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Old 08-26-2007, 10:48 PM   #1
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What cooking method yields tender chicken breasts?

I have tried boiling just until done, braising, roasting, frying, in soups.....the chicken always turns out dry. The only place I've had tender chicken breasts is in the rotisserie chickens that I buy at Costco. I usually use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Are there any ways to cook it so it comes out tender? Does marinating help at all? What about brining? I've only ever brined a whole turkey, don't know exactly how to do it for chicken for a single dinner. Any ideas are greatly appreciated!!!

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Old 08-26-2007, 10:57 PM   #2
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Hi!

I used to have the same dilemma and part of the problem may be the quality of chicken you're getting. Theres this market down the street from me that has cheap, large chicken breasts that ALWAYS come out dry and tasteless, but down at another store a farther drive from me, their chicken is more expensive, but absolutley delicious.

I also find that brining is the best way to get juicy chicken breast. I beleive it has something to do with like... the salt taking out the moisture but then it all rushes back in or something like that, im no good at science, but from personal experience - brining and marinating DO produce a juicier chicken breast.

Good luck!
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:08 PM   #3
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Dry chicken breasts are overcooked chicken breasts. Cook them to an internal temperature of 165 F and no more. You won't have dry chicken.

How you cook them depends on how you are using them. When serving breast halves, pan sear 'til brown on both sides and pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on breast size.

Boneless skinless breasts are the easiest to overcook as they are very lean and have no skin or bones to help keep moisture in.

When grilling, I always cook breast halves that still have skin and bone in place (when breasts are called for). You can always separate the meat from the skin and bone after cooking if it's that important.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:56 AM   #4
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I second everything that AndyM said above!

Though I prefer cooking chicken breasts with the bone and skin left on, there are times when I need to cook them boneless and skinless, but the key, as AM said, is to not overcook! If I'm grilling them, I usually marinate them a couple of hours (anywhere from 2 to 6 hrs) covered, in the fridge, taking them out 20 minutes before cooking. If I can't prepare them ahead of time, I simply marinate for 20-30 minutes (covered in a ceramic dish) on the counter. My usual easy everyday chicken marinade consists of lemon juice and zest, soya sauce, minced garlic and grated ginger. (Obviously there are hundreds of marinade possibilities this is just one that's simple and easy)

A pretty fool-proof way to prepare boneless/skinless breasts in the oven without drying them out is to lightly salt and pepper the breasts then slather them with a mixture of yoghurt and Dijon mustard (about 3:2 ratio), roll them in herbed fresh (not dry) bread crumbs (I like minced fresh thyme but oregano and rosemary are nice too) and bake them at 350 in a lightly oiled baking dish (single layer of course) for about 30-35 minutes. Give it a try.


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Old 08-27-2007, 11:04 AM   #5
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I've had the same problem with dry chicken breasts until I started grilling recently. I now use the grill every time I cook boneless, skinless breasts. The chicken comes out SO tender every time, even if I don't use a marinade before hand.

All I do is preheat the grill, turn it down to medium/medium-high, throw the breats on, and cook for 10 - 12 minutes, turning ONCE halfway through. They come out so perfectly moist and tender that I don't even need a knife to eat them with, only a fork.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:18 AM   #6
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Braising gives you a much broader finish time.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:26 AM   #7
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Braising is for tough cuts of meat, not chix breasts. They would certainly dry out if braised.

I agree that dry chicken is overcooked chicken. The most important thing is not to overcook it.

Brining will make your chicken moister, for sure. It's a good technicque if you are going to cook with dry heat, like grilling.

Never boil chicken, as it will make for rubery dry meat. Simmer it very gently. Poached chicken can be very tender also.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Braising is for tough cuts of meat, not chix breasts. They would certainly dry out if braised.
I dunno, I always had tender braised chicken breasts.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:04 PM   #9
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Braising is "low and slow" cooking with liquid. Not really appropriate for chicken breasts. They'll dry out.


"Q: What is braising and what cuts of meat are best suited to being braised?

A: Braising is a slow, wet cooking method that blends flavors and softens tough textures. The best cuts of meat for braising are those with a lot of connective tissue, that is, the sinew (gristle) and fat that hold the bands of protein together in meat. The connective tissue, during a long, moist cooking process, breaks down into gelatin, becoming soft in texture while retaining its juiciness. Many of these cuts would be horribly tough and unpalatable if they were cooked quickly or with dry heat, since high temperatures make the connective tissue hard and chewy. Braising develops deep, layered flavors and a thick, richly-textured sauce."

Read more Here
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:55 PM   #10
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What exactly would one consider to be a true braise? Is it just cooking with moist heat (a liquid) or is time a factor? Coq Au Vin basically braises chicken breast (or parts) in wine for 30 minutes, and that chicken breast is tender and juicy. Here’s Julia Child’s recipe for Coq Au Vin.

This isn't really stewing since the breast wasn't cut into pieces, so isn't this a braise?
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