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Old 01-18-2011, 05:33 PM   #1
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Ok to cut into chicken while cooking to test for doneness?

ok my dad does it when cooking big turkeys or chickens. We don't seem to complain when eating it. I do this sometimes because well I just don't always rely on thermometers for what ever reason so I cut into it to see if it's done. I have also done this with steak on top of the oven or in the broiler.

Is this a bad thing? For example; tonight I cooked 2 split chicken breasts in oven. 400 degrees after 40 minutes, my thermometer said it wasn't done yet. I wasn't sure if I should believe it (thermometers have been wrong for me before)...so I cut into it a little. It was actually correct and I put it in for another 20 minutes. but that isn't the point LOL

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:36 PM   #2
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I don't because that can let out a lot of the juices. I use a digital probe thermometer that I leave in for most big things (chicken, turkey, ham, roasts).
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:09 PM   #3
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Sure, you can cut into it if you don't care about keeping the juices inside. Maybe you need a new thermometer? I can't even imagine how dry and overcooked two completely defrosted chicken breasts would be after 1 hr. at 400 degrees!
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:21 PM   #4
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Sure I can't even imagine how dry and overcooked two completely defrosted chicken breasts would be after 1 hr. at 400 degrees!
I agree. You aren't going to get much juice from a skinless boneless chicken breast anyway. With a bit of practice you can tell if they are done just by pressing on it with your finger.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:27 PM   #5
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Sure, you can cut into it if you don't care about keeping the juices inside. Maybe you need a new thermometer? I can't even imagine how dry and overcooked two completely defrosted chicken breasts would be after 1 hr. at 400 degrees!
Split chicken breasts have bones.
I only slightly cut into one and they came out pretty good actually. If anything..maybe I could of taking it out 5....maybe 10 minutes early. But, after 40 minutes, they were definetely not done yet.

They were thick - more chicken than I thought on each piece.

Also, I'm not sure if the oven was actually 400 when I put them in..but close enough.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:47 PM   #6
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Actually that is about right for a bone-in chicken breast I think, 30 -40 minutes, specially with the mega-breasts you find these days. I went @ 50 -55 minutes (at 350) last night with two but they were straight from the store and still partially frozen.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:10 PM   #7
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Actually that is about right for a bone-in chicken breast I think, 30 -40 minutes, specially with the mega-breasts you find these days. I went @ 50 -55 minutes (at 350) last night with two but they were straight from the store and still partially frozen.
Dave, she cooked them for a total of one hr at 400 degrees. Assuming the oven temp was actually 400 degrees for that amount of time, and they were fully defrosted, it sounds to me to be about 10 min overcooked, even if they were mega size. I think ten minutes one way or another makes a huge difference, especially with chicken breasts. Just sayin'.....
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:11 PM   #8
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Cutting meat lets juices run out. That's why you are directed to let meat rest after it's cooked before cutting into it. It gives the meat a chance to relax and re-absorb its juices.

If you don't trust your thermometer get a new one and rely on it. With any thermometer, you have to test multiple areas in the meat to be sure it's done. Also, be careful to keep the probe away from bone.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:19 PM   #9
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Whoops.. I caught that now. And you are right 10 minutes makes a huge difference.

Quote:
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Dave, she cooked them for a total of one hr at 400 degrees. Assuming the oven temp was actually 400 degrees for that amount of time, and they were fully defrosted, it sounds to me to be about 10 min overcooked, even if they were mega size. I think ten minutes one way or another makes a huge difference, especially with chicken breasts. Just sayin'.....
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:53 PM   #10
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i always just check chicken pieces with my instant read. come to think of it, i do the same on whole chicken or turkey. handy little gadget.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:09 PM   #11
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7 That's why you are directed to let meat rest after it's cooked before cutting into it. It gives the meat a chance to relax and re-absorb its juices.
7.
I never understood this theory. If the meat re-absorbs its juices, where do they(these wayward juices) go that makes the need to be re-absorbed? They don't leave the meat. So? hmmmmm?
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:20 PM   #12
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I never understood this theory. If the meat re-absorbs its juices, where do they(these wayward juices) go that makes the need to be re-absorbed? They don't leave the meat. So? hmmmmm?
Found this online, hope it helps explain....

Letting Meat Rest After Cooking - The Virtual Weber Bullet
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:27 PM   #13
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Found this online, hope it helps explain....

Letting Meat Rest After Cooking - The Virtual Weber Bullet
Thanks for that. I see a bit of a contradiction in the first paragraph where it says that heating drives the moisture to the centre of the meat and then it goes on to say that continuing cooking will squeeze all of the moisture out of the meat. At what point does the moisture reverse and gravitate out of the meat? I have a theory book I will check to see what it says.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:41 PM   #14
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I never understood this theory. If the meat re-absorbs its juices, where do they(these wayward juices) go that makes the need to be re-absorbed? They don't leave the meat. So? hmmmmm?

Heat causes proteins to contract. This causes juices within the meat cells to be "squeezed" out of the cells. Therefore, when you cut into hot meat, those squeezed out juices run off and are lost forever.

However, if you let the meat rest, the contracted protein cells relax and reabsorb those juices. This results in a juicier piece of meat.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:03 PM   #15
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Those juices aren't lost forever on my plate... that's what a nice piece of garlic bread is for
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:45 PM   #16
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Those juices aren't lost forever on my plate... that's what a nice piece of garlic bread is for

That will make up for the dry meat left behind.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:45 PM   #17
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Great article!! I never understood why meat needed to rest! Thank you so much! I knew juices reabsorbed during braising, but this just never occurred to me for some reason...
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:46 PM   #18
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That will make up for the dry meat left behind.
Agreed.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:52 PM   #19
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I have to laugh ... I have a very good meat thermometer, but still always cut and look.

THAT SAID, I cut a piece of meat I'm going to eat myself, so my guests and husband get the "pretty" pieces.

I don't worry much when it is beef, if someone doesn't want it rare, I simply take, slice, and cook some more. But with poultry and pork I'm more careful, and simply sample my own serving.
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:38 PM   #20
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If you are afraid your thermometer isn't accurate, put it in a glass of ice water (make sure you give it time for the water to become a uniform temperature) and it should read 32 F, or 0 C. If it doesn't, most thermometers can be calibrated by turning a bolt at the thermometer's base.
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