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Cooking chicken fillets for burgers

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'd like to hear how some of you prepare your chicken fillets for making chicken burgers. I cook my fillets on high heat after pounding them between cling wrap, but they always seem a little too dry and tasteless.

How would you cook them, I'd like to get them really soft, and how long would you think is ideal to marinade the fillets before cooking them?

Thanks
post #2 of 13
Paillards (thin pounded chicken) wouldn't be my first choice for a grilled chicken sandwich. Wrong shape and size. And they're easy to overcook which makes them dry and tough.

Using breasts is tricky as they're very lean. These are usually a poor shape (thin on one end and thick on the other) and size (too big) for grilled sandwiches as well. Rather than pounding, butterfly it but cut through so you have two thin pieces better suited to chicken burgerdom. Brining is one way to improve a breast for this application. Injection is good too but not after butterflying.

I'd use a boneless skinless thigh. It has more fat to ensure juiciness and flavor. It too has some shape problems with two thick ends and a thin middle. Fold the smaller thick end under the thin part and skewer it to hold it in place.

The thigh can be simply seasoned and grilled, but is also a good choice for other treatments.

Various dried rubs are easy and flavorful. I use this one for many general purposes I give it in parts so it's easy to scale and shift the flavor for specific uses

1 part garlic powder
2 parts onion powder
1 part paprika
1 part salt
2 parts ground black pepper or to taste
1 part dried herbs. Mixes are good like fine herbes, herbes de provence, italian. Or blend your own for the particular purpose.

Mix well, breaking up clumps or large herbs.

Marinades are good too. Here's my favorite for grilled chicken:

1/2Cdry white wine

1/3Colive oil

juice of one lemon

2-3clovesgarlic, minced

3Tdijon mustard

pepper to taste

OPTIONALany single herb to tilt the flavor. Best choices are basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, savory. Many would use tarragon but I don't like it personally.

Combine all ingredients. I often leave the garlic whole and then puree the whole thing with my hand blender. This results in a fully emulsified sauce that won't separate even over extended marination.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks phatch, some good info there.
Good point on using chicken thighs, that never crossed my mind perhaps because they are usually a lot smaller.

What do you think would be optimum marinade time for that marinade of yours?
post #4 of 13
The trick we find, is to use plenty of oil. 170 degrees (almost deep frying) speeds up the cooking and avoids drying out the chicken breast. works well.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #5 of 13
For chicken, a couple of hours refrigerated.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #6 of 13
You are pounding them to thin, of course they will dry out. Scallopinni style cutlets are always sauteed and served moist like marsala.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #7 of 13
Perhaps brining for a couple hours, if they're not factory-brined already?
post #8 of 13
Is that a chicken burger or just a sandwich? Oh never mind, different thread :smiles:

When making sandwiches I usually just butterfly the breasts and trim off the thin bits at the end. Then season, lightly flour, egg wash, bread crumbs and pan fry. Mayo on the buns, dill pickle chips, thin slices of tomato, a bit of provolone or swiss and some lettuce - great sandwich.

If you actually want more of a burger type burger, ground chicken might be the way to go. When dealing with ground beef I prefer not to mix stuff in with the meat, but ground chicken can be pretty lean and dry. I'll mix in finely diced onions or shallots and finely diced bell peppers, perhaps a small bit of celery. The veggies tend to provide a bit of moisture during cooking in addition to the flavor component. Toasted buns, your favorite burger toppings, maybe some smoky, zesty barbecue sauce - good stuff!

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #9 of 13
One could almost certainly employ an asian method called "Velveting". On top of that beating the fillets flat, soaking them overnight covered in water, with whatever flavour you want to use, i.e. star anise, garlic or ginger (it doesnt really matter what flavours, as long they diffuse readily in water) makes the fillets a little bit more juicy.

So in a nutshell, Soak over night in water, drain and pat dry. Coat in cornflour and deepfry until golden.

Or just use thigh fillets.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #10 of 13
I've done this many times:

Trim off thin, pointy, end of breast and smack the thick end a good whack or three to flatten it a tad. Marinate the chicken breast in buttermilk for as long as you've got. Half and hour at the very least, 3-4 hours is great. When ready to cook, take chicken out of the buttermilk and pat mostly dry. Dredge/dust with seasoned flour, you can let this sit for a few minutes to dry a bit more and take the chill off, and then saute. I use half butter and half oil for the fat. I cook it on medium heat so it cooks through by the time it's golden browned.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all those that have some posted.
Some great ideas here, I'm going to try all of them :)
post #12 of 13
Hi, at work we cut the breasts in half the flour egg breadcrumb, deep fry then put in the oven then one cooled down we freeze then and take them out to order but at the moment we defrost them in the microwave but they keep going hard and arent very crispy.

Has anyone got a recipe out there that helps me with it? Tips? Tricks? Anything
post #13 of 13

Make them to order. How is the chicken served?  How many do you sell in a day? If your restaurant does not sell very many, time to ditch the item.

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