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Help - Odd chicken texture

I have been having an issue on and off with the texture of my chicken. The chicken is fully cooked through (I can tell based on internal temp, time in the oven, color of the chicken and juices), but the texture of the chicken is funny, almost like it hasn't been thoroughly cooked. When I cut into the chicken I feel resistance (like you would when butchering raw chicken rather than cutting/carving cooked chicken) and there is a strange almost squeaky mouth feel. This has happened to me with bone in, skin on chicken breasts and also skinless boneless breasts. Usually when this happens to me, there are some pieces of chicken that are fine, but others that are decidedly not. At first, I thought it was a result of cooking frozen chicken that hadn't fully thawed. But last night, this happened when I roasted some never frozen bone in breasts from the fridge. Could this have something to do with how I'm cooking the meat? Or is it a sad byproduct of factory farmed chicken breasts? Has anyone else had this problem?

asked by JessicaHansen 4 months ago
17 answers 1216 views
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cv
added 4 months ago

As for the way you're cooking your meat, that's difficult to comment on since you don't actually mention how you are cooking it. You should cook chicken to 160 degrees internal temperature on a meat thermometer. Assuming you are doing so, your commentary would indicate that your problem is with the ingredient itself.

Look at your chicken very closely. Assuming you are purchasing prepackaged chicken, look at the ingredient list on the package.

These days, many commercial chicken producers are brining their meat which alters the texture substantially.

I find the texture of brined poultry (chicken and turkey) to be utterly repellent, but some people here seem to enjoy it. Brining also increases moisture retention which essentially allows poultry producers to increase package weight with water.

You should consider changing sources, either switch brands or find a store that has a butcher case staffed by people.

Good luck.

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 4 months ago

Also 425F seems a lot too hot for roasting pieces in the oven. I would start it at that temp but then drop it down to 375 and cook more slowly. See if that helps the texture.

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cv
added 4 months ago

Well, I'm an old fogey and I've been cooking chicken for decades (whole and parts) a variety of ways, at a wide range of temperatures, using all sorts of pans, pots, grills, heat sources, etc.

My chicken supply is pretty reliable. I buy A.) whole frozen chickens from farmers market, B.) whole ones or parts from the staffed butcher case at my favorite local grocery store, or C.) parts from the refrigerator case (making sure the parts aren't adulterated).

You don't say where you get your chicken, but like *ALL* ingredients, all chicken is not equal. Choose wisely.

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added 4 months ago

Thanks CV. I know I was vague, but the thing is that this has happened to me with very different cooking methods. It has happened when i have sliced and stir fried boneless skinless chicken breasts and also when I have roasted bone-in skin-on chicken breasts. The only constant is that my chicken is often on the cold side and I tend to cook (particularly on weeknights) with high heat. So stir fry in a very hot wok or griddle and roast in a pretty hot oven (425 or so).

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SMSF

SMSF is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

There is a new-ish problem with some chicken called "woody breast" that seems to fit your description. Read about it here:
http://www.wsj.com/articles...

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added 4 months ago

Interesting. This sounds like what I've run into. The only thing is, that it seems to be occurring around 25% of the time. I have only run into this issue with breast meat. And it has always been in those chicken breasts that look on the larger side of normal to me. The texture really is unpleasant. Also, if I cut the meat at all, I can often guess that I am going to have this issue before I even cook the meat. All in line with what the article says. I guess sourcing is the answer?

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cv
added 4 months ago

That is interesting and it's clear why I have never run into Jessica's problem: I buy smaller birds.

When I buy at my farmers market, I always ask for the smallest one they have; if I'm lucky, it weighs in around 3.5-3.75 pounds. When I buy a whole chicken at the grocery store's staffed butcher case, I always try to get a small one.

This is mostly due to the fact that my meat consumption is quite small, so having a smaller bird fits better with my own eating habits. I also like the way the smaller birds taste and cook up.

Clearly all chicken is not equal as I mentioned earlier.

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HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

What type of chicken are you using? A stewing chicken can be a little tougher, need more slow cooking to tenderize the meat. Roasters can be more tender than stewing hens. If you are cooking free-range chicken, the meat will be a little tougher/chewier.

Side note: we Viets like our chicken on the chewier side and we'll actually pay a little more for that quality.

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pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 4 months ago

Most supermarket chicken today contains a high percentage of water. You can get around that by purchasing air dried chicken. Whole Foods, among others, carries it. Mary's is one brand name.

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BerryBaby

BerryBaby is trusted source on General Cooking

added 3 months ago

I have found soaking the chicken in buttermilk for about a half hour really makes a difference in texture and flavor. Then, dredge it in seasoned flour and shake off the excess. It's not plain roasted but it sure is tasty and the chicken is delicious.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

That squeaky mouth feel sounds like brining. Not a fan myself. Some chickens (e.g., kosher birds, but also some others) are injected with a salt solution, particularly white meat, which is essentially brining. Maybe that's the issue.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

I'm sure you're right, creamtea. And yes, "koshering" is indeed far more involved than just that. It's been many years since I had a kosher bird (at relatives' homes.) I recall them being more salty...but this was back in the land before time, so probably shouldn't have included them.
Kosher aside, the texture of brined white meat (is 'bouncy' the word?) is what puts me off.

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creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Just a small correction, amysarah, and not intended personally, since in the past I've noticed some general misperceptions here about kosher chickens: kosher birds are never actually injected with salt water. The process is detailed and performed with great care. It is designed to remove all traces of blood to make foul or meat fit for consumption ("kosher" means "fit", kosher salt which is coarse and has no additives is intended specifically for this purpose). For those who keep kosher (and eat meat), it is an obligatory process (and of course, is not intended as a brine, marinade or flavor enhancer). Just saying!

At some point in the 80s it became generally fashionable to prepare kosher birds--they were perceived as either healthier or more flavorful (or both).

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added 3 months ago

Yes! I'm not alone! I don't have any explanation, but I've had this unpleasant problem lately too - any cooking method, can kind of tell from looking at it and handling it raw that it's likely to happen. I don't know why, but the wsj article seems in the right direction. Maybe a milder version of the defect is sold rather than pulled from the line or reprocessed?

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added 3 months ago

So glad I'm not out here alone! Thanks for chiming in BakerRB.

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added 3 months ago

Marinading chicken (or any protein) in an acid for too long can make it mushy. I made that mistake with a dish in which the chicken was supposed to marinade for an hour in a mixture based on fresh lemon juice. I figured if an hour was good, all day would be better. Big mistake!

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ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 3 months ago

Sorry I can't help you because I haven't bought chicken in a supermarket for more years than I can remember. I'm guessing that, like cv said, your product has been pre-brined. I also do not care for the texture of brined poultry.