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Roast chicken had pool of bloody liquid inside

I tried the Thomas Keller way of roasting chicken last night (trussed, salt and pepper), used a probe thermometer, and cooked at 425 until the thigh reached 160 degrees.

Was quite pleased with the way it turned out as I sliced off the legs, but as I went to slice off the breast, I realized the cavity of the chicken had a pool of red-tinted liquid. As I went to cut into the thigh, I realized it was just a TAD undercooked (by just a few minutes).

Is it normal for a trussed whole chicken to accumulate bloody juices like that? Even if the chicken was not undercooked, that liquid would not have gone anywhere. It's a bit disturbing to think I might be contaminating my perfectly cooked chicken with bloody liquid.

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  1. It's not going to be contaminated, the liquid is hot enough to kill off bacteria.

    1. This focuses on the red appearance near bones in cooked chicken, but I think the issues are similar
      You do not have actual blood, but heme rich meat juices that have not gotten hot enough to turn the red to brown or clear.

      Roasting the bird upright (beercan chicken) would let juices drain out.

      An interesting experiment would be to drain those juices into a small bowl, and heat them in the microwave or on the stove. Do they change color as they get hot?

      1. There is very little blood left in a chicken after processing. There was another thread on this subject not long ago, in which someone explained the origin of the liquid. In that case, it was a type of chicken which is larger than normal, so the effect may be more pronounced in larger birds. What was the weight of yours?


        By the way, the Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends 165°.

        1. I made the same chicken last night (pic posted in What's For Dinner #131). Although I cooked mine @ 450 for 60 minutes (4.25 lbs chicken).

          I do know of the pool of liquid that ends up in the cavity you are referring to, but it shouldn't pose any problems. Usually about after 3/4 of cooking, I'll pick up the bird by the tail and tip the juices into the vegetables underneath. Sometimes it's in there, sometimes it's not...but no worries.

          1. This unslightly liquid happens in my best chicken recipe quite frequently- Roast Chicken (lemon, salt and garlic) from Hodgeman's 'Beat This!' Cookbook.

            I just upend the whole bird and tip out the liquid into the already collected lemony/garlicky pan juices before my husband or other squeamish guests (related to my husband) see it.

            The juices are boiled and reduced slightly, sometimes with the additional sanitizing effect of alcohol (aka a slug of white wine).Those juices are heaven over mashed potatoes.

            Haven'ty killed any of the family yet!

            1. Thanks everyone! I feel a lot less iffy about eating my chicken now.

              It was quite a big bird. Probably 4.5-5 pounds. It was in the oven for 1.5 hours at 425. Trussing the chicken probably also contributed to the puddle since the tail was lifted higher.

              I have a second chicken to roast (WinCo just opened and they were on sale for $0.68/pound), so I'll try it again and wait until it gets to 165-degrees this time. I'll also pour off the juice and keep cooking it so I can see how the color changes. I assume it just goes from reddish to brownish.

              Oh, I also noticed there was absolutely no browning/crisping of the underside or lower sides of the chicken. The top and most of the sides were nicely browned and crispy. I can't figure out why this might be. I roasted in a lasagna pan with veggies underneath, so maybe the tall edges prevented heat from getting to the sides. Would just using a stainless steel frying pan allow for a bit more even browning?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ah6tyfour

                If you had veggies under the bird then the steam from them would prevent the bird from browning underneath. A rack (or not) instead of veggies would help browning as would the vertical technique mentioned here. It's also pretty likely that the chicken you bought from WinCo was injected with brine - I think those can give off the extra liquid that can steam the chicken a little more in the pan and keep it from browning on the bottom.

              2. This is why you should never, ever truss a bird. You want heat to get inside the cavity, and trussing prevents this. Trussing actually makes a bird cook *less* evenly, despite the conventional wisdom.

                Best is to use a vertical roaster, like Beer Can Chicken but without the beer, which is useless. But if you can't do this, do what the others suggested above and pour out the juices periodically.

                1. Beard advised to truss a roasting chicken, and also advised turning it so that each side, then the breast, is up for a time. I'll go with Beard (and Keller) on trussing.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: GH1618

                    Another approach to roasting a whole bird - butterfly it. Then all the skin is up, and there is no cavity to collect juices.

                    1. re: paulj

                      That seems interesting! But would it cook evenly throughout? I feel like some areas would get really dry as other parts are still rare.

                      1. re: ah6tyfour

                        I find that a butterflied chicken cooks more evenly than a whole bird, and of course you get all of the skin crispy. It's my favorite way to cook a bird (including turkey).