I have observed that cooked (fried) chicken tastes a little bit different when left in the fridge for 2-3 days. I don't observe this with pork or beef. Is there a way to get around this or is this really normal for chicken meat?
There are a few reasons why leftovers taste different. Here I will base my answer from the chapter on meat of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee (Which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn the whys of cooking).
At the same time that cooking develops the characteristic flavors of meat, it also promotes chemical changes that lead to characteristic, stale, cardboard-like “warmed-over flavors” when the meat is stored and reheated.
The reason this is observed in chicken earlier than with pork or beef is the following:
The principal source of off-flavors is unsaturated factty acids, which are damaged by oxygen and iron from myoglobin, Meats with a greater proportion of unsaturated fat in their fat tissue (poultry and pork) are more susceptible to warmed-over flavor than beef and lamb.
Here are a few ways described in the book to minimize the development of off-flavors:
- Season the food with herbs and spices that contain antioxidant compounds.
- Use low-permeability plastic wraps to cover the meat, and eliminate air pockets in the package.
- Reheat the meat properly.
- Of course, eat as soon as possible.
Every meat, or dishes for that matter, will taste different after being reheated. You might not noticed it as bad with different kind of dishes (for example, its particularly noticeable with poultry ( chicken and other birds) and fish). But rest assure, the quality of taste reduce considerably after 24 hours in the fridge and reheated.
This is due to spoilage bacteria. It wont make you sick, but it will make the food taste different. There is no way to avoid that but to cook only for what you will need for your meal.