water coming out of my chicken in the oven - why?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by siduri, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I like roast chicken thighs, cooked in the oven with very high heat so they get a nice crust and stay juicy inside. 

    Sometimes i make them fairly plain, more often with a dry rub of some sort (salt, paprika, pepper, crushed coriander seed, pink pepper, ginger, sumac, za'atar, thyme, brown sugar, hot pepper flakes etc- not all at the same time, but some combination), or I may marinate.  Sometimes with soy sauce, sometimes with lemon, sometimes with buttermilk or yoghurt. 

    I cook them at very very high heat, sometimes directly on the floor of the oven, at the max heat the oven will do. 

    The problem is, sometimes i get a nice crisp dry cooking, with no liquid in the pan, and sometimes as soon as the chicken is getting warm it releases a ton of liquid. 

    It happened tonight when had done a marinade with yoghurt and lemon and salt and a bunch of spices.  I had taken the advice in another thread about the advantages of brining.  I presume this was like a brine - liquid, sort of, and salt.  I marinated it for about 8 hours.I didn't leave it wet, but i left some of the yoghurt stuck to it, but when i use a wetter marinade, like with soy or lemon, i dry the meat, but it seems to be irrelevant, the liquid comes from inside

    I;ve noticed they are sometimes no liquid escapes and somtimes it does, and never thought to consider if it was when marinating or not.  I know that hormones fed to chickens make them retain water, or so i read.  That could account for the release of water, i guess.  But maybe it could be the fact that it absorbs liquid in the marinade?  Could it be that sometimes i don;t salt the meat till i put it in the oven and other times i put the salt in when i let it marinate or sit in its rub?

    I'll have to try a dry rub next time with no salt and a wet one with no salt and see if it leaks. 

    Any ideas?
     
  2. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    16
    Exp:
    Other
    Do you use the same supplier every time?   Some suppliers, I think, pump the birds with liquid to make more weight, and so make more money per bird. 

    The idea of a marinade surely is to penetrate the meat and because of this the flesh increases in water content, whatever the marinade is.

    I think you have pretty much answered your own question, especially regarding the dry rub method. Good idea to try them side buy side, one of both - separate pans- just to see what happens.  Buy them both at the same time so you should have the same supplier.
     
  3. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    At home cook
    No, I don't, actually, but the one i used this time is a really good butcher, with great meat.  Of course, anyone can cheat.  I don't do the marinade very often, but what you;re implying is that "brining" or marinating is not all it;s cracked up to be?

    Next time i will try both and see what happens.   
     
  4. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    175
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Maybe the practice has reached you in Italy. Here they are selling ""Flavor plus or flavor enhanced poultry. This is a fancy name for highway robbery of the consumer. They pump up the chix or vac- spin them with a flavored liquid up to 25% solution. This adds to the selling weight and increases their profit Its a takeoff on the old swift butterball turkey gimmick, which takes a 20 Lb. bird and pumps it till its 22-23 lbs. The heat expands the cells and makes it throw liquid back out..Poultry is done now like corned beef--  pumped..!!  Its not your butcher, it's the industry.!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  5. gonefishin

    gonefishin

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    28
    Exp:
    At home cook
       That's what I had thought too.  I hope this isn't the case.  

      dan
     
  6. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    At home cook
    No, i really don't think so.  I never heard of that here.  I sure hope not, anyway.  But isn't marinating or brining sort of the same thing (that's what i keep trying to understand).  I can imagine if you grill it or roast a large bird, you won't find it sitting in water, but if you cook in a pan, it all leaks out.  Or not?
     
  7. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    1,973
    Likes Received:
    151
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    You can get a good deal of water retention in chicken even without the kind of gross cheating Ed's talking about. When the chicken has been slaughtered, it's warm, and you need to cool it down fast for storage. One way to do this is to drop it into a vat of ice-cold water. It works, but the chicken will absorb quite a bit of water. When you cook it, especially cut and in a pan, the water will come back out.

    Brining and marinating are not quite the same thing, as I understand them. When you brine, you submerge the meat in a salt solution (with flavorings, usually). Then you remove it, pat it dry, and let it sit uncovered in the fridge for an hour or more so that excess liquid comes out (if you're smoking you let it sit longer, so the surface develops a tacky quality called the pellicle, to which smoke adheres). If the meat was high in liquid to begin with, you leave it in the brine a tad longer, and basically the liquids exchange and it more or less evens out.

    When you marinate, you usually don't do this period of drying, and because a marinade isn't a salt-water solution, whatever water was in the meat before brining stays in it afterward.

    A dry rub should draw out a good deal of the excess water, assuming there's a significant amount of salt and/or sugar in the rub.

    If you're having a lot of problems with this, you might start by doing a simple dry rub, then rinse and pat dry, then marinate. It's a lot of work, I suppose, but wet chicken is unpleasant.
     
  8. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    175
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Marinating is done for flavor\ Pumping or enhancement is done for pure GREED and profit. Most things here in the markets are done for profit thats it. Like stuffed fillet of sole sold in supermarket fish case $ 6.95 for a 8 ounce portion of which 2 ounces are stuffing Which brings the actual net fish amount cost in at  $18.40 a pound.,Pretty expensive.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  9. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    16
    Exp:
    Other
    Pumped hens look - well, like they've been pumping iron.  They look gross to me.  I'd rather either dry rub or marinate.  I might try Chris' idea on the next bird & see what happens.

    Re bring.  I like brined beef, silverside in particular. Long slow simmer with suitable additions for a few hours - yum.  But, I think, that's as far as I want my food brined.  Those fat, wet, soggy chooks are not my cup of tea.  Poke them and you can tell the difference, they just don't feel like a bird should feel.  If you think of water filled balloons, then thats how I feel about them.  I'd rather go for the natural touch of a well meated bird.
     
  10. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Nah, these chickens are not pumped before selling, they're all very scrawny here!  

    But i do notice conflicting messages on the brining business.  Some say yes, some say no.  It's a big pain in the neck for me, so I'll go with no. 

    My chicken always comes juicy unless i get distracted and leave it in the oven too long .... but it's hard to be distracted with that lovely aroma filling the house. 
     
  11. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,104
    Likes Received:
    186
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Are the thighs frozen? It seems you get a lot of liquid when the thighs are frozen. What brand of chickens are they?
     
  12. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    At home cook
    They're fresh thighs.  The brand?  the other day they were no brand. Another time they were the usual supermarket brands - Pollo Arena, La Corte - or supermarket non brands. 
     
  13. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    16
    Exp:
    Other
    Are you sure it's water but instead it may be chicken "juice"?  My non-brined birds give off a lots of fat and juices in the oven on a rack with the usual light oil then spices.  I start them high to crisp, then turn oven down to medium to finish.  With what's left in the pan I drain off most (not all) of the fat, and it makes for a really tasty sauce after a bit of white wine and reducing on stovetop to go with said bird.  Gotta scrape up all those yummy sticcky bits - Yum!
     
  14. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Well it might be "juice" but it's made mostly of H2O!  And H2O makes the chicken boil rather than broil.  If i don't drain it every couple of minutes i get it sitting in a wet baking sheet (and i use a very low sided pan, so it won't form steam).  It never really browns like i like it that way.  Other times it lets off fat, but no water.  No doubt the sauce you reduce from this is good, but i want the crusty meat, and could care less about sauce, in that case. 
     
  15. jackie57

    jackie57

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    sounds like "enhanced" chicken. full of salt water. you can't brown that stuff. your pan will fill with water.

    yuck.

    check on the package- by law they have to tell you- but apparently they do not have to label it where it is easily seen. look all over the package.
     
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    175
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Put a rack inside of pan so chix will not sit in liquid.
     
  17. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Thought of that, but i like the kind of browning I get with the food touching the hot pan (I have a very large pretty thick aluminum low-sided roasting pan) when it's on the floor of the oven or on a very low rack.  Trouble is, i don't know when it's going to leak water and when it isn't.  Anyway, it will sort of steam from the water at the bottom I would think, no?
     
    You'd think, but there is no salt taste, and I do believe it;s illegal here - people are extremely fussy about that sort of thing, and chickens are very small and not very fat (round) at all - to the extent that once i was in a supermarket with a friend in Boston and I said "what kind of bird is that?" thinking it was a turkey or something and she said it was a chicken.  Never saw a chicken that big here.  Looks like something from Woody Allen's Sleeper with the gigantic vegetables and animals from the future. I think the pieces would look big and kind of plump if it had been treated. 

    Nothing on the label - no ingredients at all, except "chicken"

    I wonder if, illegally, they;ve been fed hormones?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2010
  18. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,104
    Likes Received:
    186
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I like the flavor of the meat browning against the pan and I also like the fond it leaves for preparing a pan sauce afterwards. However if there is a lot of liquid then I would go with Ed's suggestion and use a rack. You could sear the chicken in a pan to crisp up the skin prior to roasting it in the oven. 

    Did you ever contact the producer of the chicken and ask them why there is so much liquid?
     
  19. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    43
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I don't have much hope of getting a straight answer from either the butcher (who will probably deny that water comes out of his chicken) or the supermarket or the producer of the chickens at the supermarket (the butcher has his own, which come from someone he knows but it's not written anywhere.)  (His beef is exceptional, mind you.  Chanina steaks that are wonderful.  But you don't get far around here with that sort of inquiry). 

    Once i had the gall to ask a bookstore owner why the books were arranged by publisher rather than author - i asked very nicely.  He YELLED at me and told me to mind my own business and he knew the best way to organize a bookstore!  But that is not an isolated incident.  Any question is likely to be taken as an accusation and responded to in kind. 
     
     
  20. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

    Messages:
    1,973
    Likes Received:
    151
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Ahh, Italy, land of I-don't-care-ism (malfattismo?).