Varying color breast meat.

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Varying color breast meat.

Postby jiminy_fatal » Sat Sep 16, 2006 10:41 pm

Over the last two days i shot 2 huge grouse. I'm assuming they are ruffed grouse as they are much bigger than any spruce grouse i've seen and they got a funny looking mohawk!

Anyways, the one I bagged on friday, has very chickeny looking breast meath(very white) and the one I got today, which flew away and alighted on a burned out spruce, has much darker breast meat.

Can anyone explain this to me? or is my darker meat bird, a spruce grouse????
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Postby Michigan » Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:22 pm

Go to google images and type in ruffed grouse. as far as the meat goes, the color depends on the birds diet
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Postby Kiskadinna » Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:21 am

Without seeing pics of the birds you got it is tough to say, but based on the information you have provided, I would say the bird you shot first was a ruffed grouse and the second a spruce. Ruffed Grouse definitely are a white meat breast and spruce are darker. Can't beat Ruffed though, best eating around! :thumbsup:
-Erik
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Postby yellowlab » Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:17 pm

michigan wrote:as far as the meat goes, the color depends on the birds diet
:withstupid:
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Postby Kiskadinna » Tue Oct 03, 2006 2:48 pm

I grew up hunting Ruffed Grouse in MN and can say in my experience - without any exception - that the breast meat of a Ruffed Grouse is white.
-Erik
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Postby ohsobad_hunter » Tue Oct 03, 2006 7:23 pm

Never seen or been near a live grouse.....don't they have feathers on their feet? :cool: :thumbsup:
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Postby Kiskadinna » Wed Oct 04, 2006 8:00 am

Yeah ohsobad, they actually have a leg a lot like a raptor, and ruffed grouse grow bristles on their feet that act as a snowshoe in winter. But their best weapon is making a hunter practically wet themselves when a grouse jumps!
-Erik
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Postby wigeon1330 » Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:11 pm

Just FYI, the darkness of the meat of any bird depends on how much they use the muscles of that area. The more they use it, the more blood vessels to supply oxygen to the muscules, and the darker the meat. This is why on chickens and turkeys the breasts are lighter and the legs darker, because they use their legs all day and hardly ever fly. On ducks, geese, doves and other migrating birds the meat is dark because of the extreme distances they fly. So that is the scientific answer, but living in Iowa I'm not to familiar with those grouse - but the one ruffed grouse I did kill in my life was incredibly good and had a very white breast.
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Postby akbrett » Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:19 pm

That answer may have merit, but over the years I have shot hundreds of Ruffed grouse - all had light breast meat, quite a few Spruce hens - all had dark colored breast meat, and a good number of Sharptails - all had dark colored breast meat, and every single P-tarm (willow, rock, etc.) has had dark colored breast meat also.

It was for this reason that we mainly focused on the Ruffed Grouse (my wife perferred the light meat and didn't complain at all when I brought them home).
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Postby Kiskadinna » Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:10 pm

Hey all,
I have heard the explanation before of meat color variation based on amount of usage. The mention of it again forced me to do al ittle research as to WHY this is. Not being a biologist myself I had to think back to HS bio - here's what I was able to find FYI.
"Because myoglobin is used for oxygen storage, the amount of usage a muscle gets will determine the amount of myoglobin in the fibers. Muscles are composed of two different types of muscle fibers which vary in proportions between muscles. Fast-twitch, or white fibers, have a low myoglobin content, since they depend on anaerobic Glycolysis for energy production. Slow-twitch, or red fibers have a high myoglobin content, since they depend on the aerobic TCA or Krebs' Cycle for energy production. So dark meat color is a result of a relatively high concentration of slow-twitch fibers in the muscle of the animal. Muscles that are used constantly, like legs, have more slow-twitch fibers, so their meat is much darker, than muscles that get little use, like the wings on a chicken. In fact, if you look at the wings of a birds that flies alot, like a duck, the meat is very red."
For the complete text, see http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/ma ... .Gb.r.html

Having only hunted Spruce and Ruffed myself I can't speak to the habits of sharptails, Ptarmigan but this does provide a good explanation.
-Erik
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Postby akbrett » Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:31 pm

I'm not doubting that. I just believe it's more a funtion of genetics than usage that determines the proportion of slow to fast twitch muscle fibers.
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Postby jiminy_fatal » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:36 pm

Well, since my first post I have definetly shot a bunch more ruffed grouse and a bunch more spruce... The ruffed grouse have all had white breast meat, and the spruce have had dark meat....

As far as muscle movement goes, the ruffed grouse certainly seem to be a lot more active than those spruce grouse - they just sit there!
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Grouse Recipes

Postby Kiskadinna » Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:49 pm

Sounds great! What's your favorite recipe? I just devised a new one for the grill that is fantastic!
Marinade: (for two breasts, adjust for more)
1 Cup orange juice
2 shots of tequila
2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
2 Tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1 Large clove of garlic, minced
Black pepper to taste
-Marinade breasts for 3-4 hours

Grill using indirect heat with meat side up for about 20 minutes.
Flip onto one side, grilling for 7-10 Minutes, repeat with the other side of the breast.
Check for doneness, and dig in! This works best with hickory or applewood chips on the grill too.

-Erik
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Postby jiminy_fatal » Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:26 pm

hmm, favourite grouse recipe....

well,

Cut breasts into thin strips, let soak 12 hours and drain the blood every 2 hours or so and refill with water and salt. Then, fry em up in stirfry, using a THAI stir fry sauce. Add some peanut butter! The peanut butter flavour perfectly accentuates the 'gameness' of the spruce grouse.



with ruffed grouse i use the meat just as I would use chicken in a linguine alfredo recipe!
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