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Feb 10, 2010 04:54 PM

Blood running out of properly cooked chicken?

I just got some seasoned chicken leg quarters from the grocery store to cook for dinner. I baked them at 375 for 30 minutes. At this time I took the temperature from the largest of the thighs: 157. Curiously, I poked the rest of the quarters and the last one started pouring out blood! Even though it tested at 162 I've grown up with the mantra "until the juices run clear" so I put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

While they were cooking longer I decided to test my thermometer's calibration. In boiling water it registered 211.7 and in ice water I got it down to 36. No problems with the thermometer!

Finally I pulled them out and tested them again. The largest was 164 and the small bloody one 170ish. These were tested in multiple spots at multiple angles, trying to be mindful of bone. Scared of over done chicken more than food poisoning, I called it quits and picked the large, non bloody one... I bit into the thigh,,,, and out pours bright red blood!

Is this normal and safe? They were all cooked to over the recommended temperature.

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  1. No, it's not safe to eat. The chicken should not be bloody, at all...Sometimes with the leg quarters, they may be extremely large and will definitely take more than 30 minutes. I cook mine for one hour..some may argue about that but I like my chicken cooked...

    1. The store may have incompletely defrosted the chicken prior to seasoning and repackaging it, but that still doesn't explain what you describe as blood. Reddish juices would be understandable. How long were they in the oven for the second time? The total should have been at least 45 minutes, depending on the weight of the leg quarters.

      1. Yeah, I guess red juices would probably be a more accurate term to describe it.

        I went back to take a second look at the chicken. The small one still was at 145. Opened it up and all the red was gone! Guess it just needed a little "carryover" cooking time. The first one's meat was fully cooked despite the red.

        Total cooking time was 35 minutes. I still can't reconcile in my mind the deep red at 170 though if we're told to cook it to 160.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lixer

          I am not one of these people who thinks it is appetizing, or even okay, to have pink or red juices in poultry. It just kills the appeal for me, as I cannot get over the idea that it is not cooked enough. I also prefer dark meat, so cooking it longer is quite acceptable. Personally, I don't care what my expensive DIRT tells me, if the juice is red or pink, it is going back in for more cook time.

        2. I'm going to assume these leg quarters were pretty plump and not tiny "fryer" parts.

          I'd have gone 400 (I know, not much difference) for at least 45. I know that perfectly cooked, juicy chicken is a delight and that it dries out very quickly when done. But just from my experience you need the extra 15 minutes and 25 degrees.

          That being said, if they're small chicken pieces you gave 'em plenty of time. It's possible that the core of each chicken part was indeed frozen, and that's where the ruddy blood's coming from, near the bone.

          I have, over the years, encountered maybe a dozen chickens that bled a vivid red juice even though they'd been cooked thoroughly. It's gross and I can't tell you why it happened. A chef friend said it might be some chemical that they feed to the chickens, or something they process the parts with, that has the effect that curing salt does on red meat, keeping the blood in the chicken red. I'm not sure about that.