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.
➤ 170°F and Higher for Dark Meat
However, it is advised to cook leg and thigh meat to an internal temperature of about 170-175°F (77-79°C). The chicken’s legs are muscles that are actively used, so the meat is tougher as a result.
The leg pictured to the right was cooked to the recommended range of 170-175°F (77-79°C) (as verified with a Thermapen® ONE). Leg meat needs to be cooked to higher temperatures than the leaner and more delicate breast meat because it contains more connective tissue that needs time at high temps to dissolve properly. This higher temperature will ensure that the dark meat becomes tender and juicy. Even at this higher temperature, the meat still appeared quite pink.
Why Cooked Chicken Can Still Be Pink
The chickens we buy from grocery stores are typically between 6 and 8 weeks old. As a result of their immaturity, the young chickens’ bones are porous rather than fully calcified. The bone marrow in chicken bones is purple and can frequently pass through soft, porous chicken bones (as shown in the illustration to the right).
When a chicken is frozen, the liquid inside of its mass expands, including the bone marrow. As it expands, the dark marrow can break through the surface of the bone. Regardless of the cooked chicken’s final internal temperature, the adjacent bones and meat become stained and stay a deep red or purple color.
Common Myth: “Chicken is Done When the Juices Run Clear”
Cutting into the chicken and checking to see if all of the juices are running clear is one common but unreliable way to determine when it’s done We occasionally check for any pink color in the meat when checking the doneness of chicken cooked on the grill or in the oven. The color of the meat or juices may never be completely free of pink, red, or even purple tones depending on where you prod your chicken.
So why does chicken so often appear undercooked?
Can I eat chicken at 160?
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°.
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 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.
Does chicken have to be 165?
The FDA Food Code recommends cooking chicken at a temperature of 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).