Baked Chicken: Vinegar effect on temp/doneness/color - this is very strange!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by 1976pianoman, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. 1976pianoman

    1976pianoman

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    Hello,

    I've discovered something that is really strange.  I am well versed in cooking/temping proteins, but am new to cooking with chicken that's been marinated like this. I typically cook chicken to 160+ - no higher than 165.  I try to remove the chicken from heat right above the min temp to kill bacteria, as this results in the most tender, moist chicken.  In doing so, I also do a "pink check".  I'll cut open a piece and check for pink.  I have come to know the simple nature of chicken - if it's no longer pink, it's done.  You can also tell by the texture.  (I assumed I was right about this - maybe not, now after tonight.)

    I marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts overnight in a red wine vinegar, salt,  a number of spices and granulated sucralose (I'm carb free at the moment so I don't use sugar).  I'm getting a strange effect on the chicken that is either a result of the vinegar or possibly the sucralose.  The chicken in the oven seems to be done at a much lower temp - 140+.  At this temp, I'm seeing absolutely no pink and what looks like moist, fully cooked chicken that is white as white can be.  I know what raw chicken looks like and this sure isn't it.  So I take the chicken out despite what the internal temp reads.  It tastes utterly fantastic.  The most tender, moist chicken I have ever had.  So tender in fact that it doesn't seem right.  It practically melts in your mouth, and to be honest, it freaks me out a bit as I'm not sure chicken should be this tender.   It's akin to a really tender filet of beef.  I'm thinking somehow it's not cooked enough?  But what explains the texture appearance and color that says otherwise? 

    Is there some effect that vinegar or sucralose has on chicken that I am unaware of? 

    I suppose there is an outside chance that my analog thermometer is broken?  It's been calibrated recently, and appears to be functioning correctly.  

    So far I'm not sick, but time will tell as the evening progresses. lol

    EDIT: Just checked the thermometer, and it's fine.  Ice water is reading 32
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  2. teamfat

    teamfat

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    I'm guessing it was in the salty vinegar too long.  Check out the recent "gummy chicken" thread.

    mjb.
     
  3. 1976pianoman

    1976pianoman

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    Interesting. Thank you.   It isn't gummy though, just really tender.  The folks on that thread didn't encounter the strange temp issue either.  Even when you over-marinate, you still need to cook to proper temp.  Accept here.    

    It wasn't sitting in red wine vinegar overnight.  I sprinkle the chicken with the vinegar then add my own spice rub, put it in a bag and refrigerate overnight.  

    The only thing I can imagine is that there is chemical change that takes place in the chicken as a result of the vinegar and/or sucralose that changes the way in which it cooks.  

    Possibly the chicken itself is treated with something that is causing this.   It's the standard bulk pack from Costco.  


     
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Two things. Vinegar will denature the protein, "cooking" it in that long marinade where it's undiluted. It won't kill off the salmonella.

    Second, breast will stop being pink quite close to 140. It will show a cooked texture at that point too, same as pork or beef. You can't rely on just how it looks for food safety in poultry. Use your thermometer.  It's a numbers game, you won't get sick every time the chicken is undercooked, but eventually, you'll run into a piece of chicken that gets you.
     
  5. 1976pianoman

    1976pianoman

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    THANK YOU!  This is incredibly important information.  :)
     
  6. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Remember, pasteurization, i.e. reduction in pathogens, is a time-temperature function. Chicken can be pasteurized below 165°F if it is held at a lower temperature for a sufficient period of time!

    From the USDA:

    Temperature    Time    Time    Time     Time    Time    Time
    °F (°C)    1% fat    3% fat     5% fat    7% fat    9% fat    12% fat
    136 (57.8)    64 min    65.7 min    68.4 min     71.4 min    74.8 min    81.4 min
    137 (58.3)    51.9 min    52.4 min    54.3 min     56.8 min    59.7 min    65.5 min
    138 (58.9)    42.2 min    42.7 min    43.4 min     45.3 min    47.7 min    52.9 min
    139 (59.4)    34.4 min    34.9 min    35.4 min     36.2 min    38.3 min    43 min
    140 (60.0)    28.1 min    28.5 min    29 min         29.7 min    30.8 min    35 min
    141 (60.6)    23 min        23.3 min    23.8 min     24.4 min    25.5 min    28.7 min
    142 (61.1)    18.9 min    19.1 min    19.5 min     20.1 min    21.1 min    23.7 min
    143 (61.7)    15.5 min    15.7 min    16.1 min     16.6 min    17.4 min    19.8 min
    144 (62.2)    12.8 min    12.9 min    13.2 min     13.7 min    14.4 min    16.6 min
    145 (62.8)    10.5 min    10.6 min    10.8 min     11.3 min    11.9 min    13.8 min
    146 (63.3)    8.7 min        8.7 min        8.9 min         9.2 min        9.8 min        11.5 min
    148 (64.4)    5.8 min        5.8 min        5.9 min         6.1 min        6.5 min        7.7 min
    150 (65.6)    3.8 min        3.7 min        3.7 min         3.9 min        4.1 min        4.9 min
    152 (66.7)    2.3 min        2.3 min        2.3 min         2.3 min        2.4 min        2.8 min
    154 (67.8)    1.5 min        1.5 min        1.5 min         1.5 min        1.5 min        1.6 min
    156 (68.9)    59 sec        59.5 sec    1 min         1 min        1 min        1 min
    158 (70.0)    38.8 sec    39.2 sec    39.6 sec     40 sec        40.3 sec    40.9 sec
    160 (71.1)    25.6 sec    25.8 sec    26.1 sec     26.3 sec    26.6 sec    26.9 sec
    162 (72.2)    16.9 sec    17 sec        17.2 sec     17.3 sec    17.5 sec    17.7 sec
    164 (73.3)    11.1 sec    11.2 sec    11.3 sec     11.4 sec    11.5 sec    11.7 sec
    166 (74.4)    0 sec        0 sec        0 sec         0 sec        0 sec        0 sec
    Table C.2: Pasteurization times for a 7D reduction in Salmonella for chicken and turkey (FSIS, 2005).
     
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The reason your chicken came out extra moist was because you brined it.  In other words, you used the laws of diffusion to help pump extra moisture into your chicken and even after the normal dehydration cooking entails, you still ended up with net extra moisture.  Extra moisture = extra moist. 

    Chicken flesh doesn't leave doubt as to whether it's cooked or not.  If it feels firm when pressed, and is opaque through and through, it's cooked.  No ifs ands or buts.

    It's hard to get an accurate internal on anything as thin as a chicken breast.  Without a doubt your temperature readings were off. 

    BDL