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Chicken Confusion

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I get crazy thinking what's the best way to tenderize chicken: Do you brine? Marinate in buttermilk? Do nothing?

Is one better than the other?



thanks!

h.
post #2 of 11
Why do you need to tenderize chicken? What kind of chicken are you using? Unless you're using an old hen, which nothing will help but long slow simmering, does your chicken really need to be tenderized? As long as you don't overcook it, what problem do you have?

If I brine or marinate, it's for flavor and/or moisture. And I often use farmers' market chickens, not cottony supermarket birds.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 11
There's nothing like 30 minutes in buttermilk to make chicken tender and juicy. Based on Suzanne's comments above, however, I'm wondering if maybe all the buttermilk does is add moisture? or tang? or it's really just one of those things my grandmother swore was true but actually does nothing? It's a good question. I can say that one method that I've tried successfully with roasting chickens is salting 24 hours ahead. The end result is a wonderfully tender bird full of juice and flavor. Simply salt the bird liberally inside and out, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. When you're ready to roast, throw an onion, carrot and some citrus (lemon or orange work equally well) in the cavity, truss, and roast. Good luck!
post #4 of 11
if yer talking boneless skinless breast. they dry out real fast and cook unevenly. Hammering them flatter, doesn't make em more tender, it just helps to cook them evenly and not make them into the worst thing on the planet aside from stale peanut brittle. Over cooked chicken.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #5 of 11
Used a lot in Chinese cooking, 'Velveting' is how its done, basically a mix of egg white and cornstarch with a little rice wine or something acidic in there. If you Google it you should find lots of methods to suit your preparation.
post #6 of 11
Natural greek yoghurt has been shown to penetrate chicken to soften the meat - need to do it overnight if you can, or at least 3 hours. Look up some recipes for Tandoori chicken- you don't need a Tandoor oven to cook it, just follow the spicing and marinating procedures.

It really does work well, I imagine the same as buttermilk - yoghurt and buttermilk are fairly similar in the results you get, but I prefer the taste of yoghurt.

But if you have a decent quality bird and cook it right, then let it rest a little after cooking, same as with a steak, it should be fine.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #7 of 11
Since buttermilk is acid and salt saline, both will help tenderize and break down protein. The salt also helps clean the chicken a bit more by drawing out whatever blood is left this is why chickens are salted when made kosher(clean).
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #8 of 11
If your chicken actually needs tenderizing, another approach is to use certain fruits that have enzymes which tenderize meat. Asian pears (the ones that look like apples) and kiwis are the most used, as far as I know. Just peel, core/seed, and grind into a paste or chop medium-fine. Stir with the meat and marinate overnight in the fridge. You can add whatever marinade seasonings you like, of course.

I don't know why chicken needs this, so much, but if you try it with a really tough piece of beef, then cut it into steaks and cook it, you'll see what tenderizing is all about.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I might have asked the wrong question about tenderizing. I never knew I had tough chicken until the brining craze started, especially when I read BBQ boards who love chicken and turkey brining.

I somehow feel I'm not doing a proper chicken if I don't treat it first.

However, I loved reading all of your comments and all the interesting techniques you all mentioned. I will certainly experiment.

I prefer boneless skinless thighs anyway, but the family always wants chicken breasts.

Thanks all.
post #10 of 11
Breasts can be finicky - get them right and they are lovely, but can go wrong easily. Then they get all tough and dry and fibrous and 'orrible.

Thighs are much more forgiving. I prefer them too, but on the bone if you please :) (even if you skin them, or cook with skin on for flavour then remove skin before serving, if you must)much sweeter, more flavour.

Hmmm...finicky breasts and forgiving thighs....but that's not for discussion here ;)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #11 of 11
Im a leg man myself :D
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