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Advice on Poultry: 5 Cooking Tips for Juicier, More Flavorful Chicken

Juicy Chicken on a Skillet Tired of bland, dried-out chicken? If so, then you might be looking for some advice on poultry that you can utilize the next time you decide to try a new chicken recipe. Whether you prefer your...

Juicy Chicken on a Skillet
Juicy Chicken on a Skillet

Tired of bland, dried-out chicken? If so, then you might be looking for some advice on poultry that you can utilize the next time you decide to try a new chicken recipe. Whether you prefer your chicken baked, grilled, or pan-seared, these tips will help you to achieve juicier and more flavorful chicken.

Use a Meat Thermometer

One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking chicken is that of over-cooking it. After all, under-cooked chicken can lead to risk of illness. Ideally, chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit; anything above that will lead to dryness. The best way to cook chicken to the proper temperature is to use a meat thermometer; by simply inserting the thermometer into the center of the chicken, an instant reading can be achieved, and you can know whether your chicken is done to perfection or if it needs a little longer.

Use a Thermometer
Use a Thermomete

Don't Buy Just Any Chicken

Not all chicken is created equal; in fact, the chicken you buy can have a major impact on its flavor, so consider spending a little bit more on a quality cut of chicken from your local butcher or deli counter. Specifically, look for chicken that has been organic grain-fed. This will already give you a leg-up on flavor before you even add any marinades, rubs, or seasonings.

Raw Chicken
Raw Chicken Breasts

Pound Breasts Flat and Even

When working with chicken breasts, always use a meat cleaver to pound them flat before baking, grilling, or pan-searing. Typically, chicken breasts are thicker in the middle and thinner on the ends. When you cook them without pounding them flat, they become fully cooked in the thinner sections while remaining raw in the thicker portions.

The best way to pound chicken breasts flat is to place them in a zipper-sealed plastic bag and then use a meat cleaver to gently pound the breasts out from the center to the edges of each breast.

Cook in a Large Skillet

When pan-searing chicken, it's best to use a larger skillet than you think you need. Otherwise, you run the risk of over-crowding the pan, which can lead to uneven cooking of your chicken. Furthermore, when you over-crowd your pan with chicken, you end up with steam as it cooks, which prevents you from getting that delicious caramelized crust that adds flavor to your chicken.

Also, when cooking chicken in a pan, be sure to prevent burning by using a quality extra-virgin olive oil or butter.

Let Rest Before Cutting

Finally, when you're cooking chicken (no matter what the method), always be sure to let it rest for at least a few minutes after cooking is complete before cutting into it. Set the chicken on a platter and cover it with aluminum foil during this time. This will trap the juices in the chicken, resulting in a fuller flavor and more juiciness.

If you fail to let your chicken rest before cutting into it, you'll end up releasing a lot of the juices (read: flavor) when you cut the first piece. The method of letting meat rest before cutting into it doesn't apply to just chicken, either; try this with your burgers, steak, and other cuts of meat and you just might be surprised at what a difference it makes in terms of flavor.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind the next time you decide to cook chicken. By following these tips, you'll enjoy tastier chicken--no matter how you prepare it. Looking for more tips on preparing a great meal? Go ahead and contact us today for advice on meal prep and kitchen wares.