Are you fed up with stringy and dry chicken breast? There is absolutely no reason for your chicken breast to be bland and tasteless. It can have a level of juiciness only found in pork chops if it is cooked correctly.
Everyone will want to eat this kind of perfectly cooked chicken. The taste will be amazing, and it is a healthy way to eat. So just how do you achieve tender, tasty and juicy chicken breast? The answer is chicken sous vide.
Why Is Sous Vide Chicken So Much Better?
It is all about temperature control, and sous vide is the king of temperature controlled cooking. You just can’t get the same results using conventional methods of cooking. It is very easy to cook chicken breast with suvee cooking, so why cook it in any other way?
The truth is that you can cook chicken easily enough using conventional methods so why bother with sous vide? The reason is that you can experience very tender, juicy and very tasty chicken that just melts in your mouth. High heat stove cooking just cannot produce the same texture and taste as suvee cooking.
When you cook on a stove, your chicken will be cooked from the outside first and then the heat will migrate to the center. This means that is becomes quite a challenge to know if the center of your chicken is cooked at the right temperature. If your chicken is not cooked enough in the center, then is can be dangerous to eat it.
With this safety in mind, the temptation is to cook the edges of the chicken too much, and this results in a dry and stringy texture. This is not a problem with sous vide cooking, as your chicken will be cooked evenly throughout. Your sous vide cooker will ensure that heat is evenly applied across the whole breast.
What You Need To Know About Cooking Chicken Safely
For generations now, the safe cooking of chicken has been recommended at 165°F. The thing is that previous generations did not have access to the modern cooking equipment that we do, and approaches to food safety have radically changed. These advances have enabled us to cook chicken safely at lower temperatures, and enjoy more tender and juicy chicken.
You may have read that it is not a good idea to cook chicken at between 40-140°F, because bacteria are supposed to flourish at these temperatures. There are also warnings about eating chicken that has been cooked at these temperatures for a total cooking time of four hours.
The real truth is that safe cooking standards have been made simple, so that they are easily understood by all, and this means that they are far from accurate. Bacteria are complex, and they don’t easily comply with these rules. The truthful lowdown on safe food cooking is that it is a matter of the right cooking temperature and time.
Pasteurization time is the important factor here. Salmonella in chicken is reduced by a combination of the temperature it is cooked at and the time to cook. At 165°F the required reduction levels are instant. Cooked at 136°F the same levels of safe salmonella reduction will be achieved in around 69 minutes.
So is cooking chicken sous vide safe? If you cook at the temperature ranges and times recommended in this article then absolutely yes. It will reduce the bacteria levels in accordance with strict government rules, and it will taste great too.
The Temperature That You Cook At Will Affect Juiciness And Texture
The reason that stove or oven cooked chicken is often dry is because it has been cooked at too high a temperature. If you cook your chicken at below 138°F you will hardly lose any juice. At 140°F there will be quite a lot of juice lost and cooked between 140°F and 149°F you will lose even more.
The thing is that if you cook your chicken sous vide, it will always be a lot juicier than conventional cooking at the same temperature. So the bottom line is that the temperature using suvee cooking is not so important when it comes to juiciness.
What is important is the texture of the chicken. If you were to cook at 155°F sous vide then your chicken would tacky and chalky in texture and be unpleasant to eat. If you want very soft and juicy chicken, then the best sous vide cooking temperature is between 140°F and 145°F. This is perfect if you plan to serve your chicken hot.
For a more traditional look to your chicken you can go for 150°F. There will be a little stringiness here, but the chicken will still be tender and moist. If you want to use the chicken cold in a salad then this is ideal.
If you like your chicken stringy and firm but still juicy, then cook it sous vide at 160°F. The best way to describe this taste is traditional roast chicken that is juicier than you have experienced in the past.
What About Cooking Times?
You may have heard that it is not possible to overcook any kind of meat when you use sous vide. Well this isn’t true. It is a lot harder to do this than it is with conventional cooking, but it is still possible. However, the odds are greatly reduced when you buy sous vide machine.
With chicken, the longer that you cook it sous vide, the softer it becomes because it will break down more. If you overcook your chicken using suvee cooking, you will end up with mush. It is not advisable to cook chicken sous vide for longer than 4 hours to avoid this. Cooking for 2 hours will produce a better result.
Recommended Temperatures And Cooking Times
For chicken that is juicy and soft and you will serve hot cook at 140°F (60°C) for between 1.5 to 4 hours.
Cold chicken for a salad that is juicy and tender cook at 150°F (66°C) for between 1 and 4 hours.
Tender and juicy chicken that is a little stringy that you can serve hot should be cooked at 150°F (66°C) for between 1 and 4 hours.
If you like a traditional flavor to your chicken that is firm, a little string and still juicy, then cook this at 160°F (71°C) for between 1 and 4 hours.
All You Need Is Sous Vide Cooking Equipment And Some Cooking Bags
If you have not purchased a sous vide cooker yet, please read our review of the 6 best sous vide machines so that you can make the right choice.