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Feb 13, 2009 12:39 PM

Do you enjoy rare-to-medium poultry?

I've been having a discussion with friends about how Jacques Pepin disagreed with Tom Colicchio on this week's "Top Chef" about whether one of the cheftestants overcooked her squab. Tom wanted it very much pinkish-rare, while Jacques and Lidia Bastianich both said they preferred it cooked a bit further -- something Colicchio chalked up to "generational differences."

Well, I'm definitely on the younger side myself, but the thought of any medium-rare poultry is very unappetizing to me, even with duck breast. I find the texture of uncooked bird unpleasantly gummy, even with a leaner cut. I've had chicken sashimi (made from breast meat), and did not enjoy it at all. It tasted very much like raw chicken smells, which ain't my cuppa.

I wonder if that's my American phobia of raw chicken influencing my taste. After all, we're taught in this country to treat raw poultry like radioactive anthrax dipped in snake venom. But I simply can't get down with pink in my bird. Am I alone?

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  1. All yard birds in my house are cooked to 165 degrees in the thigh. No bloody chicken here.

    1. I wouldn't say pinkish, but I like my chicken rosy. Everything that could possibly harm you bug-wise is very dead by 160 degrees, and at that temperature poultry can still have a smooth succulent texture. Above that, and the muscle fibers start to tighten up and separate into a dry stringy mess. Even 160 degrees is overkill, since you can pasteurize milk at 145 degrees for 30 minutes, or 160 degrees for 15 seconds. Obviously as you cook meat, it sits at whatever the final temperature is for more than 15 seconds, so 10 minutes in the 155 range is certainly adequate.

      1. Absolutely not. I cannot abide chicken that is not cooked all the way through. I even dislike the flavor and texture of brined poultry--even though it's cooked through, its juiciness is offputting.

        Then again, I loathe touching raw chicken and treat it as if it's plutonium.

        1. Duck I love medium rare (at least the breasts), chicken no.

          4 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom

            I'm not sure about medium rare with chicken, but, I've now eaten somewhat rosy chicken in my husband's roast chickens, and it is both moist and delicious, and I've not died yet. And, I say this having had a very unpleasant FP experience as a direct result of undercooked chicken.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I don't mind rosy but cooked. And absolutely, 165 is overkill. Unfortunately, when I'm cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, my dad refuses to touch it unless the breast is at 169. ::sigh::

              But there's a HUGE difference between rosy and uncooked. I'm referring to part of the flesh not being denatured, as in having its cellular structure altered by heat. It's night and day -- and I'm afraid of the night!

              1. re: dmd_kc

                I'd never thought of the word "denatured" but, yes, I draw the line at that as well!

                1. re: dmd_kc

                  ""But there's a HUGE difference between rosy and uncooked""

                  I too cook chicken breast where there is a very slight pinkish/rosy hue. It is cooked all the way through so there is no uncooked flesh but it's not overcooked. Beyond that it goes very quickly from white through out and over cooked.

            2. Chicken I want cooked through. Other flying stuff I'm happy to eat medium rare ( and prefer it for duck & pigeon)

              1 Reply