The meats serve a different purpose when the animal is still alive. More work required from that muscle means longer fibers (more beefy texture) and more myoglobin (the red color) for extra oxygen storage. Chicken breast, for example, isn’t used very much when the chicken is alive. It’s developed very short fibers- that slimy texture when raw- and hardly any myoglobin- it’s white. The flavor mostly comes down to the subtle differences in diet.
– lots of muscle use = long fibers, lots of red color
– little muscle use = short fibers, little red color
– long fibers = tougher/chewier texture
– short fibers = softer/tender texture
> they all have similar diets
Your premise is wrong.
Cows primarily eat grasses—not just the grain seeds, but the entire above-ground part of the plant. They can also be fed roots and vegetables. Cows also digest food differently—microbes in their first stomach (rumen) help break down plant matter that other animals typically cannot digest.
Pigs and chickens are typically fed corn and soy, but also enjoy fruit and vegetables. Pigs also dig for root vegetables, and chickens occasionally eat insects and small animals. Chickens can also fly (poorly), and like all birds are roughly descended from dinosaurs.
Your assumption that beings that eat similar food should be the same is also wrong. Many kinds of small fish feed on plankton, but so do the largest whales.
I feel that none of these replies properly answers the question.
It’s easy to say diet and muscle use but when it comes to something like beef vs mutton, there is a very distinct taste difference though the diets and activity levels are similar. Even their milk tastes wildly different and there hasn’t been a good explanation in this thread as to why.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any answer to this and would love a good explanation.
There are multiple differences at play here. You have fast twitch and slow twitch muscles (red vs white meat), birds vs mammals and dietary differences. Fast twitch is like sprint muscle. Used rarely, but when used, used in a burst. And you have red meat, for the marathons, for keeping a steady pace for longer.
Chickens don’t use much muscle at all, until they have to flee a predator. Quick burst of flight and they’re out of reach. Cows on the other hand, when they’re chased by predators, they’re in for the long haul, miles and miles of steady speed to avoid the wolves or something.
Ducks are capable of trekking, they tend to have more red meat than chickens.
Birds and mammals are different, hence bigger differences in meat. A more obvious example of this is fish and other animals. The meat of fish tends to have less stability (fall apart more easily when heated) than the meat of birds or mammals. But different paths of evolution give you different paths of their meat. Fish don’t have nearly as much fascia, as birds and mammals do.
Birds and mammals also have different enzymes and proteins. In USA there’s a tick borne disease that might make you allergic to some mammal enzymes, but not to all meat in general. So you could end up being allergic to cow and pig and sheep, but not chicken and duck.
And then there’s diet. Not looking at what they actually eat, but looking at what they’re evolutionarily build to eat and hoe to digest that. Cows eat grass and stuff that is hard to break down. They have multiple stomachs with different bacterial cultures to help break down all the cellulose. They also eat what ends up in their first stomach a second time (ruminate) to break up the parts that are seriously hard to break up, with teath and bacteria.
Chickens and pigs eat thing higher in nutritional value. Pigs aren’t perfect herbivores, but are omnivores. They are able to live off of a wide variety of foods. They can live on kitchen trash we now usually throw on a compost mount. They can live on mostly human excrement. They can live off of meat. Just everything they can fit in their mouths, they can eat. That they eat what most cows eat (soy beans, fodder, high protein kibbles) is just coincidence, just what we humans are offering them.
Chickens mostly live off of high energy foods. Grains in all sorts and shapes. Wheat, rye, corn. Of all the grasses only the most rich parts. They can also digest insects. But chickens need more energy dense foods than cows and pigs do. That we feed cows and pigs that as well, is just because we want to eat their muscles faster.
And you might not wonder what human meat tastes like. If you git curious, keep on reading. Otherwise,
skip this last part.
We’ve got this knowledge because of some people that turned to cannibalism to survive an airplane crash and who would otherwise not have ventured into cannibalism. (Uruguayan air force flight 571) Most of our meat tastes like pork. Just like pigs, us humans are omnivores. We are mammals that have a mix of slow twitch and fast twitch muscles and can almost live off of everything (except for grass and bark, we can’t digest the high cellulose contentlike cows can). Just like pigs. Only our hands and feet tend to taste different than pig, partially because of different microbiomes on the skin. Now you know what you didn’t want to know.
Alligators, crocodiles and ostriches all tend to taste similar to chicken. A lot of fast twitch (white) muscle and somewhat similar evolutionary path.
Seals, whales and puffin (and other sea birds) tend to taste somewhat more or extremely much like fish. That’s because they eat a lot of fish. I personally haven’t had the pleasure of company of someone who ate whale, but friends and family of mine have had the “pleasure” of eating seals and puffin. They taste like sea. My sister did end up eating half of my deer after she chose puffin as an appetiser, as she really really doesn’t like to eat fish. (Why don’t you english people have a dedicated word for not being able to eat something because you can’t stand the taste? “Doesn’t like” isn’t strong enough in this case).
Just like different plants look and taste different from one another due to their unique chemical makeup, so do animals. You wouldn’t expect a fox fur coat to feel the same as a mink fur coat because the fur is different. Same with the meat.