By Aly Walansky
Updated March 30, 2016
Credit: Ben Queenborough

If you’ve been noticing your chicken tastes kind of tough and rubbery of late, it’s not your imagination.

This poultry muscle ailment, with symptoms including tough and chewy breast meat, is being attractively called “woody breasts” and it’s a fowl situation attacking the poultry scene. In fact, the Wall Street Journal estimates as much as 10% of breast meat may have this situation.

Well, that’s appetizing.

The problem may be rooted in the poultry industry breeding extra large chickens. These bigger chickens seem to have tougher breast meat, and while it’s not harmful to the health of those dining on these birds, it’s certainly risky for the feedback your dinner party will receive.

“Given that the percentage of woody breast meat is so small, it is unlikely that many have knowingly experienced it, but there should be some empathy. How many times have we been enjoying any type of dish and bit down on something unexpected? Anytime you feel like you have ‘hit a tendon’ while eating is not that fun,” says Matthew Robinson, a chef, food scientist and recipe creator at The Culinary Exchange.

“If it is true that woody breast and the other issues are due to breeding, this was likely undertaken to meet consumer demand for bigger, meatier birds. We should be careful what we ask for and immediately send the message asking for better. It could be that eating local might help, but who knows if smaller farms have this issue, too? Although it seems unlikely given the percentages given, since the causes are unknown, small farms might have the issue, too. Perhaps they chalk it up to less breeding,” says Robinson.

So, what wine pairs well with "woody"?