Moist Chicken!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by bc89, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. bc89

    bc89

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    :eek: hey, everyone, im 16 and i love cooking. but, i could never cook a moist, succulent, piece of chicken if my life depended on it. can someone please give me the key to a juicy chicken breast (and other part), for any method including baking, roasting, grilling, and frying.

    thanx a million
     
  2. jenni belle

    jenni belle

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    Well, the biggest reason chicken dries out is that it's being over cooked. A lot of people are very afraid of salmonella, and because of that, they over cook their chicken. So, first things first, use a meat thermometer to check your chicken to make sure it completely cooked without overcooking and drying it out!

    Second of all, to me, I think chicken, for the most part, is kind of bland. It needs some help. No matter your means of cooking, try marinading your meat. Another great thing for poultry is injecting it with those neat-o syringes. You can inject it with just about anything you want and the meat will tasty soooooooo yummy. Hope that helps you!
     
  3. pierre

    pierre

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    you might also try brining the chicken before you cook it.

    Brine:
    1/2 - 3/4 cup kosher salt
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    5 cups of cold water

    submerge the chicken in the brine for 4-8 hours prior to cooking, keep refrigerated the whole time.

    and like Jenni says, use a meat thermometer and don't overcook the bird
     
  4. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Brining is definitely the way to go! But chicken breasts don't really need much more than 1 hour -- otherwise you start to lose the benefit. Whole chickens do take a couple of hours, though. Whichever way you cook it then, it will be much more succulent than if you hadn't brined it.

    But even before you put the chicken in the brine, you should know that it's a GOOD chicken. If you have the chance to do the shopping, look for a "natural" or "organic" chicken -- they are more expensive, but they just are soooooooo much tastier to begin with :lips: than the factory brands. The best is if you can buy from a farmers' market -- that will be a GREAT chicken!
     
  5. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Good point, Suzanne. There's more and more of that "marinated" chicken out there that's pumped with chemicals. ANY salt added to poultry or pork that's been pumped is a bad idea. I'm thinking of the whole chickens as well as the parts that are out there with "Lemon Pepper Marinade" and so forth. Stay away from dreck like that. Fresh and natural: that's what you want.
     
  6. panini

    panini

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    Over cooking can be bad with chicken but I feel the key is to seal in the natural juices and do not cut or spear before the chix has time to recover from the plunge. :D
     
  7. chefron

    chefron

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    I agree that brining is absolutely the way to go. Not just chicken, but turkey too! Cook to an internal temperature of 165-degrees (inserting the tip of a meat thermometer into the thickest point of the thigh).

    -Ron
     
  8. markv

    markv

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    The best way to make a juicy chicken is to make duck instead.

    But seriously folks...........

    Does it have to be a chicken breast? A skinless, boneless chicken thigh only has 3 grams of saturated fat but delivers markedly more flavor and juiciness.

    BUT, if we have to do the breast, the two key things to do have already been said: Brine and don't overcook.

    Mark
     
  9. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Agreed on all counts above: brine, don't overcook, dark meat only - and duck at that!

    Really, the only way to get chicken breast to melt in your mouth is to flash fry it. This means getting it super hot enough so that it "cooks" but doesn't get cooked long enough to lose it's moisture or get tough, and eat immediately - the longer it sits, the more it cooks and the tougher it gets.

    I personally don't like chicken breast unless it melts in my mouth and I'm not kidding - it is possible. It's just that most people assume chicken breast is supposed to be dry and chewy because they've never had it any other way so they don't know any better.
     
  10. gbhunter

    gbhunter

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    I usually use my oven and then place pats of butter on the chicken! Turns out very nice. Also I use a crock pot to cook chicken in a stew like cream of mushroom. After about 6-8 hours it does melt in your mouth!!! :bounce:
     
  11. skeleton

    skeleton

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    Hey, my mom's chicken breast always was dry and gross, until I learned about searing. I don't know about brining or whatever, but for me the key is always to sear the meat at high heat initially. If you start with a cold, or cool cooking surface, as my mom used to, the result is very unfortunate.

    At work, I've been searing on a very hot grill, then finishing in the oven with some white wine- maybe 5 or 6 minutes. I find that they stay nice and moist that way.
     
  12. markv

    markv

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    Good point about the searing Skeleton.

    Mark
     
  13. redace1960

    redace1960

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    if you want to cook a chicken and then strip the meat for other uses what i do is called 'princessing'
    choose a pot which has a lid that fits tightly and that one whole chicken will fit into. the fit should be on the cozy side. have the chicken at room temp, cover with water and bring the chicken and the water up to a boil. when that point is reached, take the pot off the fire, put it on a cool burner or trivet out of draft-in a cold oven is perfect-and lid it tightly. you can even weight it to really seal it. let it sit for one hour. the hot water will cook the chicken perfectly all the way through and leave it with a soft, delicate texture thats not like any other method of cooking. cool the chicken and strip the meat off the bone. (dont store the chicken on the bone-it makes the meat kind of rank.) if you're thrifty you can put the carcass and trims back in the broth and reduce it down for a little simple stock if you like.
     
  14. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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    Ahhh...the dry chicken. Yuk.


    Myself, I'll take all the help I can get when I'm cooking. If your anything like me, you may want to order one of these in oven meat thermometer..

    I've also found that it helps to buy the smaller birds. They usually cook and taste much better (to me). I've found many of the larger birds (which look like they were on steroids. hmmm!)...but I've found that these birds can be extremly tough, even when cooked to an appropriate temperature.



    If your doing chicken breast (no matter on the grill, oven or whatever. Season how ever you would like (but if your using iodized ssalt...get rid of it or save it for popcorn and get some course Kosher salt (non-iodized). After seasoning the breast, put the thermometer in the largest section of the meat which is near the center.

    Cook at 325-335 or do a quick sear on the grill (two minutes each side over high direct heat) then move an area of indirect heat, trying to maintain near the same temp. Set the temperature on the thermomter for 160f.

    After the timer goes off...poke around and "check" to make sure that you are indeed in the "cool" spot for the temperature probe. Once you ensure that you are...remove the bird and let it sit for ten minutes. During this time the temperature will actually rise some. As time goes on you can make adjustments that you feel comfortable with.

    Eat!


    If your cooking a (YUM) whole bird. I like to liberaly season the outside of the bird with Course salt, fresh pepper and whatever other seasons are catching my taste buds. Then stuff the inside cavity with a halved onion, some halved garlic, carrots, basil, parsly, rosemary...whatever you want. Then lightly put some olive oil on the bird (both sides). Then rub the bird.

    Now, when cooking a whole bird you want to cook the breast meat to the same 160f. But you also want to cook the dark meat to 180f. You want to pay careful attention to cook the dark meat to the appropriate (safe) temperature, without overcooking the breats. What I like to do on all birds, even small ones, is to use a trick some people use for large turkeys. I flip the bird over, breast side down. I also like to use a pan that is just a bit larger than the bird. Most often for small chickens I just use a decent size ALL METAL WITH NO NON-STICK COATING, such as the calphalon hard anodized pans. The main thing is that they are safe to use in the oven at higher temperatures. But don't use a giant roaster on a small bird.

    Now stick the meat thermometer in what you "believe" to be the thickest area of the thigh nearest the inner cavity. Set the temperature probe to 180f. Once the temperature probes indicates 180F, move it around to ensure that it is indeed in the coolest area of the thigh.

    Onethe probe has reached the desired temp...you take it out and let it sit for ten minutes. After that time has passed go ahead and carve the bird.

    If you like...you can also make a sauce for the bird using the pan it was cooked in. (I'm sure many here will be able to offer much better suggestions!) What I do...is pour off the juices from the pan in a measuring cup and let the fat seperate to the top. While this is happening...I'll take wine and deglaze the pan scraping up all the cooked bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the wine has reduced to a syrup consistancy I will remove whatever fat that had risen to the top of the measuring cup...then pour the remaining juices in with the pan. Stir for a bit...turn the heat off...throw in a little bit O butter and the juice of one half lemon...stir again. Then pour atop your chicken.


    I really think that cooking with a thermometer is a good idea to help you. Once you get comfortable cooking your meats both on the grill and in the oven...then you can choose to cook by site, or touch, or internal clock.


    happy cooking :)


    Forgot to add...don't throw away the carcus. WHatever is left..use it to make some chicken stock...which you may later...use in a sauce for your chicken.
     
  15. bc89

    bc89

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    hey guys, sorry i haven't replied. i was on vacation. but, what exactly is brining and what does it do.
     
  16. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    It's a soak (the timing depends on the meat/poultry and the ingredients in your brine) that tenderizes and allows the meat to hold the moisture. Salt, sugar and spices are combined in a liquid (water, fruit juice, etc.), and the meat or poultry are submerged in it for a period of time (1 hour for small items, up to a day for a turkey). The salt enables the flesh to take up moisture (think of how you "retain water" when you eat salty food!) but the balance of salt and other flavors should keep the meat from tasting too salty.

    When commercial operations do this (Purdue, etc.) they use chemicals and funky salts that are supposed to keep the flesh from becoming rubbery, but to my palate they fail miserably. The meat is overy salty in flavor and mushy in consistency. But a well-prepared home brine doesn't cause those problems.

    There have been discussions about brining; use the search button to locate these older threads. Good luck!
     
  17. redace1960

    redace1960

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    hope you had a good time :)
    brining is one of the secrets behind 'colonel fried chicken'. this technique alone will put you a long way towards your goal of making a nice, moist chicken. mezzaluna has the 411; also search the forums. gonefishin' also makes a good point about cooking times, temps and using only UN -iodozed salt.
     
  18. bc89

    bc89

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    :rolleyes: when brining, do you have to use water? could i use a broth or something else. i was just curious to know if i have to be limited by water only. :chef:
     
  19. panini

    panini

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    Ya know, if your doing home chicken, The grocery stores are basically doing this for you. Almost everything I see out there has 10-15% liquid added. Of course this is salt, stock and whoi knows what?
    I have to tell you, there is no such thing as dry chicken with this stuff. Look closely though, they try to hide it on the package.
     
  20. suzanne

    suzanne

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    (Oops, I didn't see everyone else's answers on the second page. :blush: But we all agree :p )

    Brining at its simplest is soaking the chicken (or pork chops, or turkey -- you get the idea: whatever meat you are going to cook) in a solution of salt and water. (You can add other flavorings, like sugar or herbs or hot sauce, but salt + water = brine.) The idea is to allow the meat or whatever to absorb some of the salt and water (and other flavoring), to gain moisture and flavor. That way, when you cook it, it will not lose as much moisture -- and we all know how awful dry chicken is! :(

    As Panini says, when you buy some meats in the supermarket, if you look closely you'll see from the label that they have water and salt added: that's the same as brining. But it's much better if you do it yourself at home, because you can control the amount of salt, and you won't end up paying for the water they've added. :mad: Besides, you can add other flavor (not much, but a little).

    If you look on the Food TV website for Alton Brown's show on brining, you'll find just about everything you want to know. (I haven't seen him talk about it, but I'm pretty sure he did.)

    You don't really gain anything by using broth: you're going to discard the liquid after you take the chicken out. Salt plus water (plus maybe some herbs) is really all you need. For any other flavors, add those during the cooking when you'll keep the juices.