or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Does flattening chicken breast make it less juicy?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Does flattening chicken breast make it less juicy?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

A chef recently told me that flattening/pounding chicken breast makes it less juicy?  Has anyone experienced this?  Thanks!  

post #2 of 14

"Less juicy" is a bit of a loaded question. On one hand without a doubt overcooked poultry will be "less juicy" no matter the preparation, short of maybe sous-vide. Tender is a perception we have when we bite and chew, and if it is juicy you may very well think it is tender. Pounding meat demonstrably breaks down the muscle fibers so it will be more tender. Brining it would add a lot of "juicy" into it.

post #3 of 14
That's a pretty good explanation from eastshores. Is not the pounding that will make it less juicy, it's the cooking. By increasing the surface area that gets seared, you speed up how fast the juices get cooked out. Also by decreasing the thickness of the breast, you decrease the cooking time, making it easier to overcook.

This is a little oversimplified, but I believe a direct, literal answer to your question. I'll leave the finer points to the others. A lightly pounded properly cooked breast can be very juicy. There are a lot of variables here.
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
Reply
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks, chefs.  Answers make sense.  Appreciate it.  

post #5 of 14

When you pound down breast you usually cover the breast with a piece of plastic then pound it. WHY? 1 the juice will get over anything near it when hit, and 2 by hitting it directly with a mallet you may cut into it.

   So YES you lose some moisture,. Secondly the breast when thin cook quickly  and contain unlike dark meat very little fat therefore  people tend to overcook them and this makes them extremely dry and tough.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks, chef.  When I pound it, I hit it and roll, so that I don't break the outer membrane, but the interior ones are obvious broken. the plastic over it helps protect the chicken and help with the "rolling" motion.  As you say, however, I guess some moisture is lost, too.  I appreciate your help.  

post #7 of 14

I will almost always buy boneless/skinless chicken breasts (when on sale)... convenient, quick cooking, goes from rock solid frozen to ready for pan after maybe 20-25 minutes in room temp water.  But have made the observation that there's a VERY narrow window on doneness... one minute it's almost perfectly done, but 2 more minutes and ya have a "hockey puck"?!?

post #8 of 14

I'm sorry, I don't buy that any significant moisture is lost by tenderizing meat such as chicken breast by "pounding" it. You are breaking down the fibers of the meat, you are not smashing the cellular structure of the meat. If you are not starting with a product that is laden with excess brine/solution then you are not going to see the loss of any serious moisture content by breaking up the muscle fibers. I'd be willing to reinforce that theory by measuring any moisture lost on a natural, never frozen chicken breast.

post #9 of 14

Maybe less juicy, but I still like a pounded chicken breast stuffed rolled, breaded and fried.   HMMMMM.

post #10 of 14

Most chicken today is not fresh. It is what they call frosted, that is not quite frozen about but held at 33 Degrees F. When  you hit with a mallet you do lose moisture, you lose  it because it was almost frozen which tends to break down the cells and makes them lose moisture .

     Don't believe me weigh one not pounded then pounded . I have. Check out the difference.

In addition since you can't buy a fresh chicken here in Florida that I know of the extreme cold causes the cells to expand and throw moisture. I would venture to say 98% of all chicken is moisture added or brined and 100% of all Turkeys.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #11 of 14

Hi EdB

It is true, sad but true.  Just look at the way "fresh" chicken arrives from the packer.  Iced and half frozen.

 

I drive 45 miles one way to get organic chicken.  But I only have one fresh, the others are immediately frozen here at my home.  (slowly, probably even worse for damaging cells). At least I know it isn't processed in any way.  

 

I do brine them for flavor, and when the owners heard that, they were highly insulted and started to ignore my emails.  (They tell me when they will be ready). But even organic chicken is not good unless it is brined, IMO.  I cannot get enough flavor into them any other way.   I grow fresh herbs and they are bountiful.  I've stuffed every nook and crannie of the bird with them, garlic and onion and they are still tasteless without the brine, IMO.

 

I keep toying with the idea of raising Silky chickens myself.  I could never kill and dress a rabbit, but I think I could do the deed on a bird.  If not, there are always eggs.

Indy

post #12 of 14

Try This as years ago we did it . Leave the skin on the breast when boning the bird and put the herbs and spices under the skin marinate then saute . The breast will retain more flavor.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #13 of 14

Chef Ed,

 

How true ... Prior to pounding, wrap the chicken breast in Plastic Wrap, and then pound and never over cook anything is my law ...

 

By leaving the layer of skin, one provides the moisture and can season underneath the skin for additional flavor and moisture.

 

 

Italian cutlets, chicken or veal are very rarely dry ...

 

Kind regards.

Margi.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatchairlady View Post

 But have made the observation that there's a VERY narrow window on doneness... one minute it's almost perfectly done, but 2 more minutes and ya have a "hockey puck"?!?

 

   Hi Chairlady!

 

    Remove the meat from the heat a tad before it's done and let the meat finish coming up to temperature during the resting time.  Come up into the (doneness) window gently....use any heat source you want...but provide a nice bell curve into desired temperature.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Does flattening chicken breast make it less juicy?