Cooking birds -- when is it cooked correctly?

309
18
Joined Aug 26, 2010
I have read several threads about both chicken and turkey on here where it has been said that everyone overcooks these birds.  How do you know when the chicken is cooked properly without being overcooked?  I understand the young birds and underdeveloped bones resulting in red meat, but raw chicken is never red anyway. 

While I'm bringing up birds, why is it that chicken needs to be fully cooked (not that I want it raw), but duck is served medium rare?  I understand that ducks actually fly and therefore, the muscles will be different, but I'm still left with the idea that ducks look a lot like chickens and therefore raw duck would be equally as disgusting as raw chicken.  Is there no salmonella concern with duck?
 
477
35
Joined Aug 6, 2010
I understand the young birds and underdeveloped bones resulting in red meat, but raw chicken is never red anyway. 
While I'm bringing up birds, why is it that chicken needs to be fully cooked (not that I want it raw), but duck is served medium rare?  I understand that ducks actually fly and therefore, the muscles will be different, but I'm still left with the idea that ducks look a lot like chickens and therefore raw duck would be equally as disgusting as raw chicken.  Is there no salmonella concern with duck?
Inherently, wild fowl is not a huge salmonella concern. I'm not sure what the statistics are, but I have heard that domestic duck is also less of a risk. Personally, I don't cook domestic duck or goose, but if I did, I would probably cook it to 165 unless I found out that it wasn't necessary.

Just make sure with chicken, turkey, and most importantly, ground turkey, that you cook to at least 165. The USDA allows up to 23% of chickens and turkeys to leave processing plants with salmonella. That means 1 out of every 4 times you buy a chicken, it likely is infected with salmonella. That allowable level jumps to 50% for ground turkey. So no matter what anyone tells you, it's better to have dry poultry than to have salmonella.

 
 I understand that ducks actually fly and therefore, the muscles will be different, but I'm still left with the idea that ducks look a lot like chickens and therefore raw duck would be equally as disgusting as raw chicken.  Is there no salmonella concern with duck?
In fact, the muscles are completely different. A wild duck breast is closer in color to beef than to chicken. Likewise, the cooking techniques that can be applied are completely different. When I cook wild duck, I'm shooting for medium-rare.


 
 
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