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Best ways to cook a chicken complete guide.
There are two ways to make certain your chicken is not overcooked. The first way, and the most accurate in my opinion, is to use an instant read thermometer. I own a handy little electronic thermometer with a voice alert feature. It is extremely accurate and has never let me down. The other method for checking doneness is by pricking the meat with a fork. If the juices run clear, then it is done. I think the first option is much safer, but you can be the judge.
Pan fry chicken.
Pan frying chicken is one of the easiest techniques you can use! Simply wash, pat dry rub with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can cook with the lid on or with the lid off. Many people will cook and take the lid off 3/4 of the way to crisp up and brown the skin. Add a few vegetables and you can have a meal prepared using only one roaster.
Chicken breasts are lean and plump. They are typically halved at the grocery or meat store. They are high in protein and essential amino acids. However, they lack intramuscular fat. From a health perspective, this is a good thing, as it means lower fat and lower risk for heart diseases.
From a cooking perspective, it’s an entirely different story. Without intramuscular fat, chicken breasts can’t retain or add moisture as the other parts of the chicken, such as chicken legs, wings or thigh. As such, keeping it juicy and moist requires that you add some form of moisture to the chicken breasts and/or seal the them with foil paper. Here are some suggestions on how to do it:
- Tenderize with salt rub. Create a salt rub by combining 1/3 cup of coarse salt and three tablespoons of lemon juice. Rub the mixture under the skin of the chicken, put in a re-sealable bag, then let soak in the chiller for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 2 days. Wash thoroughly. The chicken is now ready for baking.
- Brining. Brine is made by combining ¾ cup of salt with a gallon of water. You can also add other flavorings if preferred. Bring the mixture to a boil, then allow to cool. Put the chicken breasts and the brine in a re-sealable bag, then marinate in the refrigerator for up to 5 hours. Make sure the chicken is well soaked in brine, and don’t over-marinate or the meat will become too salty. Remove the chicken from the brine, wash thoroughly with water, then pat dry with paper towel. Coat with olive oil, then add spices of your choice. Your chicken is now ready to be baked.
There are many ways to achieve succulent baked chicken breasts, and they are all easy to do. No matter how you cook it, it’s important that you don’t judge whether the meat is fully cooked just by looking at it. If you want to be accurate, you need an internal temperature measuring device called food thermometer.
What you do with the food thermometer is insert it into the thickest part of the meat. Wait for a few seconds. When the thermometer registers in 160 – 170-degree Fahrenheit range, then the chicken is cooked.
Now we covered some basics on how to keep your chicken moist and tender. Here are some guidelines on how to bake or broil a chicken in the oven:
Without any added garnish to the oven:
Oven temperatures: 400°F or 200°C
Cooking time: 60-90 minutes
Final meat temperature: 180°F or 80°C
Cooking with garnish next to or inside the chicken:
Oven Heat: 400°F or 200°C
Time it should be cooked: 90-120 minutes
Meat’s temperature: 180°F or 80°C
Chicken Breasts (Boneless or not):
This Meat is unique due to its tendency to become dry and distasteful if over cooked.
Cooking in the oven without any garnish (for at least 5 chicken breasts)
Oven Heat: 320°F or 160°C
Time: 25-35 minutes (35-45 if you add garnish and vegetables)
Meat’s final temperature: 160°F or 70°C
Chicken Thighs (Boneless) And Wings (at least 3.5 pounds or 2 kilos):
My personally favorite chicken’s meat, it could be cooked with or without the bones, and you can add a big variety of flavors to these meats.
(Without garnish. Add 10 minutes to the cooking time if you add garnish.)
Oven temperature: 355°F or 180°C
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Final Meat temperature: 180°F or 80°C
If you are Cooking Thighs with the bone:
Preheat the oven to: 400°F or 200°C
Cook for: 60-75 minutes
Until the meat is: 180°F or 80°C
How to Make Fried Chicken in a more heathy way.
- First of all, pick your favorite cut of chicken. For oven frying, you can use any cut of chicken such as breasts, wings, drumsticks or thighs. You had best split your chicken into smaller cuts for a tastier result. However, make sure that your cuts are not too small since they will be cooked at high heat. Cutting the chicken into very small pieces will make them dry before the breading is crispy. It is also not recommended to cut them into large pieces since it will make the coating burn before they are done inside. Then, should you include the bone in or not? Well, it depends on your personal preference. Naturally, boneless breasts and thighs are a great choice since you can eat them with less hassle. If you leave the bone intact, you should remember that the cooking time would be increase.
- The second thing to do is to coat your chicken. There are some coating methods you can choose to make oven-fried chicken. The first is what is called the 1-2-3 method. It includes three steps: dredge your chicken in seasoned flour, sip it into an egg wash or buttermilk and the last is to dredge it in the seasoned breading. The second method is almost the same as the first one. You only need to soak your chicken into the egg wash or buttermilk then dredge it in the breading.
- After coating your chicken, then you can cook it. If you are committed to healthy eating habits, you will be glad to find out that you don’t need to pan fry it using much oil. First of all, you need to preheat your oven to 400 F. Prepare a baking dish and grease it lightly. Choose a large baking dish that can accommodate all of your chicken pieces. If your chicken pieces are too crowded, it’s hard to make them brown evenly. Bake the chicken for 45 or 50 minutes and then turn it over for another 20 to 30 minutes.
- Once your chicken has been baked, now it’s time to enjoy it. Making healthy fried chicken is very easy to do. Plus, you can use the baking time to clean up your cabinet or prepare mashed potatoes.
How to grill your chicken.
Choose Your Chicken
The advantage of grilling various chicken parts is that all your guests can select the piece they want. The issue is grilling all the different pieces to perfection so that everyone is satisfied. You can easily grill legs, breasts, wings and thighs, just keep in mind they require different cooking times. Always a good idea to grill the chicken for several minutes, flip, continue grilling until cooked through, glaze with barbecue sauce and serve.
Think About Your Marinade
You should think about what kind of flavor you want from your chicken before you begin grilling. Plan what flavors you want to stand out. An easy way to add flavor would be to rub on some quality poultry seasoning onto the chicken during preparation, grill the chicken until cooked through and only apply barbecue sauce as the chicken finishes cooking to avoid the sugars in the sauce from burning. Allow the chicken to sit in the marinade for up to an hour at room temperature or even 24 hours in the fridge. Some good combinations for marinades would include onion, lime juice, and cilantro; cayenne, cumin, coriander, cilantro, and yogurt; garlic, ginger and soy sauce; or olive oil and garlic.
Keep Chicken Moist
Keep your chicken moist by creating a pouch out of aluminum foil. Add in your preferred vegetables and 2 ice cubes along with the chicken in the foil pouch. Seal the pouch closed, and cook the chicken over indirect heat for 10-15 minutes before removing from the foil and finishing over direct heat to brown the skin and glaze with sauce. A similar method is to parboil your chicken. Prior to grilling the chicken, you might want to parboil it first. This is referred to as precooking the chicken to prepare for later grilling. For boneless chicken, you have to cook it in liquid over medium heat for 10 minutes. Parboiling insures the chicken is cooked through without losing moisture. Time on the grill is lessened significantly.
Try Indirect Cooking
While you can cook chicken over direct heat, the chance of your chicken burning increases greatly. If you elect the direct method, or placing the chicken directly over the coals, do not leave the chicken unattended for any longer than a minute or two, and be prepared to put out flare-ups and move chicken quickly away from flames.
The indirect method places the chicken pieces on to the side of the grill so that they avoid the intense, direct heat. Only towards the end of their cooking time should you transfer the pieces over direct heat, apply barbecue sauce and finish the chicken with a nice, caramelized char.
Check for Doneness
Under-cooked chicken with some raw portions is not safe to eat. Chicken pieces with the bones intact are cooked when juices run clear. Simply use a fork, knife or skewer to check.