When thinking of easy and delicious meals to cook for the family, dishes that include chicken are pretty high on the list. You can bake it, grill it, pan-fry it, and deep fry it. What’s not to love? You may think that all chicken is created equal and that this meat is simple to prepare without a thought. While chicken certainly can be a quick and easy meal, there are a few things you need to know before diving in the deep end. When it comes to chicken, there’s more than “meats” the eye. (Get it?) Check out our list below for some tips and tricks to make sure you are getting the most out of your chicken!
Picking The Right Kind Of Chicken
A lot of people are concerned with the kind of beef they buy, spending time assessing it and inspecting it. The same care should be given to picking out the right chicken as well. For starters, the chicken should be pink all over. The flesh should be firm, but not stiff. Lastly, there should be no blood visible on the chicken.
Only Using Chicken Breasts
Chicken breasts are definitely the most popular choice when it comes to the cut of meat. However, don’t be so quick to overlook other parts of the chicken – especially the thighs! The meat found in chicken thighs is actually much easier to cook, is juicier, and arguably tastier than the meat found in chicken breasts. Find a good recipe and give it a try!
It might seem like second nature to wash your chicken, however, if you are trying to avoid food poisoning (and really, who isn’t), then you should skip over washing the chicken. The water can splash up to a foot away, which leaves the contamination squarely on your counter space or other dishes, therefore contaminating the area. If you’re worried about the chicken itself, rest easy knowing that the cooking process will take away any bacteria.
Defrosting Chicken Out On The Counter
Back in the day, it was totally normal to throw frozen meat out on the counter and let it defrost all day before using it for dinner. However, now we know how dangerous that practice really is! When raw meat gets above 40 degrees, the bacteria on the surface doubles (and doubles, and doubles). Instead of leaving it out on the counter, you can leave it in the fridge, or even dethaw the chicken in cold water.
Removing The Skin
You may be tempted to remove the skin from the chicken before you cook it, but that would be a huge mistake! Not only does the skin absorb seasoning better, it also helps keep the mean tender and juicy! Plus, who doesn’t love crispy, seasoned, chicken skin? It’s a win-win!
The Biggest Mistakes When Cooking Steak
Who doesn’t love a good steak? Juicy, tender steak with just a hint of charbroiled flavor on the outside… We’re hungry just thinking about it! However, if you’ve ever prepared steak before, you’ve probably realized that this meat can be a bit temperamental. It’s easy to overcook, undercook, over season, under season, or just plain mess it up. No more! We have a very helpful video below on what to do – and what not to do when cooking steak!
Picking The Right Kind Of Steak
First, you’ll want to be aware of the cut and grade of steak. Most people go for the expensive cuts – porterhouse, T-bone, sirloin, etc., but you can get just as tasty and savory steak from some of the cheaper cuts if you know how to cook it right!
The grades of steak are as follows – prime, choice, and select. You’ll want to stick with either prime or choice meats, as the select grade cuts are barely better than prepackaged lunch meat. Another thing to consider when picking out your meat is the marbling. Believe it or not, the fat in a steak actually makes it tastier! So don’t shy away from cuts with a little extra junk in the trunk.
Another pro-tip is to not wash your steak. Really, you shouldn’t be washing any meat, as the water only serves to splash the bacteria all over your kitchen. Plus, the water on your steak interferes with the cooking process – the meat should cook at around 300 degrees, but with water on the outside of the steak, the cooking temperature remains at around 180 until the water is burned off.
Go ahead and watch the videos below for plenty of other tips and tricks for cooking these two popular meats.