Chicken not done?
- dan Jun 4, 2003 04:02 PM
I received a question from one of my foodservice directors about chicken that had been cooked properly (165 degrees against the bone). It seems that there was still some pink areas along the bone. By the time I heard about it, the chicken had been cooled down properly and then reheated to 170 degrees and checked again. The same result occurred--the meat was still pink along the bone. I ran through all of the usual questions such as Is your thermometer calibrated? Did you take the temperature in the center of the chicken along the bone? etc.. I just don't have an answer for them. I have actually witnessed this same phenomonon myself in the past. Does anybody have an answer for me?
Normally, you try to avoid having the thermometer touching the bone, which can conduct heat and give a falsely high reading (at least in some places). Normally, one takes the temp in the thickest parts of the meat (inside the thighs and in the breast halves -- I always check 4 places if I haven't rotated the chicken religiously).
Your problem sounds like the chicken was not properly defrosted/thawed. It is very difficult to roast properly if defrosting and thawing are not properly done. Immersion brining seems to help thawing (by de-icing, as it were), btw.
A couple chefs on another list claim this is due to chickens being given hormones so they can be butchered very young. Their bones haven't really matured and the meat stays pink (due to proximity to bone marrow IIRC? - could be wrong) even though the chicken is properly cooked. I have no personal experience with this, but this is what they're saying.
My grandparents ran a poultry ranch when I was growing up, and I've been in the food service business for 25+ years, mostly as a Director, but also in production.
I'm guessing that the pink/red near the bone is mostly in the thigh and leg and not the breast/wing. What you're seeing is the result of the chicken having been frozen at some point after butchering. I used to know the chemical reaction that caused it, but can't remember right now. As long as your chicken has been properly handled and cooked, and reads 165+ on an insta-read/digital style thermometer you're fine.
The problem arises during service. Most guests are put off by the pink/red at the bone and have been conditioned to think that if it's there, something must be wrong with the chicken. We don't even argue with guests on this point, we just replace the entree.
re: christina z
I have gotten very, very sick from eating chicken that was raw at the bone (now just red bone, the meat was raw.) It was a delicious grilled chicken breast marinated in lime juice at a Nicaraguan resto. I stopped eating it when I got to the small raw part at the bone, but it got me anyway.
I reported it to the health dept who confirmed that it was likely food poisioning from the chicken-- it was the right amount of time later, 8 hrs (onset takes 6 to 24 hours) and the symptoms were right. Horrible cramping, vomiting and non-stop diarrhea for an entire day. Violent and incapacating, ( have you ever had to vomit at the same time as you are non-stop shitting?) it will only take one time to change your mind about salmonella.