Pink chicken breast

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Joined Aug 29, 2000
My husband and I went to a local bistro for dinner this evening. He ordered the short rib (very tasty; I've had it before) and I orderd a dish I hadn't had there, Boursin Chicken breast with apricot glaze. The wing drummy was left on, and when I cut it off, the meat was pink inside. I sent it back, and when it was returned to me (drummy still there, but browned), the thick part of the breast was still pink. I ate some from the thin portion of the breast; it tasted too salty and was rubbery. I didn't taste any apricot, either. After a few bites, I gave up. At least the green beans were tasty.

Was this breast brined somehow? What, besides some kind of chemical injection, would make the meat like that? I've bought frozen chicken breast in the past, the ones that were injected with a salty solution, and had the same result. Is there anything else that could have caused that result? I would have expected fresh, un"pumped" chicken in that restaurant.

To the credit of the establishment, they took the $16.95 off the bill. Yes, I tipped as if it were still on the tab. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 
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From my personal experience, I do NOT think "brining" had anything to do with the "pink meat".

More than likely, "pink meat" results from the age of the current commercial chickens. They, apparently, now reach market weight around 7-8 weeks, far short of what used to be 12-15 weeks

As such, the "bones" have not fully matured.

According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/chicken_food_safety_focus/index.asp
...

Pink Meat
The color of cooked chicken is not a sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that chicken has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout. The pink color in safely cooked chicken may be due to the hemoglobin in tissues which can form a heat-stable color. Smoking or grilling may also cause this reaction, which occurs more in young birds...
I have cooked chicken myself to 165°F and found "pink meat", especially in thighs and legs, but also in the breast near the wing joints.
 
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Thanks for the reply, Pete. I assumed it was brined because the flesh was so salty and had a rubbery texture.
 
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Why?  Was there something special about this restaurant?  The pumped chicken can be more tolerant of poor cooking technique (doesn't dry out as badly), which is ideal in a restaurant.  The more idiot-proof you can make something, the less waste you'll have.
 
I would have expected fresh, un"pumped" chicken in that restaurant.
 
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If they're brining chicken for over 10 hours, then I don't know what to say. Typically, when you brine a chicken, an hour or two is all it will need. And if you're brining a breast/steak/fish filet, 20 minutes or so is all thats necessary. Theres a difference between simply brining something and trying to cure it with a brine. Easy does it.
 
How long do you normally brine for?  I read/heard somewhere (probably cooks country) that after 10 hours or so, the texture can turn pretty rubbery. 
 
I commonly brine poultry and have NEVER experienced salty or rubbery results, but then again???
 
 
 
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Sounds as if they bunged it in the microwave - that would account for the rubberiness, ans perhaps bunged it onto the grill or into a pan to brown it up.  Just some thoughts.  I know one of our cooks used to chuck a rare steak which was supposed to be medium into the microwave - I was a lowly kitchen hand so couldn't say anything - but there was  no way I would eat that. That may be your answer, plus the pinkness is more than likely as what others have said, the young age of the bird.
 
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Could well be from a undeveloped young bird which no matter how cooked will show red at joints and pink even in dark meat. This subject was written on a few weeks ago in this site.
 
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My bet is that you're all right, in effect.

1. The bird was a modern, underage bird, and thus pink despite being done.

2. The meat was brined too long, and thus overly permeated with salt.

3. You sent it back, so they nuked it, making it rubbery.

Next time, order something braised, like the short ribs, or purely fired a la minute, like steak.

Incidentally, isn't it illegal to refire a dish sent back? I thought I'd read you pros talking about this a lot, and that the law is you have to make the dish new. Or is that a regional thing?
 
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Incidentally, isn't it illegal to refire a dish sent back? I thought I'd read you pros talking about this a lot, and that the law is you have to make the dish new. Or is that a regional thing?
Not anywhere I've ever been. With some things it wouldn't be as big of an issue, but if a steak was a bit under or the mashed potatoes were too salty or the carrots were overcooked, the last thing you'd want is somebody sitting there without food for 15 minutes while everyone else eats.
 
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In cold cut type meat( that is processed) one may see a rainbow like hue in the meat, Corned beef, Tongue, Pastrami this is in many cases caused by the saltpeters effect on the meat and slight under processing, but it wont harm you, just looks strange.
 
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Yes Chris it appears regional In New York  redone but Florida, cook a new plate. Who knows why?
 
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Agreed wholeheartedly on the brining. I frequently brine my birds in a buttermilk and herb blend for the opposite result. The buttermilk breaks it down and, in fact, results in a more tender bird than otherwise. Also, a bit of pink isn't an indication of proper cook time. A lot of slowly cooked birds are still pink. The true indicator of a completed bird is internal temperature. If it makes you skiddish, give it an extra 10 degrees for safety. I have a feeling that, unfortunately, this place just specialized in different dishes and you ended up ordering the "Hey, we better have poultry on the menu just in case..." dish, which they weren't very good at preparing. 
 
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Not anywhere I've ever been. With some things it wouldn't be as big of an issue, but if a steak was a bit under or the mashed potatoes were too salty or the carrots were overcooked, the last thing you'd want is somebody sitting there without food for 15 minutes while everyone else eats.
True; we never restart if a steak is returned for being underdone. We just cook it up a bit longer. (Incidentally, people, it is a huge pet peeve of mine when you come into my restaurant, order a medium steak, and then send it back because it's red or pink. If you want your steak burned, order it well done.)
 
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Pete is 100% correct . Chickens today are slaughtered so young that even if you cook them internally to 170 they will still be pink. The bone structure never gets a chance to mature. Keep in mind if cooked till 165 most harmful things are killed . to cook mere simply does nothing except dry it out. After you take it out of oven to sit  the temp will go up slightly. Such is te nature of cooking.
 

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