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2.2.2: Cooking Poultry

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    Cooking Methods:

    Poultry can be cooked in many ways but the main dry and wet methods are detailed below:

    • Roasting/Baking: this method requires that the poultry (whole or in pieces) be placed in a roasting pan. If the bird is whole, it can be placed breast up in order for juices to collect in the pan or breast down in order for the breast to be cooked in the juice and will lead to juicier breast meat. Another method is to use a V rack to elevate the bird away from the juices (rotisserie). To prep the bird, the cavity can be seasoned and coating the surface with butter or temperature appropriate oil will prevent sticking and the surface drying out. Butter will add flavor while oil does not. The pan drippings can then be used a gravy or sauce. If a bird is stuffed, add 5 extra minutes to the cooking time. Check the table bellow for exact times per poundage.
      • Trussing: this method is used mostly on turkeys or any birds that may require more time to prepare. The metal clips that normally hold the legs of the bird are removed before baking, the wings are tucked under the back (this is done to avoid overcooking or burning), a butcher string is used (measure 3 times the the length of bird) to wrap around the legs and the ends are then brought over to the breastbone. the bird is then turned over to allow the strings to go under the wings and over the neck. The video bellow shows the exact steps on how to truss a bird.


      • Basting: This step is needed to avoid drying out the bird as it cooks. Basting can be done using a wide spoon or brush or a baster to pour the liquid and drippings over the bird as it cooks. If the sauce used contains sugar (barbeque or honey glaze), there will be more browning. It is important to note that duck and goose do not need to basted due to their high fat content. 
      • Stuffing vs Dressing: Stuffing is anything that is placed in the cavity of the bird to absorb the juices as it cooks. Dressing is only different in that it is cooked separately from the bird and is generally served as a side dish. Both stuffing and dressing start with a base of stale bread and a mix of mirepoix.
    • Broiling: this method is mostly used on portioned out pieces of a bird (wings, thigh, breast, etc) unless the bird is being cooked on a spit over hot coals. To prep the meat, use a marinade to add some flavor and moisture (done under refrigeration) and place the pieces skin side up on a broiling pan. The pan should be place in the oven 6 inches away from the heat source. If a sugary sauce is being used, ensure that it is only added towards the last 15 minutes of the cook time to avoid burning. The table bellow shows exact cook times per pound.
    • Grilling: similar to broiling in that a whole bird should not be grilled unless a spit is being used. A marinade is also Recommended when grilling to prep the chicken. Once prepped, the pieces should be placed skin side down. If a sugary sauce is being used, ensure that it is only added towards the last 15 minutes of the cook time to avoid burning. The table bellow shows exact cook times per pound.
    • Frying: smaller pieces of poultry can be fried in the following ways:
      • Pan-Fry: poultry can be breaded in this step to add texture and keep in moisture and flavor. Poultry needs about 1/4 inches of fat/oil (appropriate smoke point). If breading is not used, the bird should be fried skin side down first and then can be flipped over using kitchen tongs.
      • Deep Fry: this step requires poultry to be breaded, floured, or battered in order to be fully submerged in hot oil (325 F - 350 F).
        • steps of breading: *Always assign a wet and dry hand when breading to avoid breading your hands and fingers and making the process more difficult.*
      • Tools: Using tongs to flip/turn avoids puncturing a hole and leaking juices.
    1. Dredge: This can be done using flour or starch and is vital in helping the moistening agent stick. Roll the food in the dredge to thinly coat and allow excess to fall away.
    2. Moisten: this is commonly done using egg wash (eggs + milk/water) but other things like mustard can also be used incase of an allergy. This step provides the adhesive for the breading to stick to the food being fried. Roll the food in the moistening agent being used and allow excess to drip off.
    3. Breadcrumbs or Panko: This is what gives fried food it's texture and flavor. Press the food into the breading and coat evenly. It is Recommended to place breaded foods in the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes before frying to allow the breading to fully stick.
    • Braising: this method is mainly used on birds that are older or tougher because it requires the meat to be cooked very slowly over a longer period of time in a liquid or brine of some sort to allow the collagen and other proteins to break down. To do this, the bird can be cut into smaller segments and then browned in a pan to add and retain flavor. Then the liquid is added along with any desired flavorings and the pan is covered and allowed to simmer until the meat is tender.    
    Table 1. Chicken Roasting Time (Oven temp set to 325 F)
    Weight Cook Time Per Pound Total Cook Time
    1-2 lb 30-40 min 30-80 min
    2-3 lb 30-40 min 60-120 min
    3-4 lb 30-40 min 90-100 min
    4-10 lb 30-40 min -
    10-14 lb Approx. 20 min -
    14-20 lb Approx. 18 min -
    20-30 Approx. 15 min -

     ***DO NOT use to determine doneness***

    Cook Time For Cook Method
    Oven Pressure Cook Deep Fry Boil
    90-120 min 40 min 25 min 90 min


    *Always take the internal temperature to determine if your poultry is safe to remove from heat (165 F)! 



    -Understanding Food

    2.2.2: Cooking Poultry is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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