To wash or not to wash - for a fresh, organic chicken from the butcher counter, do I need to wash it? Julia Child tells me I don't have to, but I suspect this may be outdated advice. If I do, am I just rinsing it in water and then drying it?
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Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
I do not wash. If you do, most people rinse and then pat dry with paper towels.
The only reason you would have to rinse a chicken is: 1) it is a bit old and smells dodgy; 2) you just killed and plucked it; 3) you dropped it on the floor and you broken the 5 second rule . . . another words, organic or not, you do not need to rinse it. Cooking it properly will kill all pathogens. But you may need to pat it dry if it was in a Cryovac bag and it a bit wet before you work with it.
The USDA used to direct consumers to wash chicken. That has changed, however. They now tell you it is unnecessary and increases your risk of cross-contamination because as you wash it, the water hitting it is usually splashing chicken juices and possible bacteria around the sink and counter.
I do usually like to wash chicken if it is whole because I like to dig out and rinse off pieces of kidney that remain near the backbone. It muddies the juices.
Just when you think you know what you are doing, you read something else, and someone found something to disprove what was thought to be true. I used to read that you needed to wash chicken. Rinse off would probably be the better description. Recently I read that, now, "they" say that rinsing spreads whatever it was that you were trying to rinse off. (Don't you ever wonder, "Who are they anyhow?" I think that you can find evidence to support whatever it is that you are thinking, or that you believe in, as well as evidence that you are completely wrong, and the opposite is true.
Count me in the "no wash" camp. It just doesn't seem neccessary, and seems more logical that, if, IF, in the off chance the surface is contaminated, washing/rinsing will just spread the crud around.
To get a nice, brown, crispy skin, though.....dry thoroughly. Paper towels, of course. Unless you like doing a lot of laundry with bleach, :-)
I just find it easier to get the last feather remnants off with some water...
I once heard Jacques Pépin said that he doesn't rinse his chickens because
1. It dilutes the flavor
2. cooking will kill pathogens
I personally rarely rinse off my chickens unless brining or removing nasty bits (not often at all) I'm too lazy to dry it out with paper towels.
Kind of a follow up, but does anyone here bother to singe their whole chickens? I don't usually bother anymore, but here in South Africa the chickens are usually pretty young and not terribly hairy...
(And the creamiest, too.)
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