Chicken is one of the most versatile foods to cook, but there are still plenty of mistakes people make when preparing it. In fact, when people admit they don’t like eating chicken, we often say it’s because it wasn’t prepared properly. When a high quality cut of chicken is chosen and cooked to perfection, almost everyone loves it!
Here are four of the most common mistakes people make when cooking chicken and ways to avoid them from sabotaging your protein-packed meals.
People often buy previously frozen meat without realizing it. Grocery stores freeze meat when they’re overstocked and don’t want the meat to spoil. However, when you cook chicken that has been previously frozen, it dries out and doesn’t reach the juiciness it should.
When shopping for chicken, be sure to start with a high quality cut of chicken that says “fresh, never frozen,” on its label. If you can’t trust the grocery stores, shop at the butcher instead. We also recommend choosing chicken that has no added brine or water.
Brining refers to soaking the meat in a solution of salt water and sometimes sugar and herbs. While not everyone does this, we believe it’s a mistake. A simple brine solution brings out immense flavor and juiciness in an otherwise ordinary chicken dish.
Chicken is very easy to overcook, so be sure to brine your chicken for at least two to three hours (full chickens need longer). When you follow this extra step, you maintain the chicken’s moisture so that it cooks evenly and stays juicy. And, if you add sugar or fresh herbs, you’ll be seasoning the tender insides of the chicken as well.
Washing chicken is controversial. Experts used to recommend washing chicken to remove pathogenic bacteria. However, based on new research, washing chicken is not recommended because it allows bacteria to spread. To prevent the spread of harmful pathogens, you’ll want to rethink washing raw poultry in your sink.
Regardless of whether you wash or don’t wash your chicken, you should be patting it dry. This is the best way to get crispy meat. Let the meat air dry out of the package for up to four hours and then pat it dry with a paper towel right before cooking.
We get it – families are busy and dinner needs to be on the table as quickly as possible. However, cooking chicken right out of the fridge is a mistake. It’s a good idea to let poultry sit on the counter for around 15 minutes before cooking. This ensures that the inside and outside of the meat is the same temperature and will cook consistently.
And, when the meat is done cooking, be sure to give it a few minutes to rest. This lets the juices redistribute themselves so the meat is tender and juicy. Building these few extra minutes into your prep time will allow you to make delicious meals that the whole family will love!
We hope these mistakes have shined light on how to best prepare your chicken-based dishes. La Rosa Chicken and Grill has a full menu of freshly prepared chicken dishes and sides for the whole family. Stop in today and see how we ‘do chicken’ at our place!