Most overrated and underrated proteins

477
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Joined Aug 6, 2010
I think there are a lot of proteins out there that are either way overrated or quite underrated.

For example, while I like dorado (or dolphin), I think it's way overrated, especially when people call it mahi-mahi. There are much better fish out there in my opinion, but it has become exceedingly trendy.

I also think "Black Angus" beef is overrated. If an angus and, say, a Hereford were both raised properly and slaughtered at the appropriate time, one would find it practically impossible to tell the two apart once cooked. The feed and care of the cow, as well as the grading, has much more to do with the quality of beef than the breed alone. In other words, a prime Angus steak that is raised in a grain feedlot to fatten it as quickly as possible will most likely have less flavor than a Hereford that is free range and fed with a balanced diet of grasses.

Now to the underrated. Staying with the bovine theme, marrow (of all animals really) is quite underrated. I think it may be because of a gross-out factor for some, or the fact that it's simply not that abundant by nature, but properly prepared marrow is delicious.

I also think that wild game is underrated. I'm not sure why this is, and maybe I'm reading the attitude of some non-foodies the wrong way, but it appears that some people have an adverse opinion of the culinary qualities of rabbits, venison, squirrels, and the like. Regardless, these little critters make some of the best meals I have personally ever had.

What do you consider to be highly overrated and underrated proteins?
 
6,367
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
I'd agree almost 100% with both your choices and analysis, Tyler.

Dolphin, of course, is the orange roughy of this decade. Only reason it's got so many names is because people think, when you say dolphin, that you're about to filet Flipper.

But I wouldn't rank it as the most over-rated. For me, among sea critters, that distinction would go to shark. But what can you expect from a creature that Ps through its skin!

Lawd, you don't want to get me started on Black Angus. That's been the greatest merchandising job since Moses sold the Hebrew chilun on the big ten.

I don't think marrow is so much underrated as under-available. Anyone who's had the pleasure of sitting down with a large marrow bone and a small spoon looks forward to repeating the experience.

Game is actually going through a resurgence. There were historical imperatives as to why Americans, as a race, didn't do game in the 20th century. But now that so much of it is farm raised it's appearing on an every growing number of menus, both in restaurants and at home. I've actually been working on an article about that, and you'd be surprised how popular it's become.

From where I sit, the most underrated protein is goat.
 
477
35
Joined Aug 6, 2010
Game is actually going through a resurgence... But now that so much of it is farm raised it's appearing on an every growing number of menus, both in restaurants and at home. I've actually been working on an article about that, and you'd be surprised how popular it's become.

I've noticed this as well, and it's heartening. However, I think there's still some aversion to truly wild animals. I don't consider pen raised deer to be wild game any more than I consider deli ham to be a wild boar. The diet, habits, and ranging abilities of a deer make the wild version a completely different protein from it's pen-raised cousin, at least in my opinion. At the same time, I also understand that wild game is not commercially viable.

From where I sit, the most underrated protein is goat.  

I'm going to have to agree that it's extremely underrated.
 
7,602
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
Most overrated - Filet mignon and prime rib.  Been there done that.  I'm much more interested in the parts of the animal that needs to be cooked low and slow.  Those cuts have the best flavor.  I'll take chuck over prime rib anyday, as long as it's cooked right.

Most underrated - quail.  It's the tastiest little bird but a lot of people think they're too cute to eat.
 
3,036
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Joined May 5, 2010
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM liver and onions with bacon.

Most overrated are the steaks and Ribeye (as in Prime rib, which it is not)

Most underrated....:

offal of any kind

root vegetables

Carp

Charcuterie...just to name a few
 
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Joined Nov 5, 2007
Agreed!!

Most underrated - chuck steak.

I'll agree with that.  When it comes to beef I am a firm believer that chuck is quite flavorful.  Makes much better burgers than ground round.

And chicken breasts are also overrated, especially the boneless, skinless ones.  Whenever possible I use bone in, skin on breasts for better flavor.  If the recipe calls for it I cut the meat off the bone AFTER cooking.  Hard to do with a stir fry, but leg and thigh meat has more flavor and works well.

Liver - I love it, my wife doesn't want it in the house.  I don't eat it as often as I'd like.  Oh well.

mjb.
 
477
35
Joined Aug 6, 2010
Fortunately, my fiance lived in Brazil for three years as a child, so she has an appreciation for offal. I agree that liver, and really any offal, is widely underrated.

I also think that frogs are underrated.

Chicken, unless fried, is greatly overrated. The only reason to eat it otherwise is because it's healthy, but so is fish.
 
2,753
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Joined Feb 26, 2007
Hmm I would disagree about flake (aka shark) being over-rated. No bones to muck about with, for one,  But beer battered and deep fried then with crispy chips and tartare sauce and squish of lemon - luverly /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

I certainly agree that offal is highly under-rated.  My favourite being lamb kidneys followed closely by liver.  Can't comment on tripe or brains -just have never tried them and not sure I want to.  No reason, just puts me off in my mind.

Chicken breast - yes - over-rated, but if done well, as in really well prepared and properly cooked, can be good.  Just gotta practice and get it juicy enough.  I prefer thighs every time.

Fillet steak - give it a miss.  Little flavour, very costly.  Tender, yes, but scotch fillet or rib-eye beat it hands down.  I think with fillet it is more of a snob factor *because it costs so much.

Mutton is highly under-rated and further to that, harder and harder to get.  So many people want the little baby lambs.  So the market caters for that.  They've had no time to run around and work their muscles to get real flavour into their meat.  Sure, mutton requires slow cooking, the longer the better.  The end result - so tasty and tender.
 
477
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Joined Aug 6, 2010
BDL, had duck heads when I was in Shanghai a few years ago. Very interesting to be sure. Also had chicken feet and goat eyeballs. Definitely an interesting culinary experience.
 
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Joined Jul 30, 2007
the only reason i don't eat duck lips is that i'm afraid they'll make me talk even more than i do! and with an accent already! who's the lucky person who gets to remove the tongue and eyeballs? and do what with? i know they don't get tossed out!.....2 cents worth, i think flatirons, tri tips and hangar steaks are hugely underrated...don't think beef filet is overrated at all..its just pricey and needs a  good sauce and preparation ..... a perfectly whole roasted or grilled beef tenderloin with bearnaise sauce(come on, who doesn't like bearnaise?) or a pepppercorn sauce is heaven..steak wise,i think the most popular are rib eye and new york...and understandably so...simple sraightforward meat on your plate, not to disappoint...all fish that is sustainable is good with me..as the islanders say, "gotta go to come back", which simply means, see ya later

joey
 
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Joined Oct 27, 2010
Most overrated: turkey in any form, and especially the holiday roast turkey. Inedible! There are people who for some inexplicable reason expect it, so I have been dutifully making turkey at Thanksgiving for the past 35+ years, but I refuse to eat it. I make a tasty toast ham or standing rib roast for the feast, too. The idiocy of using ground turkey anywhere that ground beef, pork or lamb tastes far better, or of trying to call an atrocity of strips of protein made from turkey "bacon" or passing off ground turkey and spices as sausage. Also chicken breasts, goes doubly for skinless and boneless; all sources of moisture and flavor have been removed. Too many restaurants appear not to have any chicken thighs, skin on and bone it, in the house. It's the best part of the chicken. Using Mexican chorizo where the very different flavor of Spanish chorizo of one kind or another is expected.

 Most underrated: goat, bluefish, fresh grilled sardines, braised lamb shanks, and yes, chuck steaks with plenty of marbling. Using goose fat or beef kidney suet or rendered chicken fat for cooking fat. Wild boar. And yes, all manner of charcuterie! Country style pates, ubiquitous in Europe and hard to find in the US. It is also very difficult to find somebody selling prosciutto and serrano/iberico hams that haven't had the lovely layer of fat removed before selling. They wouldn't be caught dead cutting off all the fat in the countries of origin! Quail and quail eggs. Duck and goose eggs. Free-range hen eggs, and eggs from chicjens that produce something other than basic white and brown (such as araucana). Goat and sheep milk. Genuine (not cultured) buttermilk with actual bits of butter in it. (Not because they added it, but because it is the actual remains of butter-making.)  Raw milk and unhomogenized milk.
 
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
Why so much anger Dorine?  Is anyone anywhere allowed to like turkey in any form?  I'm actually new to turkey, have always disliked it and refused to eat it even at thanksgiving.  But in the past year I have grown to really like turkey a lot and roast a turkey breast at least once a month if not more.  I think it's a bit extreme to call the use of ground turkey "idiocy" because some people may actually prefer the flavor. 
 
523
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Joined Mar 9, 2010
Turkey is underrated

                                     I would love to see Turkey on everyday menus....not just Holidays. The comment I get is oh I save my turkey appetite for Christmas or ThanksGiving......(give me a break...lol) . Lamb Shanks are underrated ....I don' t see them on menus enough or any friends cooking them at home. They'll say" Lamb Shank? What's a Lamb Shank?"

Venison is overrated......call it deer and people think of Bambi! ...Venison seems to be the big deal in my neck of the woods. I see at least one everytime I head into town crossing the road or through the trees My sister has a freezer full. She just made Venison Egg Rolls for a Halloween Party we attended. The party food had to have a Ghoolish Theme so she called them " Road Kill in a Coffin!" This was the hit of the party! Venison is everywhere on almost every menu here....getting kinda tiresome.
 
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8,550
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Joined Feb 13, 2008
Chapulinas -- grasshoppers in English -- are definitely underrated. 



They're great eaten out of hand as "cocktail" food when drinking Mezcal or Tequila.  Also good sprinkled on clayudas as a bit of extra garnish.  There's more to the texture than just crunch, and the flavor is very mild.  These mostly tasted of lime.  I've heard complaints about the legs and/or feelers getting stuck between some people's teeth, but think it's probably more imagination than reality.  At leat, it's never been an issue with me. 

Gusanos (agave worms) are good too, and I mean by the (small) plateful not just the one at the bottom of the bottle.  Speaking of which... Nothing from the bottom of the bottle counts. 

BDL
 
2,171
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Joined Jul 30, 2007
por que no?...el pobre gusano solo...

 by the time you get to the bottom of the bottle, everyone's happy...you, the worm, the night!....its the prize in the crackerjack box, although at this hour, neither the worm nor the mezcal sounds so bueno!  however, 'patron' tequila cafe(think tia maria) is 'over the moon' incredible....especially in morning coffee

joey
 
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Joined Feb 13, 2008
Insects on the bottom of the bottle don't count any more than a "last call" romance.  The last bottle I killed (same place as the chapulinas) had a scorpion in it:



Life isn't all Midori.  Tempus fugit and so do inhibitions.

BDL
 

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