Help chicken breasts

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Joined Mar 31, 2013
Hi All, I noticed more recently when cooking chicken breasts they always seem tough and I am careful not to over cook. Is there something going on with the industry in general? Any suggestions, tips or ideas?
 
4,278
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
I’ve noticed that too. Sure, both overcooking or undercooking will was to toughness but in some cases I think it’s something else going on. Maybe old hens? Maybe old roosters? Maybe steroids? Not sure. But your noticing something others have noticed too. Especially for chicken coming from ethnic markets or discount stores that started selling cheap groceries.

Don’t know what to suggest other than careful cooking and use of a thermometer. I poach chicken more now than I ever did because of that.
 
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Joined Jul 28, 2018
Try Marinating them overnight in the fridge then drain the marinade. Sear the chicken for 2 minutes then bake it in the oven.
Hope that helps :)
-Bakerbax
 
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
The best answer is to buy better chickens...there must be a local farmers market or farm that raises birds. Once you eat one of those it’s hard to go back.
 
1,489
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Joined Jan 31, 2012
Well chicken breasts as a rule are a lower moisture, drier
meat that the dark meat. If you want them moist you have to
help them with marinade, wine mustard slurry, something.
But dont expect even that to enable you to dump it in a pan
for 3 minutes per side and get a delicious tender chicken breast.
Only way I found is to sear em first if desired ( to get the color
you want) then you have to baste them, covered, or bake them, covered,
with some liquid in the baking dish.
Its essentially steaming them to a certain degree, so if you don't want
to do that, try buying the best chickens you can and stick with those.
 
813
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Joined May 25, 2015
Well, there is really no way to use "rubber chicken" except grind it or boil it then pull it for chicken soup. I've had better luck with certain suppliers. I suppose they have better inspection procedures but it's not foolproof because I believe they manually feel each chicken piece. Also we suggested staying away from those one pound breasts. Often buying smaller whole birds and using the 8 oz breasts is the way to go.
 
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Joined Jan 5, 2010
Hopefully this won't stir up a hornets nest but one solution is sous vide. Can't overcook then, moisture is not lost, and flavor to the bag (I use salt, pepper and a few sprigs of fresh thyme) and you are good to go. Leave the skin on and a quick visit to a hot pan to crisp the skin.
 
813
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Joined May 25, 2015
Hopefully this won't stir up a hornets nest but one solution is sous vide.
And you know that how? Have you actually TRIED sous vide on "rubber" chicken breast to see the results? Cut the breast in half, sous vide one half and prepare the other half in the conventional manner? I have to say that most people only notice rubber chicken when they bite into it. I can tell when I pound it or cut it across the grain when raw. Usually the piece goes into the garbage without further ado. So unless you too can identify a rubber chicken breast before cooking I have a hard time believing your opinion.
 
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Joined Jan 5, 2010
Then don't believe my post. That said, I have done several A/B comparisons cooking the same cut of protein two different ways so yes, I believe I can speak from experience.
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
Then don't believe my post. That said, I have done several A/B comparisons cooking the same cut of protein two different ways so yes, I believe I can speak from experience.

We are not talking about a normal cut of protein and which method results in a more tender and juicy meat. We are talking about abnormal chicken breast muscle tissue that is fibrous and tough that makes the chicken unusable for customary use. I am unaware of any preparation or cooking method that would make such chicken appetizing.

The WBC disorder is emerging on a global scale and the incidence rate could be up to 50% of a flock... The wooden breast condition (WBC) is a muscle abnormality observed in chicken breast meat (Pectoralis major) that is an emerging challenge to the poultry industry. Breast meat with the WBC is characterized by diffuse areas of hardness and overall muscle rigidity. Although the WBC is closely associated with fast-growth rates in broilers with high breast meat yield, the specific causes of the myopathy are unknown.

Read the entire article here: http://atlasofscience.org/the-woody...s-of-both-raw-and-cooked-chicken-breast-meat/
 
1,841
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
Hopefully this won't stir up a hornets nest but one solution is sous vide. Can't overcook then, moisture is not lost, and flavor to the bag (I use salt, pepper and a few sprigs of fresh thyme) and you are good to go. Leave the skin on and a quick visit to a hot pan to crisp the skin.

I am 100% a fan of sous vide but the problem is inherent in the meat/chicken itself and is not a result of the cooking method.
I find that naturally raised chicken are tougher. It seems the longer it takes the chickens to get to proper size, the tougher they are.

I disagree...the best chickens I've ever had (flavor, texture) have been from local smaller production farms. ABV, free range, etc is important as well. For the restaurant I buy chickens from a medium level local producer and a small local farm (both all natural) Both chickens are amazing and by far the best chickens I've eaten.

Better sourcing is 100% the solution to avoiding woody chicken. Woody chicken is a product of how the chickens are raised and if the producers take care of their birds it eliminates the problem.
 
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Joined Jan 31, 2012
Well I actually agree: unless its cordon bleu or some other
breast specific dish, I steer more clear of breasts than i ever have.
So in all my sauteed dishes including stir fry i now use dark
meat chicken- moister, cheaper and more flavorful.
 
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Joined Aug 7, 2013
Back in '13, I worked in a spot wherein I would process about 300lbs of chicken breast per week. I encountered this phenomenon for the first time. Random hard, tough spots in the center of the breast. HARD. To the touch or to the knife, these knots were difficult to deal with. I asked my manager if he knew anything about it and he responded that he knew what I was talking about, but that he had no clue what was going on. I started to do some research. I'm not a scientist, so my research bared little fruit, however, I came to a couple of unofficial hypotheses: the knots occur in the spot where the hormonal injection occurs OR the knots are stress knots, a result of the strains of growing up on an environment wherein nothing natural is available: food, movement, solace, etc. You ever get a stress headache? I think these tough spots might be like that, but the caged pectoral version.
 

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