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Old 06-14-2006, 10:21 AM   #1
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What does soaking chicken in milk do?

So, why do we soak chix in milk proir to frying? I'm not talking about the coat of it, I mean like soaking it overnight. What does it do?

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Old 06-14-2006, 10:26 AM   #2
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I'm not sure about milk, but soaking in butter milk tenderizes the chicken. I suppose milk does the same thing.
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Old 06-14-2006, 10:50 AM   #3
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Charlie is right, soaking the chicken in milk, buttermilk and even yogurt tenderizes the chicken and makes it very moist.
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:42 PM   #4
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I am not going to say that the answers are wrong. Soaking chicken in dairy products is supposed to help tenderize meat. According to several internet sources, there is an enzyme in milk that helps denature meat protiens. But I am confused.

Let me explain. I am one who has to test cooking techniques and find out for myself if what is presented as fact is actually true. So I soaked both cut chicken pieces, and pork chops in milk for at least 15 hours. I fired up the grill and cooked them over charcoal as I normally would (covered with vents turned down, and over a solid bed of coals). The chicken and pork came out fine; moist, juicy, and tender. But what confuses me is that they were identicle to the same foods cooked with no brining, soaking, or marinating.

I have found that meats come out tender when they are cooked to the proper temperature, and that as they are taken above the point of being "just done", they tend to toughen and dry out. So I'm not convinced that brining or soaking meats in anything will help tenderize them. I will use soaking, brining, and marinating to add other flavors to the meat, especially brining with a solution of water, salt, and herbs/spices.

But again, there are supposedly scientific reasons why soaking in milk or buttermilk is supposed to tenderize meat. I would be interested in hearing other comparisons of meats cooked in identicle fasion, some soaked and some not. I did not do extensive testing. My hypothesis is based on quick evaluation provided by personal experience.

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Old 06-14-2006, 12:57 PM   #5
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I soak chicken in B-milk when making fried chicken, not to tenderize so much as to add that tangy flavor along with any spices I've added to B-milk.

I wonder if this came from the custom of soaking fish in milk to get rid of the 'fishy' smell? Maybe when there wasn't as much refrigeration and folks weren't as skeevy about chicken gone bad?
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Old 06-14-2006, 02:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North

... I soaked both cut chicken pieces, and pork chops in milk I fired up the grill and cooked them over charcoal ...
Not sure,maybe I am wrong, but I don't think saoking meat in milk applies for grilling. I think it really is ment for further frying of meat.

And as far as pork goes i would ot bother soaking pork in anything, and definetely cook till it is medium rear and not even a bit more than that.
I would consider seasoning the pork and let it seat for few hours before grilling or marinading to achive sertain flavor, but not soaking, definitely not in milk.
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Old 06-14-2006, 03:27 PM   #7
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Question Question part 2 added

Most traditional southern fried chicken recipes have you soak the pieces in buttermilk for 2 or 3 hours before dredging in flour. Maybe in addition to adding tang to the end result, the acid breaks down the outside of the pieces enough to help the flour adhere. I don't claim to know this as scientific fact, but it's a good enough rationalization to keep me doing it the old fashion way.

I'd like to add a part two to the question.

A lot of the chicken, including the whole ones that go on sale around here, have been injected with a brine to increase the weight and maybe to make them juicier and more flavorful. How much I believe the second part varies day to day. It seems to me these chickens lose a lot of excess liquid shortly after they are cut up. Do any of you think it is worth the extra step of letting the pieces weep in the ice box for a few hours before soaking in buttermilk, or any thing else for that matter?
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Old 06-14-2006, 07:07 PM   #8
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I haven't noticed any real problems with putting them to soak right away, as opposed to letting them sit a while. But - I have started in the past year, buying 'natural' brands of chicken as they become more available in the supermarkets, and they're not injected with anything (that I know of!).
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Old 06-14-2006, 08:02 PM   #9
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One thing milk/buttermilk can do partly is to help take away the briney flavor that some chicken and pork has (depending on where you buy it from).

Like marmalady said, the better the quality of the product you buy, the less chance that it's been exposed/induced/injected with any foreign substances like a brine or other solution.
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Old 06-15-2006, 12:48 AM   #10
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c'mon, someone's gotta have a scientific explanation.

all i've found so far is that the lactic acid in milk is a mild meat tenderizer, and the sourness of buttermilk adds flavor, like marm said, as well as acting as the moisture for the breading to stick.
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