Having chicken as part of a meal is a healthy alternative to fast food, especially if you like to cook your chicken from the comfort of your own kitchen. And while making chicken for dinner is usually quick and easy, you are probably skipping some steps that could make it even better tasting.
Here is a list of mistakes that you are probably making when you cook chicken at home.
Using Frozen Chicken
For truly juicy chicken, you are best looking for meat packaged and labeled as “Fresh, Never Frozen.” Freezing chicken can actually dry out the meat. But, before trusting the labeling at the store, ask the butcher behind the meat counter to make sure that the chicken has actually never been frozen. Sometimes stores freeze a product temporarily, especially if they are overstocked.
Removing the Skin
Instead of removing the skin from your chicken, you should leave it on. The skin helps keep the meat underneath moister and also absorbs the seasoning you put on the chicken better. Plus, for some people, the crispy, seasoned skin of the chicken is one of the best parts of the meal.
Using Brine-Injected Chicken
You should avoid using store-bought chicken that has been pre-injected with brine or that has added water. This process can change the texture and flavor of the chicken, and mask any underlining deficiencies in the meat. Look for chicken that is non-GMO and pasture raised if you can find it.
Thawing Chicken on the Counter
If you normally thaw your chicken on the counter, you should know that this is dangerous. When food gets above 40 degrees, the bacteria count can increase greatly. To avoid letting your meat get too warm when thawing, stick it on a plate in the fridge or thaw it in a container of cold water.
Not Brining Before Cooking
Paragraph (2-3 sentences each/50 words.) You do want to brine your chicken yourself before cooking it. This as opposed to buying brine-injected chicken at the store. To brine a chicken, simply soak it in a solution of salt water before cooking. This should help the meat retain some of its moisture.
Over Washing Your Chicken
Giving you r chicken a quick rinse before cooking is fine. Just make sure to dry it off before cooking. Washing becomes a problem when you wash too much. The water could splash on to other surfaces, possibly contaminating them with salmonella. Plus, the cooking process should kill any bacteria.
Drying Your Chicken in the Refrigerator
For a really crispy outer layer to your chicken, make sure to dry it in the fridge before you cook it. To dry your chicken in the refrigerator simply air dry the meat out of the package at least four hours before you make it. You should also pat the chicken down with a paper towel to remove any remaining moisture once you remove it from the fridge.
Using Only Chicken Breast
While chicken breasts are the most popular cuts of chicken, they are also some of the most difficult to get just right in the cooking process. Other parts, such as the thighs and legs is much easier to cook and can even be juicer than a chicken breast.
Not Allowing the Meat to Rest
After you have finished cooking your chicken, allow it to rest for at least five minutes before cutting it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. It also allows the collagen in the chicken to thicken up and maintain the moisture in the chicken. This should make for a moister piece of chicken.
Not Using the Right Kind of Chicken
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The chicken you choose is as important as how you cook it. For the best possible chicken look for the meat to be pink all over. In addition, make sure the flesh is firm, but not stiff, and that there is no blood visible on the outside of the chicken.