Reheating question from a new guy

I cook chicken then without unbagging it I put it in the fridge. When I reheat it, at cook temp or slightly below, it comes out dryer, less moist than the original cook. Any way to avoid this (other than not reheating)?

Hi Pay, and welcome to your Community and, i suspect, SV cooking.

If i am correct, New Guys need to know that attention to detail is critical to successful SV cooking. Your post is economical in detail to an extreme. Please assist us in helping you.

To answer your question, - yes, dryness can be avoided. Competently cooked SV chicken is always superior to any other cooking method. That’s because you can fine tune your SV cooking technique to precisely achieve your desired outcome. You have the control.

First, what size chicken are you cooking? With chicken size is age dependant. Size is also critical to cooking time.
Are you cooking young frying chicken, older roasting chicken, or economical old laying hen?

And how did you originally cook the chicken?
Time and temperature please.
And after cooking was there a lot of juices in the cooking bags?
Also, did you rapidly deep chill the cooked chicken ice an ice-water bath before refrigerating? Yep, that’s an important step too.

Also please describe your reheating time and what, if any, finishing steps you employed before service. Pan searing, grilling, etc.?

It would also be helpful if you could describe your expectations of cooked chicken. Some people like it very juicy and soft. Others enjoy a tender and still juicy product. Some like their chicken to be firm, while others like falling-off-the-bone doneness.

I regret the length of this respone. It is meant to help you become a superb cook.

Do the work and you will do well.

Stay safe.

No worries!

2 cooks,

Boneless skinless Chicken Thighs, 167f/45 mins. Big pack from Costco.

Boneless skinless chicken breast, 1.5” thick, 146f/2 hrs. Fresh from grocery store meat counter, not packaged.

Both came out great, moist and tender, just the way we like them. Plenty of juice in the bags.

One bag of thighs went into an ice bath then into the fridge. One breast went directly into the fridge, no bath.

Reheated both at the cook temp for 30 minutes. Both came out tender but dry, not as juicy as fresh out of the tank.

Thighs were not seared, breast was seared via torch.

Hope this helps!

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Welcome to the community! That is an interesting problem, since reheating should not dry it out at all.

Hey Pay, thanks for your response. Details are fundamental to problem solving.

We know your freshly SV cooked thighs and breasts were successful. The thighs had a shorter cooking time than the usual 1 hour minimum, but if you are happy with the result, so be it.

Thorough reheating at the respective SV cooking temperatures requires longer than 30 minutes. We know that heat diffuses through meat at the rate of about 1-inch per hour at typical SV cooking/reheating temperatures.

The dry results with the thighs is a mystery, particularly with them only being cooked for a short time. Plenty of juice in the bags is an indicator of some malfunction. Plenty of juice isn’t a particularly precise term, but if means more than 15% of total mass that’s plenty.

Many poultry processors water bath chill their products as opposed to air-chilling. That can allow a substantial amount of water to be absorbed into their products, as much as 1O%, and almost double that if they use a salt water chilling bath. Of course a lot of that surplus water is expelled during cooking.

It takes careful practice to use a torch on chicken breasts and not dry or excessively cook them. The next time you use the torch to finish chicken check the internal temperature. You want it in the low 150Fs to avoid moisture loss. It doesn’t take long for an 1,800F flame to do a lot of damage to delicate white meat.

One more item, you might want to verify your cooking water temperatures as your results are typical of higher temperatures than those you used.

Thanks for the info. The variations in time/temps for cooks out there is amazing. I did make a note that next time on the thighs to go an hour. Next time!
Fluid in bag was a tablespoon or two at most. The breast could very well have been due to lack of cooling.
Temps in the bath seem accurate, I did check them when I first got it. I’ll keep an eye on that as well.
Time to try it again and take better notes!

Hey Pay, there are many different preferred degrees of doneness and all require a specific cooking time and temperature.

I suspect your torching technique may be the dry product culprit. It’s easy to over do its use.

Thighs and legs contain a lot of sturdy tissue and can tolerate and even improve with longer cooking times. Consider a test cook with thighs for 2 to 4 hours, particularly if they are large.

Your temp is way off. I have had my Anova for many years and found the best source of information on time and temp is found on Serious Eats. Here is a link to Kenji Lopez-Alt’s guide for cooking chicken breast. You will notice there are different times and temps depending are how you like your final result.

Breasts were done at 146f, looks accurate according to the article so I don’t follow what you are saying.

Sorry for the late response. 2nd try was a bit better. Did thighs at 167f/1 hr followed by ice bath and fridge. Reheated to 145/30 mins with no sear and they came out better, not as dry as last time but a bit dryer than fresh out of the bag. Going to have to experiment with lower temps and alternate methods of reheating. My son doesn’t have the patience for Sous Vide. His weapon of choice is microwave or NuWave. I need to be able to cook a bunch and leave it in the fridge for him.
Still have my student driver sign on the Anova!

Oops, note to self: stop multitasking when posting on sm. I misread. 167 is slightly above , but should have worked. I am finding that if I am not eating the food immediately after the cook, I to go towards the the lower temp recommendations. This link has some temps around halfway down.

Have to try that one, thanks!

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