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pink bone joints in roast chicken

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Twice now I've roasted chickens until the internal temp indicated they were done (160F breast meat; 170, thigh meat) and both times parts of dark and light meat were pinkish. The pink was most evident in the dark meat right near the bone. The last chicken registered 180F in the thigh, and STILL there was a pink hue to both light and dark meat. What accounts for this, and is it okay?
post #2 of 33
This could be staining of the meat from the original blood in the package. If your thermometer is calibrated correctly , your fine. I run across this quite a bit, dont know why but mostly in organic chickens from a farm in Fallsburg New York( we cook 600 of these chix a week and they dont come in frozen) So far NEVER had any HEALTH PROBLEMS.:D
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post #3 of 33
Question number 1: Where did you insert your thermometer?
Question number 2: Did it touch bone?

Your oven thermostat could be inaccurate. The thermometer you're using to test could be inaccurate. I had an analog (non-digital) Taylor instant-read thermometer that gave me readings with similar results. Turns out it has a nut under the dial that you use to adjust it. I got rid of it and now use a digital instant read thermometer.
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post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
I have both those bases covered (I think): I've checked my oven a few times using two oven thermometers, and I'm using one of those Thermopens to check internal temperature. The Thermopen gives me a reading of 208F in boiling water, so I figure it's okay, give or take a few degrees. I've gone ahead and eaten the chicken despite the pink, and suffered no ill effects. Still . . .
As to where nserted. Always have problem with this, especially locating the 'deepest part of thigh' . . . so I put the probe in in a number of diff places. Not touching bone as far as I can tell.
post #5 of 33
bone darkening and pink coloration if often seen in younger chickens - something about calcification <somewhateveritisthatIforgot....>

if the cook temp is okay, the color is okay.
post #6 of 33
All the above.

My roast chooks - just plain straight roasted on a rack in a tray - usually turn out like that. Never had a problem healthwise, but if it concerns you, maybe cook a touch longer.

Are they fresh or do you defrost them? Need to be thoroughly defrosted. Do you also get them to room temp first prior to roasting? Just some thoughts. If internal says its good and your thermometer checks out, should be fine.
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post #7 of 33
I have this problem constantly at home in the US, whereas I never have it in Japan. I have two theories about it, but no decent information as to which of them, if any, is correct:

1. The chickens are harvested extremely young. Like Dillbert, I've heard that this can produce the dark bone, pink joint effect, but I don't know why or if it's true. Besides, I was under the impression that US chickens today are harvested a bit later than they were in the past, which is why chicken weights have increased.

2. At least some US chickens are packed in a way that involves adding water. I'm not sure how this is done, but you'll notice that whole chickens are very often marked with a note that they "may contain up to X% retained water." This is apparently very rare in Japanese chickens, which are harvested and sold in a much narrower period. I believe the point of the water is to grant a longer shelf life, though again, I'm really not certain. Because I never have this problem in Japan and very often have it in the US, I wonder whether the water has something to do with the effect.

Another theory I have is that if the chicken was frozen, as it usually is, the bones remain a bit colder than the rest, and unless you let the bird rest about 24 hours in the fridge and then bring to room temperature on the counter for several hours, this disparity in temperature doesn't even out. That doesn't make the stuff unsafe: if the temperature read is accurate, the chicken is safe. But it is unpleasant and mildly disturbing to look at.
post #8 of 33
Chris is correct. The chickens nowadays are a different species and harvested younger than what we got here in the U.S. a decade or two ago. Now, the currently consumed chicken grows faster and produces larger although dryer and less flavorful breasts than its counterpart grown back then. Fat flavors food and todays chicken produces very little of it.

In a word, today's chickens suck bigtime and several times at this forum I've ranted about this point.

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post #9 of 33
Aha -- so it's extremely young but overweight. That explains the larger sizes.

Do you know anything about the retained water thing?
post #10 of 33
Water in Meats

<partial citation>

FSIS Regulations and Policies Relative to Retained Water
Meat and poultry naturally contain moisture and may also contain moisture retained from post-evisceration processing. During processing, recently slaughtered animal carcasses and their organ meats (hearts, livers, kidneys, etc.) are chilled to cool them down to a safe temperature. The absorption of water used for post-evisceration processing is called "retained water" or "absorbed water." If the carcasses or parts have absorbed such water, the amount of water by percentage along with the terms "retained water" or "absorbed water," (e.g., "up to X% retained water," or "may contain up to X% retained water" or "with X% absorbed water") must be stated on the label.

Consumers can compare product labels for the presence of retained (or absorbed) water to assure that products compare equally.

Establishments may include a "no-retained-water" statement on the label when the product has not been exposed to a post-evisceration process that adds water, or the establishment has data or information that establishes that the post-evisceration processing used does not add water to the product.

Retained Water in Raw Poultry Products
Poultry is not injected with water, but some water is absorbed during cooling in a "chill-tank," a large vat of cold, moving water. The chill-tank lowers the temperature of the slaughtered birds and their giblets (hearts, livers, gizzards, etc). During this water chilling process, turkeys and chickens will absorb some of the water, and this amount must be prominently declared on the label. It is not unusual for poultry to declare 8 to 12% retained water on the label.
post #11 of 33
Retained water may be explained by how they are stored during the processing stage, and how they are prepped for freezing. I suspect the packer has to list any additives (salt solutions, etc.) but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find there are some substances that don't have to be listed- due to political chicanery, no doubt!

Note: I'm in the US.
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post #12 of 33
Does anyone really think the Butterball is injected with butter? If your paying 1.19 per lb. 10-12 % of gross weight on label.is a quote ; added SOLUTION.'
Then your paying 10 to 12 % for water. So on a 20 Lb bird 2 lbs of water cost you $2.38. Cost more then Perier:D
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post #13 of 33
I've had this pink where the thigh meets the ribs problem and I thought it was my fault some how. I'm glad to know it's not just me.

It may be safe to eat but the pink color is off putting. I sometimes cut the whole leg off the cooked bird and throw it in a saute pan for a minute to take away the pink color. My wife is especially squeemish about it.

I have a really good poultry guy I get my chickens from. I'll ask him next time and see what he knows about this phenomenon.
post #14 of 33
A few years ago someone at this forum mentioned that pink joints are a sign of a very young bird whose joints haven't fully ossified yet.

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-T

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post #15 of 33
Bloody chicken explanation:
BLOODY CHICKEN


Pat
post #16 of 33
Great article, Sleepy_Dragon. I wasn unaware of this. My husband and I went to dinner at the neighbors' home. They grilled a chicken in a pan on a Weber (charcoal) grill. I refused to eat it (under rather uncomfortable circumstances). The host and hostess told us they ate it that way all the time, it's safe, etc. That was the end of our friendship.
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post #17 of 33
Let me quote James Beard in American Cookery:

Bolding is mine. If you cook it to 160, it's safe in the dark meat but it will be pink and have pink juices. Freaks people out big time. There needs to be some education that pink isn't automatically a bad thing.
post #18 of 33
Hey Mezz:

The old Time/Life book entitled Cooking of the Viennese Empire states that the ultimate in culinary entertainment is how well one can bake a chicken. With total disrespect to how chicken is grown nowadays, noone is able to achieve poultry perfection using the current crop of feathered foodstuffs. Chickens today just don't cook up the same as they did a couple of decades ago. What needs to be done is to start again raising high fat chickens that yield around a cup of fat by the time baking is finished. Layer onto the breast a sprig of rosemary and a real, 1/8th inch thick rectangle of pork fatback and have at it by inserting it into the oven. Now THAT's real baked chicken.

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-T

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post #19 of 33
It may be safe to eat and personally, I don't mind it.

Set that on a table in front of your guests and I guarantee you will get it back in the kitchen or you will be buying that chicken dinner 99 out 100 times.
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post #20 of 33
Has anyone found the same bloody chicken result with free range hens?
Was wondering that, as they get to move about and so build up their bones and joints more than caged birds.
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post #21 of 33
I think everyone has covered the explanations I have heard.

But the particular way it was explained to me was that it usually occurs with producers who are high-volume, name branded.

The chicken is processed/packaged in such a way that the pieces absorb a fair amount of liquid which results in a heavier weight, and therefore more profit per package for the company. But whether it is solely the liquid factor, or whether it is a combo of the liquid and age/species of the chicken that results in pink chicken...who knows.

I have NOT had the pink problems with organic chicken, like someone mentioned above, nor free-range. I have also had NO problems with chicken from mexican Carnicerias or super mercados. And surprisingly, even the generic brand from my supermarket (packaged on styrofoam trays NOT surrounded by liquid) also gives me no problems...no pink and no blood-slugs near the bone. It always seems to be when I use name-brand chicken, and chicken sitting in liquid in the package. And before I look like an anti-corporate foodie, I am not....I still buy the name brand and have little problem eating the pink meat if the temperature is right.

Good luck!
post #22 of 33
Kokopuffs, that's very interesting. I know Julia Child and Madeleine Kamman both felt it was important for a home cook to know how to do this properly. You're right about today's insipid poultry. I learned how to cook as a child in the late 50s and 60s. I remember the locally-raised hens and frying chickens my mom bought for holiday meals had way, way more fat on board than those from the grocery store. Even those were fattier (and therefore, more flavorful) than those I see now. We saved chicken fat to render it down for schmaltz, and I remember that from two fryers I could pull out enough fat to half-fill a sandwich bag. Now, I'd be lucky to get enough to fill one corner of the bag.

Back to the topic: I don't remember finding pink thigh joints on chickens back in the day.
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post #23 of 33
Along the lines of Chicken fat others have mentioned, I still remember the first whole chicken I roasted. I used my mom's very old Betty Crocker book, or Better Homes recipe, or something similar. The recipe advised to baste the chicken in the drippings from the pan, and also included an insert on making fresh gravy from the drippings.

The problem? There were absolutely no drippings to baste the chicken with during the baking process...and almost nothing to use for the gravy.

I thought I had messed up or read the recipe wrong. It wasn't until years later that I learned about the differences in today's poultry and yesteryears'.

anyone want to open a retro-chicken farm? :lol:
post #24 of 33

Question about brining and retained water

I found this a very interesting thread. Roast chicken is one of my favorite dishes, and I often have this problem with pink around the bones, (which my husband refuses to eat). The chickens in Italy are very young, you can't find a chicken that will feed four with a little leftover, even if you have a pasta first course! The big chickens are always sold in pieces, if at all.
And I always have the pink bone problem. So it's nice to know, at least, that I'm not risking salmonella.

Someone wrote in this thread, that "i've been eating it this way for years and never got sick". That doesn;t mean much. I've been eating raw eggs in plenty of stuff for years and never got sick either. Not all chickens have salmonella, not all salmonella you eat will make you sick. And not every time you get sick will you realize what it was that made you sick.

Anyway, I have a question concerning the"retained water".

I keep reading about brining, brining, brining, all over the place. I can't brine because i don;t have a big enough fridge and can't produce enough ice to do it outside. I did try injecting my poultry (esp turkey, that tends to be dry) with salted water, and it does seem to produce juicier meat. Though so does stuffing cold butter under the skin.
However, my question is why is brining ok, but retained water not? Isn;t it the same thing? (This is, of course, apart from the kind of water retention that comes from feeding chickens hormones etc, which can;t be good). It sounds like brining is just a snobby version of retained water. Or not?
thanks
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post #25 of 33
Well, be careful. Make sure your thermometer is accurate, and test. Don't get into bad logic: just because fully-cooked chicken may well have pink at the knuckles doesn't mean that pink chicken is fully cooked. And remember that everything we've talked about here has been documenting issues in the American poultry-processing industry, which may or may not be quite the same thing as in Italy. It's not in Japan: if your Japanese chicken is pink, chances are it's undercooked by a fair margin.
I don't think anyone has shown evidence that retained water has anything to do with cooking problems. I wondered if it might be true, early in this thread, but no evidence has been produced to support the supposition. The principal factor appears to be chickens harvested too young, with porous bones, and then frozen in a way that produces ice crystals inside the heme.

The only certain problem with retained water is that you're paying for it. If your chicken costs $10, but it's 10% retained water, you're paying $1 for water. The poultry industry likes this, for obvious reasons.

Brine is different, because it contains salt, and that significantly changes how the chicken cooks. I know BDL has explained the effect before on this forum, and he's the guy to look for -- he knows what he's talking about and isn't just passing on hearsay.
post #26 of 33

Bloody joints.

It is not always practicle to do so but you might try soaking the chicken in saltwater overnight. I have done this and it does pull blood/color.
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post #27 of 33
With all the trickery and additives in todays wholesale end, God knows and can only guess what causes it. My fish wholesaler and I were talking the other day, and believe me this guy knows every trick in the book re. fish. Now he tells me farm raised salmon are fed a feed with artificial color so that they will be close to color of wild salmon. Also Fresh Tuna is subjected to carbon monoxide to keep it bright red, yes thats right carbon monoxide. It will kill you if inhaled like in a car garage but wont kill you if injested and by the time you get it on the fish it has disapatted. Oh yea, the USDA has full knowledge of this.
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post #28 of 33
Ed -

you could go to usda.gov and do a search - you'll find all the explanations, reasons, and science.

as to color fed farmed salmon, the fish monger is years and years behind in his information. it is not new.

as to carbon monoxide used to retain color, you might not want to know about that and beef.

yes, the FDA knows all about it - and it is permitted because it is proven to be not a health risk. your beliefs and mileage may vary.
post #29 of 33
I read this thread and was amazed to read about a 20 POUND chicken! UK chickens, particularly the organic ones supplied by my butcher are about 5 or 6 lbs top weight...

20 pounds? Goodness, I wouldn't even buy a TURKEY of that weight!
post #30 of 33
>>20 lb bird

that's Ed shifting around to a Butterball turkey.

if you check the reference in msg #10, you'll see that absolutely none of this is secret - it's defined, and for retail trade must be accurately labeled. marinades, "solutions", "retained water", etc.

other citations and research on the site explain the "pink bone" issue, also the "bloody meat" issue.

our market has cute little signs stuck in the fish:
"Farm Raised
Color Added"
hard to miss if one is paying attention.
why do I get the idea they are not doing that out of the goodness of their hearts...?
think there might be a law?
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