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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Top 5 Mistakes You're Making With Chicken- Avoid Them Now

Almost everyone practically loves chicken, whether it’s fried, boiled, roasted, baked or jerked. However, what most chicken lovers hate is dried out, rubbery, tough or overcooked chicken. 
Here are a few pointers on how to prepare your chicken perfectly:

Allowing the Legs and Wings Fly
Trussing a chicken (binding close the wings and legs) prior to roasting is not just for cooks who are very fussy and put presentation above all (although I’ll admit, that binding or tying the wings and legs of the chicken tightly against the body does actually make the finished product look picture-perfect). The purpose of trussing poultry is to help the bird to maintain moisture and to achieve a more evenly cook. Consequently, if trussing is not done then hot air will circulate inside the breast cavity of the chicken, thus drying out all the moisture out of that portion before the legs are properly done. Trussing is not difficult and does not take much time, just follow the demonstration in the video below.       

Putting the Bird in with No Blanket
James Peterson (Cooking Instructor) in his new book “ A Cook's Guide to Knowing When Food Is Perfectly Cooked stated that another simple way to avoid "roasting your chicken to death" is by simply covering the chicken breast with aluminium foil paper during the first twenty minutes (20) of roasting. The purpose of this is to slow down of delay the cooking of the breast area. Consequently, both the thighs and the breast will be done simultaneous. Additionally, don’t wrap the foil too tightly just tent it so air can pass underneath it. 

Sautéing Just 2 Pieces of Chicken
Preparing chicken in butter on the stove produces a delightful meat, one that’s richly flavored and has a golden brown colour. Even though, many chefs often tell cooks “never crowd the pot,” when sautéing chicken there is an exception as the pot can be packed. James recommends that your saute’ pan be totally full of chicken, this prevents the butter from burning over any uncovered area. Please note however, that the chicken parts should be given small spaces as the parts need not to be touching each other. Additionally, don’t saute just one or two pieces of chicken in a huge skillet because after your meat is prepared it will have a burnt taste.      

Guessing When The Meat  Done
Everyone knows that an instant-read thermometer is the ideal tool needed to determine if a whole chicken has gotten enough preparation time ( James stated, “ it should be 140 degrees where the chicken’s thighbone joins the other parts of the body). However, an alternative method which can be used if there is no thermometer present is; testing by hand. This can be done by pressing on the muscle of the chicken with the thumb; that’s what undercooked or raw poultry feels like. Give it some more time then fold your fist and press on the muscle once more; finally, that’s what cooked chicken feels like. 

 Starting a Fire When You Grill
One common feature of grilling chicken is flares-up. Flare-ups are typically occur because the fat from the chicken tends to drip onto the coals while grilling is being done. These occurrences aren’t usually dangerous but, they can cause your meat to have a bitter taste and a light coating of soot. James recommends that you ignore what you usually see in most cookbooks or cooking manuals and prepare the chicken flesh-side down first, when the grill fire is at its peak. Therefore, by the time the chicken is ready to be flipped over to the skin side, the venom of the fire would have weaken (died down somewhat). At this point the possibility of flare-ups occurring while grilling the skin (i.e., fatty) side would have been reduced significantly.  

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