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Chicken Cooking Tips

Tenderness Tips

  • Whenever possible, try to stay away from freezing; during thawing, a lot of extra moisture is lost, which gives you a less tender end result.
  • Always compactly wrap chicken that is being put in the fridge; if the wrapping is not tight enough, the chicken will dry out from the internal air.
  • Leaving the chicken’s skin on during the cooking process helps it to remain juicy, and gives you a more tender meat.
  • Always maintain optimum temperature when cooking, and make sure it is at the correct temperature when it is done; if it is undercooked, the meat will be both tough and dangerous to eat, and overcooking will result in a very dry and chewy texture.
  • After roasting a chicken, always let it rest for about 10 – 15 minutes before carving; during this time, the juices once again flow through the meat, adding moisture and flavor. To allow juices to flow to the normally dry breast area, prop the chicken in a standing position, bottom up.
  • Always try to cut meat against the grain; this will give you slices with shorter fibers, and therefore more tender meat.
  • Use dark meat rather than white meat when you are using the adding the chicken in recipes that require a lengthy cooking time; dark meat stays moist for a longer time than white meat.

Less-Fat Tips

  • The methods of cooking that cause fat to drip away from the chicken are roasting, broiling and grilling. No additional fat is used during poaching, steaming and microwaving.  All of these methods give you less fat content when the chicken is ready to eat.
  • To reduce the amount of oil and fat that you use, always try to use a non-stick pan or skillet when frying or browning chicken; this pan requires you to use less additional fat for effective cooking.
  •  Seasoning chicken in marinades that use low-fat ingredients, such as low-fat yogurt, wine, juices and herbs and spices. This will give you a better overall low-fat result.
  • Two-thirds of the fat content of a chicken is retained in its skin; remove this before indulging!
  • Fat forms on the top of chicken broth; skim this off with a ladle or spoon before serving.

Cooking Tips

  • Many chicken recipes require a measured amount of cooked chicken; to determine this accurately, the standard “1 pound of boneless chicken = 3 cups of cubed chicken” works effectively.
  • An untrussed chicken will cook faster, brown better, and be more evenly cooked than a trussed one during roasting.
  • An uncovered chicken in the oven will take a shorter time to cook than if covered.
  • When using the methods of frying, grilling, broiling or sautéing, you should always remove pieces from the heat source when they are done; this prevents certain pieces from getting overcooked while waiting for others to be finished. Small pieces and white meat (breast and wings) will be cooked faster than big, dark pieces (leg and thighs).
  • A fast test of doneness for a roasted chicken is to hold it up by its leg and move it around; if it is done properly, then the joint will move freely. However, use other methods for checking doneness also, to be more accurate.
  • Always leave spaces between chicken pieces when cooking; overcrowding will result in uneven cooking and an uneven color.
  • Always set aside separate marinade for basting; never reuse marinade for raw chicken as baste, as this will cause bacteria transfer to your cooked chicken.
  • When cutting or carving a chicken, use a standard sharp knife; a blunt knife will result in messy slices and cuts. Also, a sharp knife will make the job a lot easier, especially when slicing joints.

Chinese Chicken Recipes


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Last Modified: 11/28/11.