There are guidelines one needs to follow when cooking chicken. Different tips apply for steaming, stir-frying and grilling chicken.
Chicken Cooking Tips
- To be able to use the right measurements when cooking your chicken, keep in mind that one pound of boneless chicken equates to 3 cups of cubed chicken.
- An untrussed chicken cooks faster and more evenly than a trussed one.
- When roasting chicken in the oven, covered chicken takes longer to cook as compared to uncovered chicken.
- When cooking your chicken, you should not crowd the pieces as the pieces cook more evenly and brown perfectly.
- When cooking your chicken, be it grilling, braising or frying it, breasts and wings tend to cook faster, reason being they are smaller pieces while thighs and legs will take longer because they are the dark meat pieces.
- If you wish to test the doneness of the chicken while roasting it, hold the leg, move it around a bit and if it moves around freely at the joint then it is a sign of being done.
- In case you use a marinade for basting, to not reuse the marinade that the chicken was marinated in for basting.
- Always use a sharp knife when cutting your chicken as it ensures neatly cut pieces.
Chicken Stir-frying Tips
- When using a stir-fry, you need to ensure that you cut even sized pieces as these will guarantee a quick cooking of all ingredients. To make the stir-frying easy, you can even buy all vegetables precut; this will also save your preparation time.
- The chicken also needs to be cut into thin strips. To cut thin strips with ease, you can place the chicken for an hour; the cold firms it up. If the chicken was frozen, cut it to thin strips before it completely thaws.
- Wash your work area with hot soapy water or use mild bleach. This sanitizes the place, clearing it of all bacteria so as to avoid cross contamination.
Chicken Frying Tips
- If pan frying, cover the skillet from which you are cooking your chicken for the first five minutes then cook uncovered for the rest of the cooking time. This helps the chicken cook thoroughly.
- Avoid using a fork to turn your chicken pieces or placing the pieces in the pan; you can use tongs instead. A fork pierces and allows the escape of juices from the chicken pieces.
- Leave the skin on while cooking, remove before eating if need be. Leaving the skin on lowers the chances of your chicken pieces drying out while you cook them.
- Frying requires you to heat oil; be careful not to use a skillet that is wet as water makes oil to splatter when heated and you, might get burnt.
- Instead of using vegetable oil, you can use canola oil to fry your chicken. Canola oil gives a milder taste and it is healthier.
- Keep the pieces that have been well cooked out of the skillet, use tongs to hold them out and place on a baking sheet and cover it with paper towels. This will keep the chicken pieces warm. Be careful not to cover the chicken as soon as you remove it from the heat as you might risk the coat losing its crispiness.
Chicken Grilling Tips
- Leave the chicken skin on when grilling it; this helps preserve the chicken’s natural moisture.
- To keep the chicken for sticking, make sure the racks are clean and coat them with vegetable oil.
- Smaller pieces cook fast, hence, it is best to place them around the outer edges.
- If you wish to cut on the grilling time, partially cook the chicken in the microwave.
Chicken Steaming Tips
- When steaming your chicken, marinate it to give it an extra flavor.
- Avoid overcrowding the chicken when you steam vegetables together with it.
- To help the chicken cook fast, use a knife to make cuts on the top and below the chicken. This will help heat penetrate more into the chicken pieces.
- You can also add ingredients such as onions, celery, and fresh gingerroot to the steaming water so as to impart flavor to the chicken.
Ways of Keeping You Chicken Tender
- When roasting a full chicken, to keep the breast area from drying out, you can cover it with foil paper while cooking and remove it during the last 30 minutes of roasting time to allow the skin to turn golden brown.
- Cut your meat across the grain as this produces pieces with shorter fibers which yield tender pieces.
- Always use the correct temperature when cooking your chicken because overcooking causes the pieces to lose moisture and undercooking also causes the chicken pieces to dry up.
- To ensure that the chicken does not dry out due to being refrigerated, wrap it tightly with a paper wrap before placing it in heavy duty freezer bag.
- If you have roasted your chicken, leave it to rest for 10 minutes as it allows the juices to be distributed throughout the meat.
Is it Safe to Stuff Chicken in Advance?
It is not advisable to stuff the chicken in advance as that increases the risk of bacteria growth. If the stuffing is prepared, it needs to be kept in the refrigerated separately from the chicken. It can only be inserted into the chicken when you are ready to cook. Before inserting the stuffing, thoroughly rinse the chicken inside. If you have just prepared the stuffing, allow it to cool off before inserting it into the chicken. The stuffing is bound to expand during cooking, therefore, it is important not to over stuff the chicken. To ensure that the chicken is done, use a meat thermometer; inserting the thermometer into the thickest part and it should produce a temperature of 170 degrees F.
How to Store Chicken in the Freezer?
To store your chicken in the freezer safely, remove the stuffing first and store them separately. Allow the chicken to cool off completely. Use a paper warp to cover the chicken. A double wrap is best as it holds the moisture in the chicken and it also keeps the chicken from absorbing the odor of other meats in the freezer. Place a paper with the date and name of the product wrapped. To keep the chicken from going bad, place it against the wall of the freezer where the temperatures are stable. The chicken should be at a place where the temperature is always at 0 degrees F. Cooked chicken is safe to eat within three months of being frozen.