One of the most common and go-to food choices of almost everyone is chicken. There are also various ways and recipes for chicken.
From simple, quick chicken meals to more complicated ones, there is a chicken recipe that one person can enjoy.
However, when it comes to cooking chicken, there are common mistakes that might result in not-so-favorable quality, such as dry, tough, or rubbery quality.
But many still begs the question of why is my chicken rubbery? For you to know the answer, let’s look deeper into some of the possible causes why chicken turns rubbery.
Reasons Why Chicken Is Rubbery
There are several reasons why your chicken might turn out rubbery. Some may involve the way it was cooked, while others maybe because of the meat quality.
One of the most common reasons for rubbery chicken is overcooking. Consequently, one of the chicken parts that turns rubbery when overcooked is chicken breasts. Ideally, chicken requires relatively high heat to cook well.
However, the uneven thickness of the chicken breasts presents a bit of a challenge for it to cook evenly. This can often result in overcooking and ends up giving you dry and rubbery chicken.
2. Loss of moisture
Another typical reason for rubbery chicken is lack or loss of moisture. Since chicken meat is very lean, keeping the moisture in is essential to avoid getting dried out cooked chicken meat.
This is often related to overcooking, wherein too much moisture from the chicken meat escapes during the cooking process.
3. Woody chicken breast
Aside from the cooking mistakes that can cause rubbery chicken meat, there is also the quality of the meat that you need to consider. Woody chicken breast is the condition of chicken meat to have muscles that are knotted and tight.
This condition is present in about 5 to 10% of chicken sold by retailers. Despite thorough inspection, some retailers still sell chicken meat with this condition, which can eventually give you rubbery chicken meat when cooked.
4. White striping
Another meat condition that causes rubbery chicken is referred to as white striping. It is a meat condition that presents white stripes that can be found in chicken breasts. This looks similar to a wood grain that runs parallel to the chicken breast muscles.
This meat condition also degrades the nutritional value and taste of chicken meat. Chicken meat with white striping cannot properly absorb marinade, which results in rubbery and less tender meat when cooked.
Tips On How To Avoid Rubbery Chicken
Now that you are aware of the main reasons why chicken meat turns rubbery, you also need to know a few tips to avoid such from happening.
1. Don’t go skinless.
If you notice, cooking skinless chicken meat will often result in rubbery consistency. Not everybody is aware that keeping the skin on your chicken can help keep the moisture on the meat. So, next time you are thinking of cooking chicken, don’t go skinless.
2. Always use brine, marinade, and rubs.
Another helpful tip to ensure that you won’t have rubbery chicken is by marinating your meat or using brine or rubs. This will not only add flavor to your chicken meat but also helps to keep it moist.
3. Tenderize the meat.
Since chicken breasts are uneven to begin with, the best way to ensure that you will not overcook it is to achieve even thickness all throughout. This is why it is vital to tenderize your meat before cooking.
In this way, you will release moisture and reduce cooking time since the meat is thinner and even.
4. Avoid cooking the meat for too long.
The most common mistake which results in rubbery chicken meat is overcooking. However, not cooking it enough is also risky since there may be food pathogens that are still present in the meat.
The best way to avoid overcooking or undercooking your chicken meat is with the use of a meat thermometer. The recommended internal temperature of chicken meat is 160° Fahrenheit.
5. Let the meat rest.
After cooking your meat, you must let it rest first before cutting into it and serving it. As your meat rest, you also allow the meat juices to remain and keep it moist and tender.
6. Opt to add sauce.
If you are faced with dry and rubbery chicken meat, and you find that there is no way to fix it, adding a dipping sauce may help. This will add flavor to your chicken meat and help compensate with the rubbery consistency.
7. Look for apparent signs of woody chicken or white striping before purchasing chicken meat.
Unfortunately, woody chicken breasts and white striping can be present in any variety of chicken; may it be organic, slow-raised, or Kosher chicken.
The only way to avoid these is by being aware of these meat conditions. Having knowledge about woody chicken breasts and white striping will allow you to assess chicken meat properly before purchasing it. This will save you from buying chicken meat with these genetic conditions.