When cooking chicken, knowing the right doneness temperatures will ensure juicy results. If you’re like many people, the sight of anything but perfectly opaque meat with clear juices can make you cringe when chicken is on the menu. But what if the meat or juices are pink, and it looks bloody?
Continue reading to learn what actually gives chicken its pink color and how to ensure that the temperature at which your family consumes chicken is safe.
Chicken Doneness is a Temperature, Not a Color
In contrast to the more pronounced hues of cooked beef, pork, or lamb, chicken meat cooks to a creamy-white color. When compared to the sporadic pink tones that can occasionally appear in any meat naturally, this white color stands out much more.
Dr. O. Peter Snyder, Jr., Ph.D. of the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management says, “If consumers were taught to eat safely prepared, bloody chicken, as they want to do with beef, they would be able to enjoy juicier chicken.” The trick is to learn how to prepare safe-to-eat chicken and get over our fear of a little blood in our birds.
Therefore, how can you tell for sure if your chicken is safe to eat?
Because beef can be safely cooked to different levels of doneness, this may be one reason why society tolerates red and pink hues in steaks. On the other hand, chicken is either safe to eat or it isn’t. There is no such thing as medium-rare chicken. However, a lot of cooks overcook their chicken because they are concerned about undercooking it. Similar to overcooked beef, overcooked chicken is dry, tough, and lacks flavor compared to properly cooked meat.
The higher the doneness temperature, regardless of the type of meat being cooked, the more juices will be lost and the results will be less tender. The only way to consistently produce safe and juicy results when cooking chicken is to accurately gauge the internal temperature of the bird.
You generally want to cook white meat to an internal temperature of 160°F for the best-tasting white meat, which includes breasts and wings. After removing the chicken from the heat, this temperature will continue to rise, ideally to a temperature of about 165°. Morocco claims that a whole cooked chicken’s temperature can rise by 10° while it is resting, so it is best to remove it from the heat source when it reaches 155°. When smaller cuts, like a chicken breast, reach 160°, remove them from the heat source because the temperature will only rise by about 5°. Utilize the rest period to prepare a sauce or salad dressing by incorporating it into your cooking routine.
Poultry can be prepared in a variety of ways, from delicate sous vide to high-heat grilling. Popular techniques for quickly and simply putting dinner on the table include baking and poaching. Choose slow roasting to cook the meat for a longer period of time at a constant temperature. 165° is the maximum temperature for white meat (and the temperature you should aim for after resting), and it’s also the safe minimum internal temperature for dark meat. Choose your chicken recipe and abide by this main rule. With some practice and the right food thermometer, all roads can lead to perfectly cooked chicken. Put your newfound knowledge to work:
Never rely on a reading from a single area of the chicken when using an instant-read thermometer. Take the temperature in multiple spots to gauge doneness. Morocco claims that because bone is porous and has insulating air pockets, it does not transfer heat as effectively as flesh. Therefore, take a reading from the thickest part of the meat near the edge and close to the bone, where the meat may take longer to reach the desired temperature.
The temperature guidelines alter a little bit when working with dark meat (thighs, drumsticks, or whole legs). Leaner white meat cannot withstand temperatures as high as fattier dark meat. Although dark meat cooked to 165 degrees is safe to eat, you’ll get a bouncy bite. You’ll get more tender meat if you cook things like thigh meat until it reaches a temperature of between 175° and 190° because the connective tissues take longer to break down at that temperature. The degree of completion is somewhat dependent on individual preference. Morocco claims that the best chicken thighs are slow-roasted or braised in copious amounts of olive oil at a low cooking temperature until they are flavorful and have a fall-apart texture.
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Reason 2: Myoglobin
Another factor responsible for the purple and red hues in poultry is myoglobin. It is a protein with intense pigmentation that provides oxygen to cells and muscle fibers. Animals that are more active have muscles that are darker in color because their muscles contain more oxygen.
Since chickens cannot fly, their breast meat never receives a lot of oxygen. The delicate white flesh of chicken breasts is due to low myoglobin levels. Due to higher myoglobin levels, the heavily worked legs have darker meat.
When chicken is prepared for sale in a supermarket and packaged, myoglobin may collect in the meat fibers.
Is chicken done at 165 or 180?
Various safe cooking temperatures for poultry are listed in current federal recommendations, including 180°F for whole chickens and 170°F for breasts. The key temperature for safety, according to the USDA, is 165°F.
Is chicken safe at 145 degrees?
There are three crucial temperatures to keep in mind when preparing meat or eggs at home: fresh meat steaks, chops, and roasts should be cooked to 145°F, and all ground meats and eggs must be cooked to 160°F. Use a thermometer to check temperatures.
Is chicken done at 160 or 165?
Whatever is on your menu, the USDA recommends that the chicken’s internal temperature reach 165° to ensure food safety.
Does chicken actually have to reach 165?
The FDA Food Code recommends cooking chicken to 165°F (74°C). But chicken pasteurization actually depends on both temperature and time. If your chicken can be kept at 145°F (63°C) for 8 The same bacterial reduction can be attained in 5 minutes as at 165°F (74°C).