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Unread 01-16-2013, 09:49 AM   #1
chad
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Default The effect of low & slow on chicken

Interesting article from America's Test Kitchen. Not totally related to que but a nice discussion on how meat reacts to heat with relation to time.

http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.c...braising-meat/

"As chicken thighs simmer in liquid, two things happen: At 105 degrees, muscle fibers begin to contract and expel moisture. But at 140 degrees, the tough connective tissue begins to slowly break down into soft, rich gelatin, mitigating the loss of moisture and the shrinking of muscle proteins. Still, there’s a limit to this effect. Once the braised thighs go much beyond 195 degrees, no amount of gelatin can make them seem moist. The key is to keep the chicken above 140 degrees but below 195 degrees for as long as necessary to fully tenderize it."
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Unread 01-16-2013, 10:49 AM   #2
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So if I'm reading that correctly, they're taking their thighs to an IT of 195 in that experiment?
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Unread 01-16-2013, 10:52 AM   #3
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Cool! Interesting read. Thanks
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
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So if I'm reading that correctly, they're taking their thighs to an IT of 195 in that experiment?
Yes, but I don't think they're leaving them on the heat source till they reach 195 every time. Sounds like some, especially the ones at higher temps, are pulled early and reach 195 while resting.

Based on this article, to achieve optimal tenderness we should:
1. get the chicken to 140 internal temp ASAP
2. then lengthen out your cook as you go from 140 to final temp

Is that correct?
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:30 PM   #5
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This is from TEST kitchen...they test until failure...ie. 195 it dries out. They are not implying cook until 195 internal. What they say is get to 140 and then go as slowly as possible to the finished (poultry is usually 165ish). In the pork world this is the "stall" around 150 that drives everyone nuts...this is where the magic happens as the collagen and fat breaks down.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:35 PM   #6
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That's interesting that they tried it at 200, 325, and 400. And 325 is the ticket.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viggysmalls View Post
Based on this article, to achieve optimal tenderness we should:
1. get the chicken to 140 internal temp ASAP
2. then lengthen out your cook as you go from 140 to final temp

Is that correct?
I did a couple turkeys over the holidays following Alton Brown's recommendation.
  1. Half an hour at 500º (Breast was about 90º)
  2. Tent the breast and reduce to 350º (Breast hit 140º an hour later.)
  3. remove and rest when the breast hits 161º (2:18 from meat on Weber.)
This was an 18 lb bird.

It seemed to produce good results. One bird was brined and the other was factory injected (Butterball.)
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Unread 01-16-2013, 03:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrn View Post
That's interesting that they tried it at 200, 325, and 400. And 325 is the ticket.
Well, not entirely. Here's what they said, "The best compromise was the 325-degree oven, which produced chicken nearly as moist and tender as the 200-degree oven but in just half the time."

In laymen terms: 200 degrees is the best temperature, but since it takes such a long time to finish cooking, running at 325 saves time and is ALMOST as tender as chicken cooked at the lower temp.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 04:43 PM   #9
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Good information. I for one think too low and slow on chicken and it starts drying out. I like chicken cooked a little hotter 300 or 325. As long as there is not too much sugar in the liquid.

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Unread 01-16-2013, 08:53 PM   #10
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How would still get that bite through skin at the low temps?
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Unread 01-17-2013, 01:58 AM   #11
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How would still get that bite through skin at the low temps?
My experience with low and slow on chicken is this. At 250 for 4 hrs leg quarters are nice, tender, and juicy. Skin is pretty much a chew toy.

The way I now like to BBq chicks now is at 325. I use a chargriller smoker pro without side smoker. I put a webber chimney of coals with a chunk of maple for smoke. I get the grilling surface over the coals nice and hot to sear the chicken on each side for about 3 minutes. Then I move them away from the heat and et them cook indirect for about an hour at 325-350. Only mop on my marinade every thirty minutes which would be once during the searing process, and twice more during the indirect cooking process.

How do they come out? Well skin is more crisp but bite threw, and the meat is juicy tender. Maybe not assss Juicy as low and slow at 225-250 but juicy and tender enough.
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Unread 01-17-2013, 04:20 AM   #12
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Sous vide cooking suggests a couple of hours at 140-145F to produce moist & pasteurised product so why would you want to cook its internal temperature any higher as you would be losing moisture (and tenderness)!!!!!
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Unread 01-17-2013, 07:49 AM   #13
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JohnHB, some connective tissue doesn't breakdown completely at that temp so a higher temp can be necessary to achieve that effect.

Also the 165* number comes from the USDA identifying that temp as the instant kill temp for bacteria. You don't have to cook that high, but you do have to be very careful if you want to avoid getting sick. (And no I will not take responsibility if someone does get sick. You are responsible for yourself.)

Personally I love my thighs going up towards 180-185 cooked around 325. Aaannnnndddd now I'm hungry.


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Unread 01-17-2013, 08:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggspert View Post
Good information. I for one think too low and slow on chicken and it starts drying out. I like chicken cooked a little hotter 300 or 325. As long as there is not too much sugar in the liquid.

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Thats what I found. I tried to low-n-slow some chicken breasts once, and it was like smokey sawdust
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Unread 01-17-2013, 08:17 AM   #15
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You have to remember that they are talking about low and slow braising, not just cooking/smoking. That probably makes a big difference.
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