What Does Undercooked Chicken Taste Like? [Is It Safe?]
A common question people have on their minds is the difference between what undercooked chicken tastes like and what cooked chicken tastes like. This is an especially important question to answer as you put yourself at risk of food poisoning if you eat undercooked chicken or even worse if you eat cold leftover undercooked chicken. Although bacteria can persist in this food even when refrigerated, the good news is that reheating the dish can destroy harmful bacteria while also cooking the undercooked chicken. Fortunately, this article will help answer what raw chicken meat tastes like and how to tell if your bird is still undercooked.
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The taste of undercooked chicken
The answer depends on how raw the chicken meat is. Very raw will taste slimy and be unchewable. Whereas slightly undercooked chicken will be juicy and flavorful albeit slightly pink.
How to tell chicken is raw
Considering you now know the flavor of chicken when it is undercooked, it would be possible to identify raw chicken by tasting it. However, using this method is obviously not recommended due to the fact that there could be health risks caused by lethal bacteria if you eat raw chicken.
Instead, there is a series of other methods which can be used in order to identify if your bird is undercooked.
Firstly, there are a series of visual cues that you can use to judge whether or not chicken has been cooked through. Firstly, by simply taking a look at the chicken you should be able to notice that it is noticeably smaller than when it was raw. If there is no significant size difference, then that is a hint that it needs to be cooked for longer.
Another visual cue is the color of the meat itself. The outer skin of the chicken usually gets cooked pretty quickly whereas the internal meat requires a bit longer. Hence, to use this method it is necessary to first cut up the chicken meat at its thickest part. If it is still pink inside, that means that the bird is raw. In case, however, the color has changed to white. This is a sign that the chicken is cooked properly.
Feeling the meat
Another set of methods revolving around feeling the chicken meat to judge whether or not it has been cooked adequately.
Firstly, you can tell this by how much moisture there is in the chicken. Raw meat has a much higher moisture content than cooked meat. Thus, by touching the chicken you should be able to tell from the texture whether or not it is dry enough to have been cooked through.
One caveat with this method, however, is the fact that it requires some experience on the part of the chef. Thus, if you are unfamiliar with the chicken cooking process, you may want to skip this one.
Another method you can use is the finger test. This is a favorite of chefs as it does not require any equipment and can be done easily. First, take out a piece of the chicken and place it onto a cold plate, letting the bird cool down so that you can feel it without discomfort.
Next, use your right hand’s index finger to touch the fleshy part of your skin between your left hand’s thumb and index finger. This is what raw chicken feels like.
Next, put together the left hand’s dumb and index finger so that they touch and then feel the fleshy part in between with your right hand’s index finger. This is what medium-done chicken should feel like.
Finally, apply pressure on your thumb and index finger as they touch each other and then feel the fleshy part in between. This is what well-done fully cooked chicken should feel like.
Now simply use the same finger on your right hand to feel the meat. This should give you good feedback regarding whether or not the chicken pieces are ready to eat.
In case you want a perfectly cooked chicken breast or roasted chicken thigh done just right every single time, the best way to go about it is by using the thermometer test. For this, you simply need to purchase a meat thermometer and insert that into the bird when you pull it out of whatever it is being cooked in.
Make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat before measuring the internal temperature. If the chicken hits an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or above, that indicates that it is cooked perfectly and you can go ahead and remove it without further cooking. In case the bird has not yet hit 165, then you can add in some additional cooking time until the chicken hits the required temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are a few questions that often come up when discussing cooking chicken.
Why does raw chicken taste different?
One commonly asked question is why does the flavor of raw chicken differ from cooked chicken. The answer to this is the Maillard reaction. This chemical reaction takes place when protein molecules react with glucose molecules and a change in flavor takes place.
Crucially, this reaction can only take place once a sufficiently high temperature has been achieved. This is why the cooking process is crucial in order to make the meat taste good.
How to safely cook bone-in chicken?
When cooking bone-in chicken, the best way to ensure that it is not undercooked is by inserting the instant thermometer close to the bone in the thickest part of the flesh. This way you can ensure that all the other meat has hit the required temperature if this part of the chicken has.
In conclusion, completely raw chicken tastes pretty bad with an unappealing texture. Slightly undercooked chicken, however, can taste deceivingly nice. Thus the only way to properly make sure that you cook the chicken right is by going ahead and using one of the tests mentioned in this article.
Some tests like the moisture test require a lot of skill to administer properly. However, fortunately, there are other tests available such as using the instant-read thermometer to identify perfectly cooked chicken without issue, every single time.