As popular as it is on dinner tables around the world, chicken is often overcooked. Fears over uncooked poultry may sometimes cause people to cook this meat longer than they need. To make sure it is safe to eat, some people have a tendency for overcooking chicken.
This is unfortunate for two reasons. Not only is overcooked chicken a chore to eat, but it is something that can be easily avoided.
To make sure your chicken is the best it can be, take care not to repeat these common mistakes for overcooking chicken.
Problem #1: Cooking at Cold Temperatures
As we had told you in our blog How to Avoid Overcooking Your Chicken, it’s important to cook chicken quickly at high temperatures to help preserve its moisture. To accomplish this, it’s important to get your ingredients ready for cooking by getting them out of the refrigerator early.
Allow your chicken meat to sit on your counter for 15-30 minutes before cooking. This will allow your meat to comfortably reach room temperature, and help ensure it has an even temperature both inside and out. As well, this will help the meat cook evenly without delay.
Not only that, there is a counterpoint to this problem. In addition to not cooking with cold meat, you should also avoid cooking with a cold pan. Don’t put in your chicken meat before the pan or grill is nice and hot. This will stop the chicken meat from steaming instead of searing or sauteing.
Problem #2: Not Resting After Cooking
Problem #3: Washing Raw Chicken
Instead of washing, the best thing you should do for chicken meat before cooking is to dry it. By patting it with a paper towel, you can remove excess water that delays the cooking process and interferes with browning. Moreover, excess water may also cause splashing to occur if cooking with oil.
Problem #4: Thawing on Your Kitchen Counter
To safely thaw frozen chicken, put it inside your fridge the night before and allow it to thaw overnight. Conversely, you can also put your frozen chicken inside a plastic bag and submerge it in water, replacing it with fresh water so that it remains closer to room temperature.
Problem #5: Overcrowding Your Pan
Instead of packing as much as you can on a frying pan or baking sheet, take the time to space out your food. Give each ingredient the proper space it needs to properly cook all the way through. If not, your chicken meat may be steaming instead of searing.
Tired of making the same mistakes? Want some tips to improve the way you cook chicken? Check out these simple tips:
Tip #1: Thighs Instead of Breast
As an alternative, choose chicken thighs instead. Not only does this cut of chicken commonly come with skin attached, but bone as well – two things that greatly help chicken meat retain its juiciness.
Tip #2: Start in the Pan, Finish in the Oven
Tip #3: Marinade/Rub/Season/Brine
Take care not to skimp over this all-important part of chicken preparation. Depending on the recipe, chicken meat may need seasoning for extra flavor, or a long brine can help create moisture inside the meat.
Looking for inspiration? Try common seasonings such as lemon pepper, lemon zest, cayenne, olive oil, or paprika.
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