All inclusive Chicken cooking strategies, recipes and whatnot **UPDATED** Ok, I'm going to get somethings out of the way right off of the bat. Whenever I mention cooking with oil, I'm always referring to peanut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. You can use any one of those with no problems when cooking near high heat. Many people can get away with olive oil, but I don't like to cook with it as I have seen it burn too easily. Important concepts to understand when cooking When deciding to cook something, no matter what it is, during every step of the procedure think about what you can do to get more flavor out of the ingredients. Using the left over chicken juices to cook your vegetables in. When, where, and how much to season something, hell, even the direction you cut the meat can impact how enjoyable the meal is. The difference between a cook and a chef is the minor details. I cannot make you a chef by having you read this article, but I can hopefully make you think about new flavors and techniques while you are in the kitchen. Food Safety As gay as this sounds, the "Danger Zone" for food is temperatures between 40 - 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Above 140 and below 40 degrees bacteria does not grow and for the most part is killed/put dormant. Nothing that can spoil should be stored in the Danger Zone for more than 4 hours. When you cook some meat and you have left overs, do not put them in a Tupperware bowl, cover them, and put them in the refrigerator while they are still hot. They will more than likely stay above 40 degrees for more than 4 hours and you have a chance at getting a food born illness. Cooking Temperatures I'm going to cover a few different meats here because I know you guys eat other proteins besides chicken and I don't want to see any brolies getting sick. Chicken/Turkey is the #2 thing that scares me when I cook (hamburg that I haven't ground being #1). The internal temperature of chicken needs to exceed 160 degrees to be sure that any possible viruses/bacteria are killed. Don't think it's important? Spend a week pissing out of your ass and puking and see what that does to your training. Making sure you don't get food poisoning is something that you have 99% control over and thus shouldn't be overlooked. Ground Beef/Turkey - The same rule applies here as to chicken, 160 degrees. Alot of people may wonder why ground beef needs to be cooked to such a high temperature yet it is perfectly safe to eat carpaccio (basically a raw steak that has only been seared on the outside and then is sliced paper thin and served as an appetizer). The reason is, is that the only bacteria that is harmful exists on the outside of the beef and when you grind it up, the outside is now on the inside. Pork - Pork has had a bad rap over the years as producing some pretty insane food born illnesses. A long time ago a porkchop was as deadly as falling off of a bridge if it was undercooked, but nowadays this isn't the case. What changed is the pig's diets. Hogs use to be fed "slop" and they ingested huge amounts of bacteria which in turn made their meat have a high amount of dangerous bacteria. If you buy from a reputable place, 140 degrees internal temp is more than adequate (not for sausages or any ground up pork, just solid cuts of meat) BUY A MOTHERFUCKING MEAT THERMOMETER I can tell roughly when meats are finished, but ideally you want to pull the meat off JUST as it goes over the temp mark you are shooting for. Anything more than that and you are just drying the meat out. Cross Contamination I would be willing to bet hard earned money that the VAST majority of food born illnesses are caused by cross contamination. Some simple steps that you can follow to avoid cross contamination: Always... always...ALWAYS wash your hands after handling any meat. If you only have one cutting board, cut your vegetables first and put them aside, then cut your meat on it. Anything you use to handle meat put it aside to wash later and use something else to handle/transport your vegetables. Here are some terms that you should understand The Maillard Effect (pronounced "my-ard") - Everyone is familiar with this even if you don't know what this term means. This is the browning that occurs on any food product when you apply high heat to it. Effectively this is caramelization of the sugars and carbohydrates that are present in all foods. The Maillard Effect is the mother of all flavor, nothing so simply evokes more taste from meats than a proper sear. By the way, searing meats has NOTHING to do with "keeping the juices in", I'll explain this more later. Seasoning - Whenever you hear "seasoning", 99% of the time it is just referring to salt and pepper. When I say it, that is what I mean as well. Saute - Ahh... one of the most misunderstood concepts in cooking. Saute means "To Jump" in French. To saute properly, you have to have your pan and your fat at a high temperature. Ever notice how when you are sauteing some onions how unless the pan is very hot they just stick to the bottom? If you aren't sauteing properly you aren't getting the benefits of the Maillard Effect and you are just slowly cooking your meat which will end up flavorless (ok, not totally, but damn near). Mise en Place (pronounced "meese-en-plahs") This translates into "Putting in Place". This is a concept that got ground into my head day after day when I attended culinary school. Before any food hits the heat, you should have all of your prep work done. All your food should be cut, the fat trimmed away, the proper amounts measured out, etc etc etc. Here is an example of a perfect way to mise en place When you do this, you can focus on your cooking and it will help to greatly reduce the amount of fuckups that happen in the kitchen (boiling over, burning, forgetting to add an ingredient, etc etc). Cooking zi Chick-on Ok, this is why you clicked the thread. I am going to go over some very basic recipes with you that you can make at home and will not only be relatively healthy, but also delicious. Emphasis on the "relatively". Some of my dishes are super healthy, others you may need to have as a cheat meal or something to eat after a work out. BBQ Chicken Ingredients: Chicken Breasts, bone in (or any other cut you prefer) Salt and Pepper A functioning grill Soaked (for at least an hour in water) Wood Chips, I prefer Hickory Chimney briquette starter (this thing is a lifesaver) Directions: You can cook chicken over direct heat in any fashion and get an ok tasting piece of meat. I choose to spend a little extra time so that my chicken comes out juicy, tender, and delicious (I like my chicken like I like my woman....wait what?). Get your grill and set up your pyramid of briquettes (or use the chimney briquette starter). Use about 3/4 the amount of briquettes you would normally use, coat with lighter fluid and get those suckers going. While the grill is getting warm, take your chicken breasts and remove the skin if yours came with it on. Season both sides of the breasts and stage them near the grill. Once the briquettes have turned gray, stack them on one side of the grill. We are going to cook these breasts using indirect heat, this method will give you the tenderest chicken possible. Sprinkles a couple handfuls of the soaked woodchips over the briquettes then place the chicken on the grill on the opposite side of your briquettes, then cover. Depending on your grill and the temp, these will take anywhere from an hour, to an hour 45 to cook. Use your chimney starter to get some more briquettes going about half way through so you can add them as you need to. Also be sure to put wood chips on every 15 mins (if you like a smokey flavor) for the first hour, then you won't need to add any more. Check the chicken's internal temp with a meat thermometer and once it has reached 160 degrees pull them off and put them on a tray to rest. Tent the meat with foil (that means to just lay some foil over the chicken and lightly tuck it in, not all the way) and let it rest for about 10-15mins before you dig in. Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts This is very similar to the bbq method but it allows you to get a similar effect indoors and in less time. Ingredients: Boneless Skinless chicken breasts Salt & Pepper Saute pan Oil Oven tray Oven Turn on your stove and put about a half dollar sized puddle of oil in a saute pan. While this heats up, season your chicken on both sides. Also turn your oven onto 350 degrees. Once the oil is just under the smoke point, that is the time you want add the chicken. Grab the chicken by one end and lay it into the oil, laying it down in the direction away from you. If you lay it down towards you, you can splash hot oil on your self and that is never fun. Sear only one, at MOST two pieces of chicken at a time. If you add too many pieces of meat the pan will cool down and we will no longer be utilizing the Maillard Effect. When you lay the chicken down, leave it for a minute or two alone. Don't fuck with it, it will tell you when it's ready to be flipped. After a minute or two give it a poke and if it slides around freely, it is ready to be turned. Once you have seared the outside of the chicken place them on a sheet pan (if you have a grate that fits over your sheet pans, even better) and then place them in the oven. People always ask me how long to cook chicken in the oven, the answer is always "until it's done". Every oven is different, every piece of chicken is different. Ballpark estimate is roughly 35mins. But it's times like this where your thermometer comes in handy. Once they reach 160 degrees internally, you are good to go. By the way, the left over chicken bits and juices in the saute pan make for an EXCELLENT base to saute some veggies. Some mushrooms, garlic, greenbeans and squash is a good combo with chicken. Tandoori Chicken There are 23304823904823 ways to cook tandoori chicken, this is one of my favorites but this recipe is just a foundation for this dish; feel free to add, remove or change this however you like depending on your taste. Ingredients: 4 Chicken Breasts, bone in or boneless, skinless 1 cup plain yogurt 1/4 cup Tandoori Paste (you can adjust this for your palate) 2 cloves crushed garlic 2tsp Lemon Juice (again, you can adjust this to your palate) Whatever amount of Cayenne pepper you like, more if you like spicy Salt and Pepper 1tsp Grated ginger root Take your chicken breasts and remove all of the fat. Then take a fork and poke some holes, then with a knife cut 3-4 slits across the chicken about 1/4" deep. These holes and slices will allow the marinade to get inside the chicken. Mix all of the other ingredients and then place the chicken in the marinade. You will want this to marinate for at least 3 hours, preferably over night. To cook this, you can either use your oven, or your grill. If you are going to use your grill you can cook these using direct heat, as the marinade will help to keep it juicy. If you are going to use the oven, cook them at 400 degrees for roughly a half hour (don't quote me, cook them until they are done). If you are cooking bone in pieces of chicken they will take longer so be prepared. This recipe is mad delicious so I highly recommend you give it a try. Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs Marinade: 1/2 c soy sauce 1 c. pineapple juice 1/4 c brown sugar 1/8 tsp garlic powder 1/8 tsp onion powder 1/4 tsp ground ginger 1 tbsp lemon juice Other Ingredients: Chicken breasts cut into 4 strips (roughly) per breast Pearl Onions Green Bell Pepper cut into 1" squares Chunk Pineapple 12 Cherry Tomatoes Mix the marinade ingredients and place 1/4 of the mixture aside in another bowl to act as a basting medium. You do NOT want to baste the chicken with the marinade that the chicken was soaking in (remember, cross contamination). Take the remaining 3/4 marinade and place the chicken strips inside and let it soak for a few hours. This marinade can be left overnight but it is definitely not necessary. Get some skewers and soak them in water for at least an hour. This will prevent them from burning when you cook the kabobs. Take the chicken pieces and skewer them so that you go through each piece of chicken twice (basically just fold it in half). Slide one piece of chicken on, then an onion, then a piece of bell pepper, then a piece of pineapple, and then a cherry tomato. Repeat this process until the kabob is full and all of your chicken is used up. Get your grill going and place the kabobs on the grill and use the 1/4 marinade you set aside to baste every 5 minutes or so. These will take roughly 20 minutes to cook, but as I have stated before, cook them until they are done. Recipe from Bacchus Chicken Satay Skewers: Marinade: -2tbsp PB -Juice from 2 limes -1 tbsp chilli -4tbsp soy 1.Mix ingredients together. 2. cube chicken, and marinade for at least 30 minutes. Toss on skewers, and bbq. Top with Fresh Cilantro.