It may sound silly to others, but for some people, undercooked chicken is a serious concern. After all, undercooked chicken can make you very ill, and it’s also a texture nightmare. Some even put up with dry, overcooked chicken because they’re afraid to undercook it. If you’re tired of this poultry nightmare, here’s how to tell if your chicken is ready.
Check With a Meat Thermometer
You may have relied on a meat thermometer before, only to have the same issue of undercooked chicken. However, using the thermometer correctly is critical. Make sure the thermometer isn’t touching a bone in any way, as bone is a heat conductor and will give you a false reading. Additionally, the thermometer should go into the thickest part of the meat; once it reads 165℉, the chicken is safe to eat. And because you checked it at the thickest part, the rest will be ready as well.
Check the Size
While the outside of your chicken may be a lovely brown, the inside could still be undercooked. Instead of observing the color, monitor the overall size of the pieces. When meat cooks, it loses its moisture content and shrinks in size. If the chicken hasn’t changed size, it still needs time to cook.
Look at the Color of the Juices
This method is controversial, as it involves letting some of the moisture run out of the meat. This moisture runoff is one of the reasons why chicken and other lean meats dry out. However, if you still aren’t absolutely sure that your chicken is ready, you can use a knife to see the color of the liquid that comes out. If it’s clear, you’ve fully cooked the chicken. If it’s pinkish, it likely needs more time.
Ultimately, the best way to tell if you have fully cooked your chicken is to correctly use a thermometer, but sometimes this isn’t enough to quell the fear. Don’t be afraid to check and recheck the chicken if you need to. If its internal temperature is 165℉, you’ll be just fine.