The Reason Rachael Ray Prefers Cooking With Dark Meat

According to the USDA, a lot of us like chicken — lots of chicken. Although pork and poultry typically tussle it out each year for the title of most-widely-consumed meat in the world, the agency's most recent figures have pork consumption at 36 percent and chicken coming in narrowly in second place at 33 percent. In the U.S. alone, about 8 billion chickens per year pass through the nation's ovens, pots, and frying pans, and into hungry mouths (via Vox). That's more than 100 pounds of chicken per person.

Here at Mashed, there are lots of chicken resources, as evidenced by tons of recipes ranging from chicken piccata to lemon chicken to sweet bourbon chicken. And you know who else can get down on a drumstick? Cookbook author and cooking series host extraordinaire Rachael Ray. The website of "The Rachel Ray Show" features 50 "all-time best chicken recipes." One thing we noticed about a lot of those recipes? They call for dark, not white, meat. That's the type of chicken Ray prefers, as she told Food Network. Read on to find out why.

It's affordable and reliable

As cookbook author and "Rachael Ray Show" host Rachael Ray told Food Network, the channel where she's hosted a bunch of shows including the iconic series "30 Minute Meals," she prefers dark meat chicken over white meat. Specifically, she enjoys bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Why? According to Ray, dark meat chicken is both foolproof and inexpensive.

"I prefer it because you can't screw it up," she told Food Network. "It's always affordable and always tasty."

Ray is onto something there: because dark meat chicken has a higher fat content than white meat chicken, it tends to stay juicier than white meat, even if it gets a little overcooked, says Food Science Fusion (posted at Medium). Therefore, beginning cooks, or those unaccustomed to cooking meat, will be less likely to mess up dark meat chicken, even if they don't cook it to perfection.

As for affordable? Ray is right on that count, too. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are still the most-selling cut of the bird (via MasterClass), retailing for about $3.29 per pound (via Statista). Those bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs Ray prefers? They sell for about $1.36 per pound, according to The Kitchn. That's a whole lot more chicken for less money.

So the next time you go to the grocery store, check out dark meat chicken and give it a try. If you're anything like Rachael Ray, you're bound to love it.