Some Hygienic Measures for Cooking Chicken
Have you ever cooked a chicken meal and realized that it was still pink? So, you'd have to get it back in the oven or on the grill, right? Well, not necessarily.
How to know if the chicken is cooked enough? More details below, but first, some explanations.
The risks of eating “rare” chicken
It's not a secret; it’s risky to eat chicken that is not cooked enough. But do you know exactly why?
First, because poultry, at higher levels than other types of meat, possess bacteria that can cause health problems for humans. These bacteria are, among others, salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, or E.Coli, to name just a few.
If a human being is exposed to these bacteria, he’s also exposed to risks of diseases, such as gastroenteritis, or even hospitalization, depending on the bacteria and the severity.
However, these bacteria are eliminated when the chicken is cooked properly. That's why you have to follow certain cooking rules and hygienic rules. Here they are:
1. Avoid cross-contamination
As we often tell you in our Maillard.co blog posts, cross-contamination is one of 21st century’s scourges. Avoid it at all costs.
*** According to the definition, "cross-contamination occurs, for example, when cooked or ready-to-eat foods come into contact with a cookware, work surface, or hands that have touched raw food."
Raw chicken bacteria can come into contact with fruits, vegetables or any other food.
If you take out the meat and put it on a plate or in another dish, be sure to sanitize the dish and leave it slightly away to avoid cross-contamination.
2. Wash your hands, not the chicken
You should always wash your hands (with soap) before and after you handle raw chicken.
Don’t wash the chicken thinking it’ll wash it away from the bacteria. Actually, it’ll do worse, because tap water also contains bacteria. Just wash your hands like you’re supposed to.
3. Be sure that the chicken is good to consume
Before you cook it, make sure that the chicken you’re about to consume is good for it. There are some criteria to verify this;
- Does it smell? It should not have a strong smell, or no smell at all.
- Is it greyish? Discolored? It should be pink.
- Is it slimy or sliding? It shouldn’t be hard to hold in hand.
How to know if the chicken is cooked enough?
Let’s go back to the nitty gritty. Once cooked, how do we know if the chicken is cooked enough and good to eat? Some people will think that if it’s still pink, it’s not ready. But it might not be true.
To this, we could answer that you should not take the risk and get it back to cook in order to make the juices run clear, and not pinkish. But at the end, you should just use a meat thermometer to make sure it has the right internal temperature. Because it’s not because the meat is still pink that it’s not done.
And take your temperature at a few places inside the meat.
To learn more about internal temperatures, check out our infographic on the subject:
Article - Maillard's Meat Internal Temperatures Guide