The enjoyment of fine food has always been a principal delight of people since the beginning of time. These days, with our rushed lifestyles the idea is to keep meals simple.
Versatile chicken is perfect for modern times as it can be fried, grilled roasted, or sauteed. It is mouth-wateringly delicious when cooked correctly. Minimal effort and amazing, finger-licking flavors make chicken a favorite meal in many homes.
There’s no need to buy a cooked chicken when there are so many cool ideas on the Internet. You get detailed information on how to cook a chicken so that it is packed with flavor and has a juicy, succulent texture.
Seasoning your chicken holds the secret to great-tasting chicken and it’s not meant to camouflage but to rather add aroma and flavor.
Chicken Is Chewy but Not Pink
Top rule – Don’t overcook your chicken
Every one of us has no doubt run into a tough, chewy chicken at some time. There are generally two ways to cook food –
- Dry heat – the more conventional way using baking or grilling.
- Moist heat – this method uses water or a water-based cooking liquid through a pressure cooker or slow cooker.
Cooking chicken in a conventional fryer has a few disadvantages because it can be easy to overcook the chicken, leaving it bland tasting and dry. With shorter cooking times in a pressure fryer, chicken is more succulent as the cooking method allows it to retain its moisture.
Slow cooking is great for certain cuts of meats with connective tissue. Through the cooking process, the connective tissue turns to gelatin to tender the meat. Chicken breast has little connective tissue and less fat and can become chewy if cooked for too long.
White meat from the breast of the bird is low in fat while darker meat is fattier. It is found in the legs and thighs of the bird. Without moisture, the chicken’s protein fibers become elastic.
Always pay attention to cooking times and make adjustments as needed so that you have an idea of how long your chicken should be cooked in your slow cooker. The best way to avoid chewy chicken is to cook it on high heat to avoid keeping it over the heat for too long.
Your general temperature for cooking chicken should be about 350°F. Cooking your chicken on relatively high heat for a short time will help the chicken to stay moist and succulent and prevent it from drying out.
Pink chicken could spell danger, but maybe not
Nobody likes the look of pink chicken as most people are aware of salmonella – caused by eating the raw or undercooked meat. Cooking chicken thoroughly kills dangerous pathogens. But then again, you don’t want to overcook your chicken.
Overcooking can leave you with a dry, tough, chewy texture, as all the moisture has dried up and the protecting fibers become elastic. Did you know that it is the temperature that is the real indicator of a fully-cooked chicken?
The USDA or U.S. Department of Agriculture tells us that a cooked chicken with a minimum internal temperature of 165° is safe to eat. They say that even a fully cooked chicken can sometimes have a pinkish tinge to it.
Sometimes when you eat chicken, you may notice dark pink around the bones even when the chicken is well cooked. However, if cooking helped it reach the right temperature, pink chicken can still be safe to eat.
Tips to avoid drying out chicken
- Familiarize yourself with your pressure cooker or crockpot and make sure your crockpot isn’t too big. This is important, as cooking in a utensil that is too big or too small can influence cooking results. If your chicken recipe suggests a certain size cooker, and you use a much bigger one, you’ll have to adjust for the extra surface space as the chicken can become overcooked.
- Using a mix of olive oil and butter will keep your chicken from getting dry. Basting is also a very good idea to prevent your chicken from drying out and becoming chewy. Basting is a well-known cooking technique where you cook your poultry or other meat in its juices. During cooking, you pour juices over the chicken.
- You can also prepare your chicken with marinade. This is when you soak your chicken in a marinating sauce before cooking such as garlic butter or some other sauce. It will ensure the chicken remains moist throughout cooking and that is is soft and tasty to eat.
Dry, chewy chicken – there’s a solution
If the chicken was overcooked and is dry and chewy and not pink, the next best thing is to prepare a delicious sauce that will help to add some moisture and flavor. You could also cut your chewy chicken up finely or shred it, add mayonnaise and enjoy fantastic toasted chicken mayo sandwiches.