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Chicken smells bad soon after cooking

Sorry for all of the detail below, but this is unusual so I want to provide a thorough description. Any idea what could be happening?

Yesterday afternoon I baked a big batch of balsamic mustard chicken. A couple of hours after it went in the fridge, I saw the baking trays on the stove, full of the sauce/juice, and realized I should pour that in with the chicken. I took out the snapwares, opened them, and out came a sulphuric odor. If raw chicken smelled like this I would throw it out. It dissipated after a minute, however, and when I smelled the chicken up close, it smelled fine.

I've been making this every week for years, this has never happened before. The chicken came from AmazonFresh and went straight in the fridge on arrival. Our fridge is very cold. It's not a new brand of chicken. The only difference this time is that I asked our nanny to make the marinade (this is her third time making it). She tends to take the chicken out of the fridge about 10 min earlier than I would, but that's it. She also hasn't nailed the immersion blender yet, so the olive oil separates from the rest of the marinade. but I can't imagine that making a difference.

I checked the snapwares again today, and one of them was free of smells, but the other released the same sulphuric smell upon opening. Both smelled fine after a minute and when smelling the chicken up close.

Thanks for reading this far and thanks for any ideas!

asked by Brooklynite 15 days ago

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2 answers 2704 views
05742d15 f143 41f6 9974 460746cef397  a602199a08f4439cf1fc247db4d36021 1
added 15 days ago

Sulfuric smell sounds to me like a rotten egg smell. Chickens infected with Salmonella enterica will release H2S or hydrogen sulfide gas, which has a strong rotten egg smell. H2S can numb your sense of smell after a period of exposure, so being unable to smell it after a period of time is not a reliable way to say that H2S was present only in low concentrations. Raw chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter, and/or Clostridium perfringens. High heat cooking should kill all of these organisms, however, if the organisms were previously present in high populations their byproducts (such as H2S) may still remain and leave off putting smells or tastes in the food.

That said, the strong odors of onions and garlic and the strong taste of mustards are caused by thiols, a sulfur containing molecular group that also makes skunks stinky. It may be less to do with the chicken and more to do with the things that were added to it, especially if the preparation method was different from what was used in the past. However if you had stuck to a typical preparation method and this was not an oniony-garlicky-mustardy-cabbagey smell and more directly a smell of decomposition, it sounds like the meat may have been improperly handled at some point and would be best not consumed.

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23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added 15 days ago

This is really a very interesting question and I have no answer to it. I do sometimes wonder about plastic (I assume snapware is a plastic container). A few years ago I started noticing that anything stored in the freezer in the most common brand of ziplock bags had a noticeable and unpleasant odor. This became such a problem/annoyance for me that I now store nothing in ziplock bags, or even in hard plastic containers, using only glass containers, which is inconvenient, to say the least. Could there be some gas-off from the plastic? That is the only explanation I have been able to come up with regarding my own particular dilemma.

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