Episode 126 How to Cook Chicken
Episode 126 How to Cook Chicken
There are entire books on how to cook chicken. Stacie Billis was on the podcast episode 78 with her book Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner! Today’s podcast will give you an overview and some simple techniques that will improve your chicken tonight.
We want to start with buying chicken. Why is one kind $1.00 per pound and another $9.00 per pound? What is the best kind of chicken to buy?
The chicken labels are confusing. Here is a quick overview of what some of the terms mean.
Broth Solution Added- This means the chicken has added salt. Chicken with broth solution added often exudes more liquid when cooked. You want to use less salt when seasoning this kind of chicken.
Organic- Organic chicken has been fed organic feed with no animal by products and no GMO grains. They also have to have access to the outside. The “access” may be a peep hole they can poke their head out.
Free Range- the chickens have “access” to the outside. How much access is not determined.
Air Chilled- This means after butchering the chicken is quickly chilled with cold air rather than the typical ice water bath. You may notice a difference in flavor because there is no added water.
Bottom line- read your labels and make you decisions according to your budget and values. At this time, I do not buy organic chicken, but I do look for chicken that does not have added salt or broth solution.
If you find a good price on chicken, consider buying extra and freezing it. I talk all about freezing chicken in Episode 74 Frozen Chicken 101.
For great chicken you need 2 things:
Many people are afraid of food safety and as a result are seriously overcooking their chicken. An instant read thermometer will take all the guesswork out of cooking chicken to the right temperature. Chicken is safe to eat at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to cook boneless skinless chicken breasts.
I talk about grilling chicken breasts in Episode 25. Here is my method for Grilling Chicken Breasts.
You want to have chicken that is even thickness which means you have to butterfly it or pound it to get even thickness. You want to salt or marinade the chicken. You want to start with a very hot grill and reduce the heat once the chicken is on the grill and you want to let the chicken rest for 10 minutes after removing it from the grill.
To avoid overcooking, I like to take the chicken off the grill when it is at 160 degrees Fahrenheit and let it come up to 165 as it rests.
How to Pan Fry Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
It is important to have the chicken breasts even thickness and to salt it well. The rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to each pound of chicken. You want to make sure there is space around each piece of chicken in the pan and that you have enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
How to Cook One Inch Pieces of Chicken
It is common for things like Stir Fry or Ginger Pear Chicken to use one-inch chunks. You want to make sure the pieces are even in size. You want lots of room around the pieces in the pan so they do not steam but can get browned. If they exude extra liquid, drain it off so the chicken can brown properly.
Add the chicken to hot skillet with a little oil, spread it into an even layer and LEAVE IT ALONE! Please believe me. It is like ground beef, you need to leave it alone to get a nice brown piece of chicken which is important for texture and flavor.
Do not add other ingredients to the chicken until the first side is browned.
Watch for overcooking. If the chicken pieces are going to cook in a sauce or with other ingredients, you want it to still be undercooked when you add the extra ingredients.
Use your instant read thermometer to check for doneness. It is fully cooked at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Cook Chicken on the Bone
I talk about how to make roast chicken in Episode 50.
The key to great chicken on the bone is SALT + TIME.
You want to salt the chicken under the skin directly on the meat and give it at least 3 hours but up to 48 hours for the salt to penetrate deep into the meat.
If you care about crispy skin, leave the chicken uncovered in the refrigerator after you have salted it. The air of the refrigerator will dry out the surface of the skin and you will get crispier chicken skin.
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Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.
For a transcript click here.