Meat vs. Poultry

What's the Difference?

Meat and poultry are both popular sources of animal protein that are widely consumed around the world. While meat refers to the flesh of mammals, poultry specifically refers to the flesh of birds, such as chicken, turkey, and duck. One key difference between the two is the taste and texture. Meat tends to have a richer and more robust flavor, while poultry has a milder taste. Additionally, poultry is generally leaner and lower in fat compared to most types of meat. Both meat and poultry are versatile ingredients that can be cooked in various ways, making them essential components of many cuisines globally.


Photo by Victoria Shes on Unsplash
SourceGenerally from mammals (e.g., beef, pork, lamb)From birds (e.g., chicken, turkey, duck)
TextureVaries depending on the type of meatTends to be tender and less fibrous
ColorVaries depending on the type of meat (e.g., red, white)Mostly white or light-colored
TasteVaries depending on the type of meat (e.g., savory, gamey)Varies depending on the type of poultry (e.g., mild, gamey)
Cholesterol ContentVaries depending on the type of meatGenerally lower cholesterol content compared to meat
Protein ContentVaries depending on the type of meatGenerally high protein content
Iron ContentVaries depending on the type of meatGenerally lower iron content compared to meat
Vitamin B12 ContentVaries depending on the type of meatGenerally higher vitamin B12 content compared to meat
Common DishesSteak, bacon, sausage, etc.Fried chicken, roast turkey, grilled duck, etc.
Photo by Ben Moreland on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to choosing between meat and poultry, there are several factors to consider. Both meat and poultry are excellent sources of protein and essential nutrients, but they also have their unique characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the attributes of meat and poultry, including taste, texture, nutritional value, cooking methods, and environmental impact.


Meat, such as beef, lamb, and pork, is known for its rich and robust flavors. The taste of meat can vary depending on the cut, marbling, and cooking method. For example, a well-marbled ribeye steak offers a juicy and tender texture with a distinct beefy flavor. On the other hand, poultry, including chicken and turkey, has a milder taste compared to meat. Poultry's flavor is often described as delicate and slightly sweet, making it a versatile ingredient that can be easily paired with various seasonings and sauces.


Meat and poultry also differ in terms of texture. Meat tends to have a firmer texture due to its higher fat content and muscle structure. Depending on the cut and cooking method, meat can range from tender and melt-in-your-mouth to chewy and robust. Poultry, on the other hand, has a softer and more delicate texture. The meat of chicken and turkey is generally leaner and less fibrous, resulting in a more tender and moist mouthfeel when cooked properly.

Nutritional Value

Both meat and poultry are excellent sources of high-quality protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. However, their nutritional profiles differ slightly. Meat, especially red meat, tends to be higher in saturated fat and cholesterol compared to poultry. On the other hand, poultry is generally lower in fat and calories, making it a healthier choice for individuals looking to reduce their fat intake. Poultry is also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, and selenium, while meat provides essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

Cooking Methods

Meat and poultry require different cooking methods to achieve optimal results. Meat, with its higher fat content, benefits from slow cooking methods such as roasting, braising, or grilling to break down the connective tissues and render the fat, resulting in tender and flavorful dishes. Poultry, on the other hand, can be cooked using various methods, including baking, grilling, frying, or even poaching. Poultry is often cooked to a higher internal temperature to ensure food safety, as it is more prone to bacterial contamination compared to meat.

Environmental Impact

Considering the environmental impact is crucial when making food choices. Meat production, especially beef, has a higher carbon footprint compared to poultry. Cattle farming requires significant amounts of land, water, and feed, contributing to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and water pollution. Poultry, on the other hand, has a lower environmental impact due to its smaller size and shorter lifespan. Chicken and turkey farming generally require less land, water, and feed, making them more sustainable options compared to beef or lamb.


Meat and poultry both have their unique attributes that make them appealing to different individuals. Meat offers rich flavors and a firmer texture, while poultry provides a milder taste and a more delicate texture. Nutritional value varies slightly, with meat being higher in fat and poultry being lower in calories. Cooking methods differ as well, with meat benefiting from slow cooking and poultry being versatile in various cooking techniques. Lastly, considering the environmental impact, poultry tends to have a lower carbon footprint compared to meat. Ultimately, the choice between meat and poultry depends on personal preferences, dietary needs, and environmental considerations.

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