So exactly what is a chicken tenderloin anyway? The first thing you need to know about chicken tenderloins is that there is a difference between a tender and a tenderloin. A tenderloin is a specific part of the chicken breast. While a tender is generally white meat cut from the breast, it could be any part of the chicken breast itself.
If you have ever eaten a bone in chicken breast. I am sure you have seen the semi-circular piece of meat at the bottom of the breast. It separates easily from the other meat. While it retains it’s shape and stays attached to the breastplate. That is the tenderloin.
You will not find the tenderloin attached to a boneless skinless chicken breast. It is removed and sold separately at a premium price.
Why is it called a tenderloin?
A loin is typically along the back bone of an animal. The term can also apply to a cut on the lowest part of the breast bone. As for the word tender part of the description. Since this muscle is buried under the rest of the muscles on the chicken breast it is rarely used, making it tender.
Pictured above is a boneless breast with the tenderloin in tact. The knife is pointing to the loin. Pictured below is the chicken breast with the cut removed.
So this leads us to what is a chicken tender?
Because there is no regulation on what can be called a tender. Normally you see them labeled as “white meat chicken tenders”. When you see this you can be sure that this is not a tenderloin. Most likely it is breast meat just not the loin. In some cases it may be, the size and shape are the give away.
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Before I end this article I need to give credit where credit is due. I had to “borrow some images”. Packaged chicken breast tenderloin from Tyson foods . The butchered chicken breast images came from BC Open Textbooks.
aka Sultan of Sizzle
I have been blogging about and selling grilling tool for over 12 years. A Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member, award winning writer and have over 10 years experience in the food service industry.
“I have experienced some of the best food this country has to offer and nothing is better than the food that comes off my own grill!”