How to know if chicken is done? Is there any foolproof way to ensure that you can prevent your favorite meat from being overcooked or undercooked?
It is highly probable that all of us have experienced a situation where we thought that the dish we cooked are already prepared but embarrassed by the fact that it wasn't. Cooking requires a proper assessment of the ingredients and the method and time you need to prepare them. It doesn't even matter if the recipe you are making is simple or not. You just have to realize that one wrong slip can result in flabbergasting dismay.
Chicken can be an excellent case to testify to this situation. By its own, the ingredient is downright common. However, it is quite unusual that some people can't just determine if it is already cooked or not, especially when the meat is being grilled, fried, or smoked.
Lucky for you, there are given methods that can help you address this simple-yet-tricky problem. Here are some of them:
Best Ways To Know If Chicken Is Fully Cooked
1. Get A Meat Thermometer
From time to time, the importance of a meat thermometer is always highlighted. Originally, this device is created to determine if the ideal temperature for cooking particular food items are already reached. Of course, we have no means of assessing temperatures correctly. Saying that it is "hot enough" will never be a sufficient proof that our dish will be cooked at the right conditions.
With the use of a meat thermometer, we gain the ability to inspect if a particular ingredient has reached the exact temperature where we can say that it is already cooked. This process is actually efficient contrary to popular belief. They are useful when we are cooking large and meaty ingredients like chicken.
When dealing with chicken, you have the option to use a meat thermometer. Specifically, it is useful in determining its doneness. The way to do it is pretty simple. You only need to insert the device on the thickest portion of the chicken. If the chicken you are preparing is on a bone, you need to make sure that the thermometer will not touch it. The bone is a natural conductor of heat, after all. If you measure it instead of the meat, you might get the wrong readings.
Here is a video that shows the proper use of a meat thermometer:
So what's the temperature that indicates if the chicken meat is done or not? Well, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the ideal minimum internal temperature for safe eating poultry products in 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, fish and ground beef can be safely eaten when they reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. On the other hand, roasts and steaks are already considered done if their internal temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Feeling The Meat
I know that this method is a little bit inconvenient. At some point, you can refer it to something that is unreliable. However, don't fret. You see, some experienced chefs and gourmets out there test the doneness of their meat through this method.
Most of the food aficionados that I know are practicing the technique which they call "finger testing." The latter is actually a method for checking the doneness of the meat. It is not that scientific and precise, but if you know the texture and quality of a cooked chicken, this method might be more useful than what you have thought.
Honestly, there are different approaches when it comes to a finger test. However, the most usual technique that I always see is through practicing with your own hands.
To make things easier for you, here’s a video that will demonstrate the finger tests that I’ve mentioned:
All of these methods are not that easy to master. It will take some time and experience before you can distinguish the "feel" of chicken meat that has been cooked and prepared differently. But once you learn the ropes, you will no longer need anything to identify the doneness of chicken meat. Your hands will be your very reliable utility to gauge if the meat you are preparing is ready for consumption or not.
You can also include the thermometer in the process. If you want to double-check the veracity of your personal assessment, insert a food thermometer to the internal part of the meat.
3. Poking The Meat
This specific technique is applicable not only to chicken but other meat products as well. The very essence of this method is to ensure if there will be juice or fluid that will come out from the meat once you apply minimal pressure to it. Aside from that, it will help you identify if the juice that comes out is clear. If all of these requirements are present, then the probability that chicken is fully cooked is already at 100%.
However, if the liquid that escaped has reddish to pinkish coloration, then your chicken still needs time to be cooked or heated.
Some people have a lot of doubts about this technique, however. First, they don't like the idea that the tasty juice will come out of the meat. They just want to leave it inside so that the meat will remain moist and tender. Second, these juices from the flesh of the meat only come out when the cooking temperature is set below 165 degrees Fahrenheit. For some, such a heat level is not reliable in relishing the authentic taste and flavor of the chicken.
These are some of the known methods that can help you assess the doneness of the chicken. For me, the most reliable would still be the use of a meat thermometer. This device doesn't lie, after all--especially if you have used it correctly. But if this item is not present, you can try the remaining techniques that I've listed here! One way or another, they should be able to help you out!
That's it for now. If you have questions about food and everything related to cooking, feel free to drop them in the comment section below!