Chicken question

So I just got my unit and the first experiment was chicken... lets just say that it was universally voted down. My son said it didn't even taste like chicken and complained about the texture. I also didn't like the texture. Not sure if this is a common result or if I'm doing it wrong with Chicken. Can you possibly let it cook too long in the water bath to the point that it causes the chicken texture to be unrecognizable? I thought it was a bit pasty in texture which for me wasn't pleasant. 



Chicken breasts cooked sous vide aren't the same as chicken breasts cooked using traditional methods. They really should be called something different so that expectations aren't confronted. Sous vide chicken breast is perfect (for me at least) at 60c for 60-90 minutes. If you're used to chicken breast cooked via conventional methods then you may be surprised by the results when trying your Anova for the first time. There is room for both techniques, but personally I far prefer the SV chicken breast because it is so much softer, plumper, juicier and more 'chicken-tasting'. The texture is a matter of personal preference, and searing the breast post-cook in a hot dry pan (or just a splash of oil) can make a big difference. 

Do you have a vauum sealer or are you using ziploc bags and the immersion method?

Things to check: 
1) Did you get a good vacuum in the bag (ie no air gaps), 
2) Were the bags fully submerged
3) Did you include marinade items such as garlic or ginger
4) Were they cooked at the right time and temperature 
5) Did you post-sear

I would love to see your reply, it's not just useful for troubleshooting but also for the community at large. Good luck!

@Simon_C Great checklist!! Would love to hear if any of these were the root cause of the issue - @dleach do you have an update for us? Thanks!

I’m curious as well about the checklist questions, especially the temperature that the chicken was cooked at. The texture at 140°F is definitely different than what you have when cooked to the standard 165°F that most places recommend. It is much juicier sure but different texture. I’m not sure that I could get my parents to eat chicken cooked that way even if I assured them it was perfectly safe. If I were cooking for them I would probably have more luck cooking to 150°F or even 155°F. At that point I think the texture is closer to standard chicken but is still quite a bit juicier to standard chicken.

@elangomatt chicken breast fillet cooked at 62c for 90 minutes yields a breast so deliciously moist and tender (cut it with the edge of your fork!) than I will never cook a breast any other way, except maybe the occasional shnitzel. One answer would be just to tell your parents it’s not chicken, it just tastes like it :slight_smile: You could also shred it or slice it finely before serving. In fact I keep one vacuum sealed in the fridge for making sandwiches for work.

Actually I might investigate the possibility of getting a cheap deep fryer, and crumbing the breast after it comes out of the bath for a quick 30 second dunk in hot fat. Has anyone tried this?

Expectations have a lot to do with how people receive Sous Vide prepared chicken. Here in Connecticut we have steamed cheeseburgers. They are exactly as you are imagining them. Quite popular it turns out. I grew up outside of NYC. To me a roast beef sandwich is sliced brisket on rye bread with brown grainy mustard. A not-to-be-named fast food restaurant specializing in roast beef opened when I was a teenager at the mall not far from my parent’s house. I almost couldn’t believe the two sandwiches could both be called roast beef. A lot has to do with expectations.

Boneless skinless chicken yields a few options. If you sear it too intensely it will end up burnt tasting. I find that a bold reduction in a moderate skillet when the chicken comes out of the sous vide works well. It enhances the best features (juicy and plump) of the chicken while hiding the overly-blond nature of the meat. A really simple trick is to coat the breasts in a bit of olive oil and some curry or garam masala before sealing and cooking. When they come out, reduce some teriyaki sauce (bottled or home made) in a skillet until it is syrupy. Simmer the breasts in the reduced sauce for about 30-60 seconds until they are completely coated. Sprinkle a bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds on the top and present.