Chicken tartare, carpaccio or sashimi, anyone? No! We think pretty much everyone understands that you shouldn’t eat raw chicken and why but a refresher is always good! We'll start with the hygiene facts and move on to some cooking tips.
1. DON’T wash raw chicken before cooking it
It is not recommended to wash chicken meat before cooking but, more importantly, it shouldn’t be washed! Washing raw chicken risks splashing chicken juices and any accompanying bacteria around the kitchen onto benches, prepared foods and utensils etc. This recommendation has the endorsement of the Food Safety Information Council (FSIC). Washing is likely to splash raw meat juices and any bacteria in to the kitchen sink, bench top and utensils and washing will not remove all bacteria. Modern chicken meat processing means that raw chicken meat is much safer now than it used to be when washing may have been recommended.
Make sure you wash hands thoroughly and immediately after handling raw chicken meat.
Only cooking will destroy all bacteria effectively.
2. DO cook chicken thoroughly
Cooking chicken thoroughly is the best way to kill the bacteria in a food safety context that can potentially be associated with chicken. To check, if you have a food thermometer, it should reach at least 75°C when inserted to the deepest (thickest) part of the meat; if you don’t have a food thermometer, the juices should run clear (not pink) when you pierce the meat with a fork or skewer to the thickest part of the meat and the color of the meat should be consistently white when cut in half at the thickest point. Also,
- Re-heat leftovers to at least 70°C for a minimum of 2 minutes
- Stuffing should be treated with special care. Stuff loosely (not more than 2/3 full) just before cooking and remove stuffing immediately after cooking.
- Alternatively, cook stuffing separately.Also if you want to keep cooked chicken hot, keep above 60ºC
3. DON’T defrost frozen chicken on the bench
Never! Raw chicken meat should always be thawed below 5°C, which usually means in the fridge, or by using a microwave. The microwave is fastest but can damage the quality of the chicken if you’re not careful so often the easiest way is to defrost gradually overnight in the fridge because this maintains the safety and quality of the meat. To prevent cross-contamination with other foods in the fridge, put the meat in a container which prevents juices dripping on other food items and/or put it on the bottom shelf.
4. DO wash your hands…boards, hands, knives, containers…
While the risk from chicken meat itself is gone after cooking (assuming it’s thoroughly cooked and consumed or refrigerated within 2 hours), cross-contamination from whatever came in contact with the raw meat before it was cooked still exists. So things like knives, chopping boards and particularly hands and anything they’ve touched such as towels, can still have bacteria from the raw meat present on them. It’s easy to see how the bacteria can be transferred from these things to foods that are consumed raw (like salads) or food that’s already been cooked, and because there is no additional cooking step to kill the bacteria the food gets eaten along with any cross-contaminating bacteria! So either have utensils and boards specifically for raw meat or clean them immediately after use for raw meat and before use on anything else. But always wash your hands!
- Milk is the surprising ingredient in the best chicken recipe of all time. Just as surprising as the combination of ingredients is the simplicity and ease of making this recipe. An unexpected blend of milk, lemons, cinnamon, and sage work together to put an unforgettable chicken dinner on the table.
- Parchment is the secret to perfectly baked chicken. Chicken breast is such a lean cut that it can be tricky to cook without it turning out dry and tasteless. But a single piece of parchment paper placed over the chicken before going into the oven acts almost like the chicken’s missing skin, protecting it and preventing it from drying out.
- Chicken thighs are a smarter buy than breasts.Most people flock to chicken breast, and the wonderfully flavorful, budget-friendly thigh gets overlooked. Don’t make this mistake. Thigh meat does have a higher fat content, but that’s what makes it so rich and flavorful. It’s cheaper and almost impossible to mess up, unlike chicken breasts.
- Brine your chickens—and not just for special occasions. A brine adds flavor and keeps the meat tender and juicy. It's a no-brainer way to turn a regular in your dinnertime rotation into something extraordinary—and, not to mention, a smart way to guard against accidental overcooking. You can brine whole chickens or broken-down birds; those pan-roasted thighs would surely benefit from it.