Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Roast Chicken (with an FDA warning*)

YouTube Link: Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken Breast
More Videos: Helen's Kitchen Channel

Chicken cooked below 165F always raises eyebrows. In case you are worried, here are some points to keep in mind:
  • Salmonella occurs in the digestive tract.  It might get onto the outside of the chicken, but not inside its muscles.  The outside gets very hot.  If you don't think this chicken is safe, you should stop eating runny eggs and definitely stop licking the bowl after making brownies.
  • If you want to feel better about salmonella, buy air-chilled poultry.  When the chickens are chilled in ice water, the disease spreads from chicken to chicken.  When the chickens are chilled with air, the spread of the disease is tremendously reduced.  While I think that air-chilling is a much better procedure and produces tastier chickens, it's not a necessity to make the recipe I describe safe, but might help some people feel psychologically better about this recipe.  
  • Pathogens don't drop dead at 160F while thriving at all the temperatures below.  All pathogens will die after being held at 150F for 10 minutes, at 140F for 30 minutes, and 130F for 1 hour.  You don't want to go below 130F.  120 to 130 is gray area, and 90-120F is pathogens happy growing zone.  Although we remove the chicken at 125F, it quickly shoots up to 150F.  At that temperature, pathogens (even if there are any inside the muscle by some tiny chance) are dying very fast.  
* Consuming raw or under-cooked poultry might increase your risk of food-born pleasure.

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