or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Moist Chicken!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
: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
post #2 of 27

MMMmm....tastes like chicken

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!
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
post #3 of 27
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
pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
Reply
pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
Reply
post #4 of 27
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!
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
post #5 of 27
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.
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #6 of 27
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

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

Reply

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

Reply
post #7 of 27
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
post #8 of 27
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
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Reply
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Reply
post #9 of 27
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.
post #10 of 27

Just my 2 cents

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:
post #11 of 27
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.
post #12 of 27
Good point about the searing Skeleton.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Reply
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Reply
post #13 of 27

princessing

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.
post #14 of 27
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.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

hey guys

hey guys, sorry i haven't replied. i was on vacation. but, what exactly is brining and what does it do.
post #16 of 27
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!
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #17 of 27

...the other is italian dressing mix!

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.
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 

one more question

: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:
post #19 of 27
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.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

Reply

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

Reply
post #20 of 27
(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.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
post #21 of 27
as far as grilling goes.... turn turn flip flip .. when you see the juices rising to the surface.... its time to turn the meat regardless of what it is. watch it constantly. this works well at home. it does become a bit impractical in the workplace however.
post #22 of 27

brining

can some one tell me exaclty how this brining works as it does not appear to make sense to me. If you put any meat in a salt, or salt sugar solution the moisture is surely drawn out through osmosis as the thinner solution is drawn into the thicker solution and if anything the longer the soak the tougher the meat gets. I only ever use brining if I want to purge meats of excess blood; ie prior to blanching. If any one can explain thr brining process from a scientific perspective I would appreciate it
post #23 of 27
chefpeter,

It is actually the opposite, moisture is drawn in thru osmosis.The brining process breaks down complex proteins in the meat, allowing liquid to be absorbed.

When we cut up a whole chicken to the basic smaller divisions, we brine for no more than 15 minutes with a salt & sugar solution, any more and the meat is too salty to eat. But you will definitely be able to notice the difference a few minutes makes. The chicken will be moist and flavorfull, you don't even need to season afterwards.

For the science behing brining, go here:
http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache...ltBrining.html

From Alton Brown episode:
http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/FAQ/FAQ500s.htm
post #24 of 27
Here's a question for you...Could one brine a turkey as well?

I tend to dislike turkey as it is always so dry. I've found turkey frying to be incredibly tasty and keeps the bird moist, but isn't the healthiest way to serve! Thanksgiving's okay, but I don't think fried bird every day is the way to go!
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
Is there such a thing as Queen
of the Grill? Why do men only
get a royal title over the
barbeque? I should be queen.
Girls like to play with fire too.
Reply
post #25 of 27
Certainly. You can brine any meat. Are you kidding? I know many people who use Thanksgiving as an excuse to make deep fried turkey. Often people will do one of each, traditional and deep fried. If cooked properly, deep fried turkey actually does not soak in as much oil as you might think. I'm going to guess a MacDonalds Cheeseburger is going to be worse for you per serving.

Brining meat:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...=Google+Search
post #26 of 27
Not to be redundant, but I agree with everybody on the brine theory. I will just about always brine my chicken before cooking. I am new to this site so I'm really not sure if we're allowed to post actual recipes as I haven't seen any in the forum section, but I will post one anyway. I really like the following brine and we have used it to brine an entire thanksgiving turkey. My chicken always gets rave reviews and is always tender and very moist. I also will agree on searing the chicken. If I'm cooking breasts I will sear both sides and finish the chicken off in the oven. I also only buy my chicken from a local organic farm, the taste is so much better I could never go back to that tastless cardboard they sell at the grocery store... Here's the brine recipe:

¼ C coarse salt
¼ C drk brn sugar
20 whole black peppercorns
1 red chile, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 C hot water

Combine in glass bowl. Add the following:

1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 C cold water

Add 2-4 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts and soak for an hour or so, turning once. Even if the breasts are completely covered I find that turning them distributes the flavor more evenly.

I hope this helps! You've gotten a lot of great responses so put them to the test and see what works for you!
post #27 of 27
Well, actually osmosis in a brine works both ways. The salt water draws water out of the cells; the sugar draws water into the cells. The water is free to move in the brine and meat, but not all the salt/sugar. In the case of the salt, the concentration is higher outside the cells. So cell water flows OUT drying the cell until the salt concentration is equal on both sides. The sugar concentration is usually higher in the cells, so water is drawn IN trying to balance the concentrations. Remember the cell wall is SEMI-PERMEABLE. The water moves, the salt/sugar doesn't.

But there's more than just osmosis at work. The meat is full of interstitial space between cells surrounded by free proteins and such. The brine enters these places through diffusion. The brine denatures the free proteins a bit so some brine is trapped in the meat providing flavor and moistness.

Phil
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking