Poultry Tips

Proper Handling: Always wash hands, knife and cutting board thoroughly in hot soapy water after preparing raw poultry.

Never use the same utensils and cutting board for other ingredients without thoroughly washing them first and after use.

Always marinate poultry in the refrigerator.

Do not reuse the marinade for basting purposes.

If the marinade is to be used as the basis for a sauce, bring it to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.

Do not place cooked poultry on the same plate used to transport raw poultry.
Storing Poultry

Fresh poultry is one of the most perishable of foods. As soon as you get it from the grocery store, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the coldest part of your refrigerator up to two days. If you’re unable to use it within that time , place it in a freezer proof bag and freeze up to three months. Freeze giblets and livers separately from the whole bird.

Many cooked poultry dishes can be frozen; casseroles especially freeze well. Avoid freezing poultry dishes that contain either mayonnaise or hard-cooked eggs in them. Let smaller dishes cool completely before wrapping and freezing them; let larger items cool in the refrigerator and then wrap airtight and freeze. Remember to never freeze stuffed poultry.

Thaw The Bird Carefully
It’s important that the turkey or chicken be properly thawed before cooking. The best way is to let it thaw in the refrigerator. Leave it in the original wrapper, place on a tray to catch drippings and refrigerate until the bird thaws. Depending on it’s size, allow two to four days for thawing.

If thawing in the refrigerator isn’t possible due to lack of time, there are two other alternatives. For a more rapid thawing, you can place the poultry in watertight wrapping in cold water. Change water frequently to hasten thawing. Small birds require about 1 hour. Larger birds require 6 to 8 hours. Thaw until pliable.

Or you can leave the bird in its wrapper and place it in a heavy grocery sack, closing the opening. Put the bird on a tray and let it thaw in a cool room away from heat. Check it frequently. Once thawed, the bird should be cooked immediately. Remember to allow enough thawing time, since it will take quite a while for the bird to thaw.

Broiling Poultry
Preheat your broiler. If it’s electric, leave the door ajar when the unit is in operation.

Line the inside of the broiling pan with foil to ease cleanup.

Do not preheat the pan; the poultry will stick to the hot surface. You may also oil the pan to prevent sticking.

Trim excess fat from poultry before broiling since fat can ignite from high heat and adds additional unwanted calories. For the same reason, drain off oil-based marinades and pat meat dry.

Split or halve small birds for even broiling.

Start poultry skin side down to prevent too-rapid browning and to reduce shrinkage, if leaving skin on.

Broil 5 inches from heat, depending on the thickness of the food.

Broiled foods are done when a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the flesh reads 170 F to 175 F, or when the juices run slightly pink, or when the flesh springs back slightly when touched. Approximate broiling times: cut-up pieces of chicken or turkey with bone, 50 to 70 minutes; small whole birds, 25 minutes; halved game hens, 12 to 20 minutes, depending on weight; brochettes, 10 to 15 minutes; boned breasts, 5 to 10 minutes.

Grilling Poultry
Allow 30 minutes for charcoal briquettes to heat to the gray-ash stage. Mesquite charcoal may require 45 minutes. Additional time may be required on cool or windy days. Coals are hot enough when you can hold your hand over the grill for no more than 3 seconds. Clean the grill rack thoroughly before cooking, then brush it with oil and adjust it so that food will be 5 to 6 inches from the heat.

Have a spray bottle filled with water ready to douse grill flare-ups. Use long, wood-handled utensils — tongs, a spatula, and a basting brush — and an asbestos mitt to avoid burning arms and hands.

Poultry should be at room temperature, about 70 F. Trim off excess fat.

To keep poultry moist and juicy, quickly sear it on both sides, then proceed with grilling. To obtain the distinctive diamond grill mark, set the poultry on a hot grill diagonally to the bars, then lift it and set it back on the grill on the opposite diagonal.

Grilled poultry is done with a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part read 170 F to 175 F, or when the juices run just clear when pierced. The flesh should spring back slightly when touched. Approximate grilling times: cut up-up pieces of chicken or turkey with bone, 50 to 70 minutes; small whole birds, 25 minutes; halved game hens, 12 to 20 minutes, depending on weight; brochettes, 10 to 15 minutes; boned breasts, 5 to 10 minutes.

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