My Favorite Juicy Chicken is Not for Me to Share

My favorite way to make chicken is not for everyone. In fact, unless you knew me very well, and trusted me explicitly, I wouldn’t even share it with you. It may seem odd, but unless I trusted you the same way, I wouldn’t eat it if you made it either.

An explanation is of course in order. Chicken is commonly recognized by the FDA as being safe from Salmonella and other organisms at 165°. This is to be measured close to the bone at the thickest point. Beef and in current times even pork are often served at much lower temperatures but they are not 30% or more infected with Salmonella according to studies. So if you have not a bit of pink in your dry chicken breast it will be safe to eat.

I eat chicken thighs that are cooked to between 145° and 150°. It is very pink close to the bone, It is also very tender and juicy. The method I use is adapted from a recipe for poached chicken by Kenji Lopez-Alt and uses science (plus my trusty instant read thermometer and timer) to show that it is not just temperature but time as well that provides a safe product.

The Science is provided by Michigan State University College of Agriculture and can be seen at the following link. Information regarding chicken is on page 5.

“Here’s the thing: Industry standards for food safety are primarily designed to be simple to understand, usually at the expense of accuracy. The rules are set up such that anybody, from the turn-and-burner at Applebee’s to the fry-dunker at McDonald’s, can grasp them, ensuring safety across the board. … The upshot is: Food safety is a function of both temperature and time.” Kenji Lopez-Alt

According to the FDA, if the chicken is held at 145° for 8.4 minutes or 150° degrees for 2.7 minutes, then it is rendered safe to eat. The 165° figure is the instant kill temp. According to some, my thighs should be taken to 175° or 180° to break down the collagen, but I enjoy them at 150°. A sous vide unit would make this procedure much easier, but I muddle through with my gas stove, heavy saucepan, thermometer and timer at hand.

From Helen Rennie: “Why I Eat Dangerous Chicken”. She gives a great description as to how chicken can have salmonella inside the muscle.

The information about time and temperature is available. On the other hand, our bureaucrats in charge give simple data that is easy for the masses to digest without any grey area. Chicken at 165° is safe to eat so that is what is advertised. It is often dry and without flavor as well. The red substance in my poached chicken is not blood as most believe, but heme, an iron-containing compound of the porphyrin class which forms the non-protein part of hemoglobin. It is the substance which gives Impossible Burgers their meat-like juiciness.

Chicken made this way can be used in many ways. I use it for a quick soup, tacos, sandwiches, and it can be battered then quickly fried for amazing Southern Fried Chicken.

This is my chicken story. Do the research and try if you will with great care as I do. That said, you will not be eating chicken prepared to this method at my house or anywhere in the public sphere.

My Favorite Juicy Chicken is Not for Me to Share

But you can do it yourself.

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