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Old 09-19-2010, 01:37 PM   #1
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Breasts Up Or Down?

I see I got your attention .
I just watched "Ten Dollar Meals" on the Food Network and she baked her whole chicken with the breast side down for 15 minutes at 450 and then, turned it back over, slathered it with herb butter, and turned the oven down to 325 for the rest of the time. She said it is juicier that way because the breasts are sitting in their juices while cooking. Makes sense. But when all was said and done, the chicken looked greasy to me but not necessarily juicy inside. Can I mention the breasts were unattractively flat as well. (i'm being serious now)

Is this technique bunk or do you think it really makes the chicken more moist?




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Old 09-19-2010, 01:46 PM   #2
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I have never tried it. I cook chicken breasts up. I find that making sure to not overcook it is a great way to avoid dry white meat. Brining does a good job too.

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Old 09-19-2010, 02:23 PM   #3
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It is pure bunk. I proved it once again on Friday. I had a 14.5 lb. turkey and a 5 lb. chicken to cook for a dinner being thrown at our church. I have been cooking for over thirty years for my family and friends. When I first started learning to cook poultry, I followed the package instructions, which always said to cook to 180' F. Sometimes I basted the bird. Sometimes I didn't. I tried cooking at different temperatures, breast side up, breast side down, in and out of cooking bags, you name it. But the meat was always dry and tough. Then, I purchased a Webber Smokey Joe barbecue. I followed the little cookbook that came with it and barbecued a turkey, with the lid on. It was the first time I ever had successfully cooked a juicy turkey. And it was very juicy. The recipe used time as rather than 180' as the indicator for cooking the bird.

After much experimentation, I have elliminated the wive's tales, and misinformation about cooking whole birds, chicken, turkey, duck, etc. It doesn't really matter what temperature you cook them at. That just determines who long you have to cook them. i found out that cooking them breast side up or down doesn't determine the juice saturation in the meat. Breaat side up gives you crispy, beautifully covered breast skin. But the texture and moisture content of the meat is determined solely by the final temperature of the meat when it is removed from the oven, barbecue, deep fryer, or whatever the heat source may be.

I promise you, if you cook the bird until a meat thermometer reads 155'F., in the thickest part of the breast, and then you remove the bird to a platter and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before carving, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful turkey you have ever made.

Oh, and the turkey was cooked on my Webber kettle, while the chicken was roasted at the same time in my oven. I got rave review for both yesterday evening.

I am not bragging or trying to make myself look like a cullinary genius. Cooking poultry is really a no-brainer. Just cook it to 155' F. and pull it off of the heat. let it sit, remove the entire breasts from the bone and slice against the grain, remove the wings, thighs, and drumsticks, arrange artfully on a plate or platter, and serve. Your platter will be the star of the show. And people will be asking you your secret, because most people really have never been taught how to properly cook a turkey. Yours will be the best they have probably ever had.

Many people on this site know how to cook poultry. But so many people don't. And now, you too know the secret. Shhhh. Don't tell anybody; but the secret isn't really a secret.

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Old 09-19-2010, 02:38 PM   #4
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To answer your original question, it depends on which side you want tanned...

Just about every chef, TV host, housewife and foodie has a foolproof way to roast a whole chicken.

Chicken breasts don't dry out or stay juicy because of the position of the bird. Meat juiciness is strictly a factor of overcooking. If your breasts are dry it's because the bird was overcooked (just what GW said). It doesn't much matter which way you cook them. I've seen methods that use low temps, high temps changing temps and they can all give you properly cooked birds.

The bigger issue is often an evenly cooked bird. Often, the thigh body joint is the last to cook through. By then the breasts are overdone.
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:44 PM   #5
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I like to gently massage the breast with a little oil until it firms up a bit.I caress it with my fingers gently pulling on the skin and applying the rub.I apply a little butter and work it in creating a tender mouth feel to the flesh.I repeat the process to other breast before simmering slowy.

I have used this method for years and been quite satisfied.I have never had any complaints either.
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Old 09-19-2010, 02:48 PM   #6
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Mollyanne, I have cooked turkey breast down for years and the general consensus around here is that it helps it remain juicier. We have never had a CHICKEN breast be dry ever, but on a turkey we all vote for cooking breast down for most of the cooking time and just a few minutes under the broiler to crisp up the yummy skin.
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
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I cook whole chicken and turkey breast-side down..then flip and finish breast-side up.
Quoth the chicken, "Fry some more."
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:54 PM   #8
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I'm with Alix and Dave. And I start in a 450 degree oven turning down to 325 about an hour into it and I use a rack.
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:19 PM   #9
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The gal on TV said she cuts red potatoes in half places them down on the pan (flat side down) and uses those for her rack to bake the chicken after the first 15 min of cooking it in it's juices.

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Old 09-19-2010, 05:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mollyanne View Post
The gal on TV said she cuts red potatoes in half places them down on the pan (flat side down) and uses those for her rack to bake the chicken after the first 15 min of cooking it in it's juices.
I use potatoes as a "rack" for any of my whole bird cooking. I don't know what it does for the bird, to be honest, but those are sure some tasty taters (I don't serve them for the meal but munch on them myself or save them to cut up for hashbrowns the next morning).

I learned to start breast down on the potatoes and during the last 15 minutes to 1/2 hour, depending on the bird, turning it around.

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