All The Tips You Need to Make Your Chicken Recipes Extra Delicious
Master the chicken.
Chicken has to be one of the most universally loved meats. It has a neutral flavor that makes it so versatile, and by nature, it's really quick to cook. That's why it's so important to learn about the chicken because we're sure that chicken will always be part of your life. Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the chicken will always have that special place in your meals.
Here's all you need to know:
1 Brine your birds.
Ever wondered how fast food chains and roast chicken stalls get that incredibly juicy chicken? The secret is using a brine! Brining allows for moisture to come into the chicken and also helps season it more thoroughly so that even the internal part of the chicken isn't bland. The brine is a sugar, salt, and water solution that can also contain aromatics and spices. The meat, submerged in the brine solution and covered, is kept like that for an hour to a maximum of three days in the refrigerator.
The brine, which helps inject moisture into the chicken, also helps protect it from overcooking and getting dried out which can happen when you're double frying.
2 Don't overcook your chicken.
Dry and tough chicken is a sad, sad thing. It often happens when cooking chicken breast or whole chickens. For chicken breasts, it needs to be taken off the heat as soon as it's cooked through. It's so lean that there's no fat to protect it from drying out.
For a whole chicken, brine and then use a meat thermometer to accurately check when it's cooked to perfection. With a meat thermometer, you won't have to do any guesswork about whether or not the center is already cooked.
3 Dark meat is king.
During the life of the chicken, chicken legs and thighs are the parts most used. This makes for redder and more flavorful meat that is harder to overcook. When cooking fillets, dark meat is the best option. This makes the thigh part the most looked-for part in almost any chicken dish.
4 Remove that "stink."
Does your chicken have a "lansa" or smell? If it's too much, throw it out. Fish or chicken naturally acquire this smell with time. If the smell is just a little, marinate your chicken in milk for 30 minutes, then wash off the milk with water. Another step is to rub calamansi or lemon halves to freshen it up.
This works the same way it does with fish. The fat molecules of milk dissolve the compounds that give the chicken an unpleasant smell. By washing off the milk with running water, the smell washes off away as well.
5 Marinate that chicken.
A rookie mistake is to only season chicken once. This way, you only get one part seasoned, such as the skin, while everything remains bland. With all dishes, it's a good idea to season little by little with each step to build flavor. To add even more flavor, use a good, acidic marinade which will also tenderize your chicken.
Remember though, that when using an acidic marinade, you should not over marinade. Over marinating can result in breaking down the proteins too much, leading to mushy chicken. If using buttermilk, you can marinate for longer because of the weak acidity.
These are the general marinating times for chicken: whole birds can go from four hours to 12. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts go or half an hour to two hours. With the skin on, it can be one to two hours.
6 Keep the skin on.
When we think of chicken skin, we think it's excess and sometimes, sadly, we even cut it out. There's a reason, though, to keep it there. Skin's fat protects the meat from overcooking and more importantly, it's a good source of flavor! Now, you have an excuse to keep that skin on. `
7 Transform the leftovers.
Don't ever throw away leftover chicken! There are just so many ways to transform it. Even if you overcook your chicken, there's a way to rescue it. That's the beauty of chicken! It's an easy-to-use and versatile protein.
7 Spice it up.
Chicken's hearty, neutral flavor makes it perfect for carrying the different, complex notes of spices. You can incorporate spices during the marinating, brining, coating, and the breading process. You can use dried spices and herbs, but also instant spice mixes like taco powder, sinigang mix, or pesto mix. This will radically change your basic chicken recipes.
Check out our Cajun-spiced and Indian-spiced chicken recipes that will give you an idea of how different a spiced chicken can be. It'll change your world.
8 Become inspired.
When you cook a lot, one of the biggest challenges you'll face is simply keeping inspired. If you've grown comfortable with your chicken recipes, it's time to step out a little. Check out how different cultures do their chicken and you can apply it your recipes, too. Try out the recipes, or maybe try new techniques or ingredients that will breathe new life to your love of chicken.
9 Pound that chicken.
Rubbery chicken is the worst. Avoid that through not overcooking your chicken, and by tenderizing it. As mentioned earlier, you can tenderize it with a marinade, but you can also physically tenderize it by pounding it thinly. You can use this method for boneless cuts of chicken. You can use a meat mallet or a heavy rolling pin.
Mastering cooking chicken is a kitchen skill you'll need your whole life. It's a great ingredient that can be used in so many ways. Why limit yourself to the recipes you've been making your whole life? Branch out and discover the many more ways it can be made delicious.