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Cooked Chicken Smelled and Tasted Strange. Any ideas?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hey guys. 

 

Well, I am a bit of a germaphobe, I have to admit. When I am cooking I wash my hands constantly. I am particularly fearful when working with chicken. 

 

Anyway, I am really worried about the dinner I cooked earlier. Mostly, because I am just over 3 days in bed with a bad touch of stomach flu/gastroenteritis ! 

 

I bought the chicken today, from the local butcher. It's a very good butcher, I've used it for years and the quality is always excellent, and they've a huge range to offer. 

 

I bought two breaded chicken breasts. Lemon & Pepper Chicken to be precise. I am not sure if they are already cooked or not? The crumb coating seems lightly browned when bought, so maybe they are. 

 

Anyway, I put it into the oven for 30mins, 200c. When they came out, I cut through the thickest part. It was white all the way through. I even touched the middle with my tongue (because I'm paranoid like that), and it was hot in the middle. 

 

The first thing I noticed was that it was very tough to cut. It almost had the consistency of pork. Very peculiar. Also, seemed to have a little water come off it as the under side was wet, despite being on the rack inside the oven. Then I tasted a bit and strangely it actually tasted like pork and had that texture. It was also a little sour tasting. Not sure sour is the right word. Very hard to describe. Almost like a bloody taste? 

 

My mother called in to visit just about then and I asked her about it. She smelled it for a while and said she didn't want to taste it because to her it smelt a little sour. 

 

I know what off chicken smells like, and it wasn't really like that. It was all very subtle, but something wasn't right. We zip lock bagged it and I'm taking it back to the butcher tomorrow. 

 

Right now, I am just worried I am going to be sick from the tiny bit I ate. My fiance had already ate 2 mouthfuls of hers before agreeing something tasted very weird about it and it was tough. 

 

Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? 

post #2 of 20
Not an expert, because i would never buy pre breaded chicken, but last time I checked, lemons are sour.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

Not an expert, because i would never buy pre breaded chicken, but last time I checked, lemons are sour.

 

Condescending and patronising, all at the same time - impressive. I'm pretty sure this fine butcher applied the bread crumb to the chicken just as well as I would normally do it, so when it comes to butchers, I am fine with buying it pre-breaded. 

 

I think you are on to something with the lemons, I noticed they are sour too. Well spotted there. 

 

However, I have good taste buds, much better than you seem to believe, and it was not anything to do with the lemon flavour. I've got these before and they had been excellent. 

post #4 of 20

First of all you should confer with your butcher.  Was it pre-cooked, or raw?  Were they boneless, or bone in?  Remember they are "Lemon Pepper" pre-seasoned so that might account for the tangy flavor.  You should invest in a good thermometer - might save you some sleep.

post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveyraff View Post
 

Hey guys. 

 

Well, I am a bit of a germaphobe, I have to admit. When I am cooking I wash my hands constantly. I am particularly fearful when working with chicken. 

 

Anyway, I am really worried about the dinner I cooked earlier. Mostly, because I am just over 3 days in bed with a bad touch of stomach flu/gastroenteritis ! 

 

I bought the chicken today, from the local butcher. It's a very good butcher, I've used it for years and the quality is always excellent, and they've a huge range to offer. 

 

I bought two breaded chicken breasts. Lemon & Pepper Chicken to be precise. I am not sure if they are already cooked or not? The crumb coating seems lightly browned when bought, so maybe they are. 

 

Anyway, I put it into the oven for 30mins, 200c. When they came out, I cut through the thickest part. It was white all the way through. I even touched the middle with my tongue (because I'm paranoid like that), and it was hot in the middle. 

 

The first thing I noticed was that it was very tough to cut. It almost had the consistency of pork. Very peculiar. Also, seemed to have a little water come off it as the under side was wet, despite being on the rack inside the oven. Then I tasted a bit and strangely it actually tasted like pork and had that texture. It was also a little sour tasting. Not sure sour is the right word. Very hard to describe. Almost like a bloody taste? 

 

My mother called in to visit just about then and I asked her about it. She smelled it for a while and said she didn't want to taste it because to her it smelt a little sour. 

 

I know what off chicken smells like, and it wasn't really like that. It was all very subtle, but something wasn't right. We zip lock bagged it and I'm taking it back to the butcher tomorrow. 

 

Right now, I am just worried I am going to be sick from the tiny bit I ate. My fiance had already ate 2 mouthfuls of hers before agreeing something tasted very weird about it and it was tough. 

 

Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? 

Hmmm.  There should have been instructions, or something on the package re  whether it was precooked or not.  Maybe this will help for next time:

 

http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html

post #6 of 20
There's 2 things here. One, if you're a germophobe then you shouldn't be buying pre processed. Especially raw meat. You don't know who put that dish together and if it was under sanitary conditions. There are more chances of contamination when a food is being stuffed, breaded, and tied. I don't have a huge problem with it but as a germophobe I thought you should know that. Better off doing it yourself.

Secondly, if it was too dry all that means is that you cooked it too long. It's not hard to do with a chicken breast, even when you cook it right it tends to dry out quickly. If you didn't like the taste then take it back. I believe the "bloody" taste you mention might be metallic? I don't know why it would taste like that but I would trust my taste buds. Take it back and tell the butcher it didn't taste quite right, he may even give you something else instead. There could have been a number of things that weren't right here, they might've used stale breading, or the lemons weren't fresh enough or, who knows.

About being a germophobe, I can totally understand because I'm persnickety too but paranoia begets paranoia. Just know that if you're washing your hands and keeping your boards clean then you should be fine if your immune system is strong. Licking the middle of a chicken breast is not being careful, it's just silly. If the meat is white then logic says that it's cooked. I don't know what you're hoping to accomplish by licking it. If you really want proof of safety then invest in a meat thermometer and then you won't have to succumb to paranoid thoughts.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Guys, it wasn't the flavour of any seasoning. It was the chicken that tasted sour. I've had these before. The butcher is like a deli. Its more expensive that the usual, but its because its usually very good. I get all my meats there. The chicken does not come with packaging. They just wrap up as much as you need in brown paper. Boneless chicken fillets that they crumb there and then in front of you - I couldn't get a proper look, but its probably raw in this case. It was definitely the chicken. Something was very off about it. Right down to the texture. 

 

I don't believe whether it was pre cooked or not should matter much here, in regards to this off taste and smell. 

 

I haven't become sick, so maybe it was ok - but there was definitely something very odd about it. I was just wondering if anyone had a similar experience. 


Edited by steveyraff - 6/3/15 at 3:26pm
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

There's 2 things here. One, if you're a germophobe then you shouldn't be buying pre processed. Especially raw meat. You don't know who put that dish together and if it was under sanitary conditions. There are more chances of contamination when a food is being stuffed, breaded, and tied. I don't have a huge problem with it but as a germophobe I thought you should know that. Better off doing it yourself.

Secondly, if it was too dry all that means is that you cooked it too long. It's not hard to do with a chicken breast, even when you cook it right it tends to dry out quickly. If you didn't like the taste then take it back. I believe the "bloody" taste you mention might be metallic? I don't know why it would taste like that but I would trust my taste buds. Take it back and tell the butcher it didn't taste quite right, he may even give you something else instead. There could have been a number of things that weren't right here, they might've used stale breading, or the lemons weren't fresh enough or, who knows.

About being a germophobe, I can totally understand because I'm persnickety too but paranoia begets paranoia. Just know that if you're washing your hands and keeping your boards clean then you should be fine if your immune system is strong. Licking the middle of a chicken breast is not being careful, it's just silly. If the meat is white then logic says that it's cooked. I don't know what you're hoping to accomplish by licking it. If you really want proof of safety then invest in a meat thermometer and then you won't have to succumb to paranoid thoughts.

It was not pre processed or processed in any way. I don't buy any processed foods. They crumb this in front of you to order. Its just fresh chicken breasts. It wasn't dry either, quite the opposite, it was strangely watery. Anyway, you are right about taking it back and I am doing so. Licking it isn't silly either. The meat was white, and not opaque so I knew it was cooked, I just touched it with my tongue before I put it in my mouth to make sure it was hot. If it feels hot to the tongue... its hot. Logically. 

post #9 of 20
All food is processed to some degree. Unless you butchered that chicken yourself then it went through a process of butchering then breading. Even if it was done right in front of you. Besides, you have no idea what that butcher was handling and processing before you walked in. He may have grinding lamb burgers or hacking through pig carcass. He may have used a soap that reacted with the acid in the lemon. Who know what the process was.

And yes, licking a piece of meat to see if it's hot (which is not an indicator that it's done by the way) is pretty darned silly considering there are verified ways of checking doneness like the touch test or using a thermometer. And seeing that it's white is proof enough that it's cooked through because that's what happens when you cook chicken breast well done, it turns white. Furthermore, licking meat to see if it's hot will often result in burning your tongue rendering your palette numb or strangely affected which may result in a bitter taste.

You're oddly defensive for a novice. I assumed you joined the site to gain knowledge from seasoned cooks and experienced home cooks but you reject our expertise. Also, smelt is a type of fish, your subject line should say " smelled".

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

All food is processed to some degree. Unless you butchered that chicken yourself then it went through a process of butchering then breading. Even if it was done right in front of you. Besides, you have no idea what that butcher was handling and processing before you walked in. He may have grinding lamb burgers or hacking through pig carcass. He may have used a soap that reacted with the acid in the lemon. Who know what the process was.

And yes, licking a piece of meat to see if it's hot (which is not an indicator that it's done by the way) is pretty darned silly considering there are verified ways of checking doneness like the touch test or using a thermometer. And seeing that it's white is proof enough that it's cooked through because that's what happens when you cook chicken breast well done, it turns white. Furthermore, licking meat to see if it's hot will often result in burning your tongue rendering your palette numb or strangely affected which may result in a bitter taste.

You're oddly defensive for a novice. I assumed you joined the site to gain knowledge from seasoned cooks and experienced home cooks but you reject our expertise. Also, smelt is a type of fish, your subject line should say " smelled".

 

If it was pre cooked it would be white anyway. Don't call me silly, you don't know me. It's far from scientific, but its fine. It felt hot, it was hot. It didn't burn me, I ran my own risk, I'm a big boy. Thanks for the concern. 

 

I wouldn't consider myself a novice. Calling me a novice instantly gives away your pre dispositions and judgements. I've been cooking daily as an enthusiast for 15 years. However, I've also been a member of many online forums, for a wide range of hobbies, and one thing I notice as a re-occurring theme on any forum, is a little fraternity of elitist members who will always respond in a passive aggressive, presumptuous, judgemental and condescending way. Look, I was wondering if anyone experienced a similar thing with texture and taste of chicken. All I've got is people expressing how they'd do it themselves, they'd never buy pre processed, checking with your tongue isn't right... jesus. Spare me the lecture - I know a lot about this, I was born and raised on a farm where we regularly cull, butcher and eat our own livestock. The butcher in question which I use is very expensive and above average, sourcing locally. Which further adds to my irritation that this happened. I have a great deal of experience, but this was something that I've never experienced before regardless of all of that. It was very bizarre and I just wanted to know if anyone had a similar occurrence. 

post #11 of 20

I'll take the scenic route ;-)

 

Years ago, I had the best corner neighborhood market.  All the meat was fresh, behind glass, with a butcher behind the counter.  Everything was wrapped in butcher paper (just as you described) and no frozen packaged product.  One day, I decided to try his big fat cornbread-stuffed pork chop.  I took it home, cooked it correctly, it didn't smell, nor was it off, etc. After all was said and done, it didn't taste good (right?).  IMO, the cornbread stuffing killed it for me.  It permeated the whole chop.  And, I like cornbread. When I get it home and make it my way, and don't like it or it doesn't taste quite right, my bad.  I learn from my bad choice or mistake.  When someone else has a "hand" in the process, and I don't like it, I don't buy it again.

 

Everyone has given you good advice.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerise View Post
 

I'll take the scenic route ;-)

 

Years ago, I had the best corner neighborhood market.  All the meat was fresh, behind glass, with a butcher behind the counter.  Everything was wrapped in butcher paper (just as you described) and no frozen packaged product.  One day, I decided to try his big fat cornbread-stuffed pork chop.  I took it home, cooked it correctly, it didn't smell, nor was it off, etc. After all was said and done, it didn't taste good (right?).  IMO, the cornbread stuffing killed it for me.  It permeated the whole chop.  And, I like cornbread. When I get it home and make it my way, and don't like it or it doesn't taste quite right, my bad.  I learn from my bad choice or mistake.  When someone else has a "hand" in the process, and I don't like it, I don't buy it again.

 

Everyone has given you good advice.

 

Very fair point Cerise. Indeed, it's never happened any time I did it myself. I was just sure that this was a problem with the actual chicken, and nothing to do with how it was prepared. But, admittedly, I may be wrong on this. Even the consistency may have changed when the lemon permeated the meat, it is possible. After all, its well known that lemon juice marinades and in effect, cooks meat with its acidity. This could also explain the texture issue. 

 

Thanks. 

post #13 of 20

Since nobody here knows what happened, all we can do is guess.

 

So here's my guess.  New trainee butcher is told "break down this case of chicken, then marinade the breast for lemon chicken, but don't bread them, we bread them to order.  Later newb, I have a hot date to get to."  Then the senior staff leaves for the day.  New guy has no recipe and decides to put the chicken breast in lemon juice overnight.  1) it's denatured protein gives it weird texture 2) it's sour

 

You don't see the denatured chicken flesh because it's covered in breadcrumbs.  Theories are just theories.  We'll never know.

post #14 of 20

My pleasure.  I think we collectively tried to troubleshoot the problem.  It's difficult, sometimes, not actually being there, or knowing all the facts. The water you described - I might let it rest after you pull it out of the oven and cut into it  That gives the juices a chance to redistribute and not run out.

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

Since nobody here knows what happened, all we can do is guess.

 

So here's my guess.  New trainee butcher is told "break down this case of chicken, then marinade the breast for lemon chicken, but don't bread them, we bread them to order.  Later newb, I have a hot date to get to."  Then the senior staff leaves for the day.  New guy has no recipe and decides to put the chicken breast in lemon juice overnight.  1) it's denatured protein gives it weird texture 2) it's sour

 

You don't see the denatured chicken flesh because it's covered in breadcrumbs.  Theories are just theories.  We'll never know.

 

 

True. Possible. 

 

Sorry for being snappy guys, I was just very annoyed about this. I think some of my anger came from the fact that I always do things myself when it comes to cooking, and I very rarely buy pre prepared foods, and one of the few times I've done it, now something strange has happened and then I had to go and admit defeat to that on here, and I am basically being told 'Told ya so!'. Well, thats my lesson learnt. Turns out cutting the smallest corner gives plenty of room for error. Very disappointed in both myself and the butchers.

post #16 of 20
Don't admit defeat, but take it back to the shop and declare a victory. If the shop is any good they will make things right by replacing the product or refunding money. They should know that something wasn't right so they can make sure their processes are all in order and it doesn't happen again. I once felt shy about returning cooked meat but sometimes you can't tell it's bad until then. They've seen more outrageous customer behavior I'll bet.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

Since nobody here knows what happened, all we can do is guess.

 

So here's my guess.  New trainee butcher is told "break down this case of chicken, then marinade the breast for lemon chicken, but don't bread them, we bread them to order.  Later newb, I have a hot date to get to."  Then the senior staff leaves for the day.  New guy has no recipe and decides to put the chicken breast in lemon juice overnight.  1) it's denatured protein gives it weird texture 2) it's sour

 

You don't see the denatured chicken flesh because it's covered in breadcrumbs.  Theories are just theories.  We'll never know.

I thought I smelled aftershave.  :lol:

post #18 of 20

@steveyraff

I wouldn't be disappointed in the butcher or yourself. The good thing is that you are going to give the butcher the feedback. I never get lazy about returning something or asking questions . I figure it might help the next person down the line. There could have been a mistake made at the butchers. It may be just taste  and not bacteria related. It sounds to me like they may have marinated or brined the chick. There is some processing involved before the butcher. They might have changed sources. I know you said it's local but a large amount of chick processors are injecting or brining for flavor, moisture and weight. It can go as high as 15%. I don't buy chick in the grocery store just for that reason. It sometimes taste metallic and there will be moisture on the bottom.

Anyway, I am curious to find out what you find out. It's morning, hope all is well with the tummy. Pls. let us know.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #19 of 20
I'm not passive aggressive or elitist. Your responses are dismissive from the get go, and licking your food to see if it's hot is indicative of being a novice, cooking for 15 yrs and not using a thermometer is indicative of being a novice. Heck, buying a piece of meat and sticking it in the oven without knowing for sure whether or not it's already cooked is indicative of being a novice, especially if it was breaded right in front of you. That's not based on a prejudgment of you, it's based on the info you presented. I was trying to be helpful.

Protein gets watery if you preseason it. That's not elitist knowledge. Welcome to the site by the way.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #20 of 20

Boneless breast? Or bone in? At nearly 200 c (= almost 400 f) for 30 minutes? If they were already pre-cooked under that breading that would have petrified them, especially if they were boneless and not the humongous steroidal beasts you get at US supermarket these days. 

 

I'm puzzled that whether they were pre-cooked or not was not clear before they were put in the oven.

 

I probably would chalk up a sour taste in "lemon" chicken to whatever was in the marinade. It may not have been freshly squeezed lemon juice, which would still have a pretty bright, clean sourness.  Sour wouldn't worry me so much. When chicken goes off the smell is nasty, not sour. And the usual culprits for food borne illness from chicken don't smell sour, though licking a piece of chicken you are not sure is well-cooked would be a good way to court food borne illness.

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