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Old 11-22-2005, 10:14 PM   #1
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How to tell when chicken is ready

I am a novice in the kitchen but really enjoy it.
When sauteing chicken breasts I find I really have to keep cutting into them to see if they are cooked through.
I can definitely get them to come out okay - not too dry but the presentation is awful as I have multiple cuts .
Any suggestions would be welcome.
Thanks!

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Old 11-22-2005, 10:17 PM   #2
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A meat thermometer is my only suggestion. That will create a clean and simple hole that you can hide by flipping the breast over for presentation ... I've had the same problem and have resorted to presentation by slicing into medallions and fanning for my diners when I don't have the thermometer handy ...
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Old 11-22-2005, 10:21 PM   #3
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Would you say just take it out when it says 170?
Sometimes it still seems too pink in some areas when it gets to the rught temp.
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Old 11-22-2005, 10:24 PM   #4
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Hi, Mitchell. Welcome to Discuss Cooking.

Cutting the chicken to see if it's done allows juices to escape, contributing to dry chicken.

As JMediger suggested, an instant read thermometer is the way to go. Your chicken must reach a minimum internal temperature of 161F to ensure salmonella is killed off. Remove the cooked chicken and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.

Try to notice how the chicken feels during the cooking process. As it cooks, it will become more firm. With experience, you will be able to judge when the chicken is done by how firm it feels.
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Old 11-22-2005, 10:32 PM   #5
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Thanks guys.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Cutting the chicken to see if it's done allows juices to escape, contributing to dry chicken.

As JMediger suggested, an instant read thermometer is the way to go. Your chicken must reach a minimum internal temperature of 161F to ensure salmonella is killed off. Remove the cooked chicken and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.

Try to notice how the chicken feels during the cooking process. As it cooks, it will become more firm. With experience, you will be able to judge when the chicken is done by how firm it feels.
Andy gave you some really good tips there I would add that unlike a piece of beef steak, chicken is not so easy to feel (I've found) by touch to see if it is ready or not (which is why a meat thermometre can come in handy).

One way to test if a whole bird or large poultry joint is cooked is to stick a metal skewer into (roughly) the thickest part of the bird (but don't hit the bone). Quickly place a large spoon or ladle under the skewer and watch to see what colour the juices run. If they are red or tinged pink with blood than the bird is not ready and will probably require at least another 20 or more minutes. However, if the juices run clear to golden yellow, and the bird appears to be done (in other words it's golden/browned to your liking on the outside) than it is likely that your chicken (or turkey, etc) is ready.
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Old 11-24-2005, 05:00 PM   #7
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Boneless chicken breasts can be tricky. If I'm doing them on the stovetop, I add a small amount of olive oil or butter to a hot skillet, sear them quickly on both sides (turn only once), then turn down the heat and add a small amount of liquid and steam them until they are tender.
Other than that, I only use them cut in strips for stir fry and the like. I prefer the bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for the oven or grill.
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Old 11-25-2005, 12:17 AM   #8
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Thanks all, the advice was helpful.
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Old 11-25-2005, 04:13 AM   #9
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What I do is try to keep it reasonably thin when I cook it in a skillet. Either pound it out or slice it to about 1cm/half inch thickness and then cook, this way when the outside is nicely golden brown the inside is also well cooked. If you keep it whole and cook it for longer amount of time, it needs some care to maintain its moisture, either well basted with sauce etc. and if it is in the oven, covered. Like Andy said, after a bit of practice, you can tell the doneness by how it feels. But the ideal, foolproof way would be the usage of the thermometre like JM said, which I would like to try one of these days...
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