Sunday, April 10, 2011


Silkie is a breed of chicken 
which got its name from its fluffy feathers which feel like silk. 
Most of the information on the silkie, including the pictures of the live chickens, came from Wikipedia. Other unusual features of the silkie are their five toes (most chickens have four) and dark blue flesh and bones, which is what interested me in trying their meat. 
They probably originated in Southern China and the first written account of a silkie was given by Marco Polo in the 13th century, who mentioned chickens with fur-like plumage. Their dark meat is usually considered unpalatable in the U.S. and Europe. This was made more-than-clear to me when Judy posted a picture of my uncooked bird on Facebook 
and she got about 20 unflattering responses, such as it looks like a pterodactyl. 
However, it is used regularly in Chinese, Japanese, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Korean cooking, 
but tellingly, mostly in soups. 
In China, chicken soup made with silkie is supposed to be curative. 
Ironically, despite all the puff of the live birds, their flesh is scrawny. You get more meat (and it tastes better) off a Cornish game hen. The carcass is very fun to look at and when you cut into the flesh, you see that the color is more than skin deep. 
I rubbed my silkie in sea salt and let it sit for an hour, then rubbed on some olive oil and cooked it on our outdoor grill over direct heat. 
It got a little charred 
and would have been better cooked on indirect heat. 
There was not a lot of meat on dem' bones, 
but what was there was different, 
one of the fun things about trying new foods. Note the thigh detached from the section right next to the wing.
Thigh meat shows darker than usual meat and much darker connective tissue.
Finally, a leg with more detailed view of the darker meat. 


  1. You've got to say whether you whether you liked it or not! You didn't qualify the sunchokes either! I see these at Zion Market all the time, thinking about getting one for soup.

  2. I would not cook silkie again for the taste, but would for the presentation. It is very weird looking, but the taste is not great, it is akin to eating a scrawny old goat.

  3. Well you sold me on it. Nothing says delicious like "scrawny old goat."

  4. Hey Bob, Thanks for posting this exploration into the exotic (for us Westerners). I'm putting a link to your blog in an online course on graphic design where the color of chicken meat is discussed, so I hope you'll leave this up for another five years :-). BTW, the June 2012 Smithsonian magazine says blue Silkie meat sells for up to $10/lb, so I imagine the right recipe might improve the "old goat" flavor. Unless that too is a cultural preference...