of the criticism. I sympathize with them. They are helping to feed the world, too, just like us beef people. My ‘beef’ with chicken and many other food producers, is not that they promote, but the way they promote – to the detriment of other food products. We’re all in this together, trying to feed the world and survive – and maybe make a little money. We don’t need to put down others who are doing the same. It would help immensely if we, as farmers, promoted the good things we do to feed people and to preserve the land and our waters, rather than concentrating on how much better our product is than the other guys – and, most of all, how bad theirs is for you. And that’s my beef for today! Have a great day!

  2. We celebrated Labor Day with Beef Tenderloin and Burgers! I am a grill all year round kind of gal. Unless my grill is under a lot of snow I am using it.

  3. I can barely boil water, can’t cook worth a damn, but I rock the grill. I’ll shovel my grill out of the snow during the winter. Now I have a taste for a nice juicy steak. Hmmm… beef.

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