Cooking chicken, specifically chicken breasts has always been a bit of challenge to get perfectly juicy through other cooking methods. I’m not a total fan of chicken - because I just rather have pork most times. But when I tried chicken sous vide, I was totally impressed.
How was everyone else’s experience? Good? Bad? Meh?
I gave up buying chicken breast because it was so easy to overcook it by traditional methods, and overcooked chicken breast is dry and stringy and horrid. I was only buying thigh fillets which are much more forgiving to cook but have more flavour as well.
When I got my Anova I decided to give skinless, boneless chicken breasts another go. Found the ‘To Brine or Not to Brine’ write up on the Recipe site and tried that. Wow. Chicken breast was back on the menu. Really handy to have cold chicken in the fridge ready to go for salads during the heat of summer.
I still prefer the flavour of thighs, but chicken breasts have been returned to the shopping list. I’ve since decreased my cooking temperature down to 60C/140F and do a 4 hour batch cook of assorted bagged chicken parts every few weeks. Life is good.
For a period, I used to eat chicken breasts all the time before sous vide, mostly during my weightlifting days. But they were by no means for taste or enjoyment purposes. So, having subpar chicken breasts results were the least of my worries. But now, sous vide definitely changed my opinion on chicken breasts.
I am totally a chicken thigh fan. And parts with the skin/fat still on them. They’re usually cheaper and have much more flavor - they’re pretty underrated. I tend to use chicken thighs for stews to stretch things out, but I haven’t yet cooked them sous vide (I really should).
SV chicken thighs are so much more flavourful than breasts. And even better are turkey thighs. They are superb hot or cold.
I have had boring boneless chix breast twice with the anova using the poached recipe w/ lemon terragon. Big hit with the family but have to agree w chatnoir, cant beat thighs no matter the method. Unfortunately…like kraft mac and cheese boneless breasts appeal more to the young’ns. It is super good though.
I really only use breasts cold. Have hit them with the smoke gun, chopped and mixed with chopped dried apricots and cream cheese they make for quite a nice sandwich. But they’re real calling is salad with lots of supporting crunch and flavour. Perfect for someone who insists that it’s not dinner if there’s no protein on the plate. Actually, the chicken breasts got him to stop whinging about hot night salads.
Oh, chicken thighs are my go to. A nice crispy skin, on bone thigh and a pile of veg makes an easy meal. Or a pile of couscous and veg tagine with a gorgeous golden thigh sitting on top. Yumm.
I’m afraid I still can’t face up to turkey. My grandmother used to roast a turkey for Christmas dinner. The trouble is she’d get a bird the size of an emu, so big that she had to take it down to the local bakery to cook it in their ovens. The most horrendously strong, dry and stringy lumps of dead bird would finish up on the meat plate. (shudder)
Haven’t made it yet so any advice is appreciated.
Like others responding to this topic, I’m a chicken thigh fan. I decided to try boneless skinless breasts recently (145F) and, although I wasn’t completely blown away, I was quite happy with the results. Certainly better than most chicken breasts I’ve had. I think I need to experiment with brining and/or adding oil/fat to the bag, and/or lowering the temp to 140F. For my first attempt I just went very plain so I had a baseline.
Found the ‘To Brine or Not to Brine’ write up on the Recipe site and tried that. Wow. Chicken breast was back on the menu.
Does that mean that you brined or didn’t? If so, dry brine or wet brine? Thanks!
Just go for it! Are you looking to cook chicken breasts?
Sorry @stevej, I forgot to add the link. Here
Nope. No need to brine to get moist juicy chicken breast. I did start off adding flavoured oil, but have stopped that too and now do them naked at 60C/140F until they’re pasteurised.
It is important, with chicken, to use the best you can get. Mass produced chicken is rapidly grown and as such has little time to develop much by way of flavour. I think the reason why so many things are described as ‘tastes just like chicken’ is that modern chicken has little flavour. If you can find heritage chicken you won’t regret it.
Fantastic. Can’t think of any other way to get a more tender juicy chicken breast. Sous Vide turkey breast yesterday, to die for.
I do chicken breasts with a twist.
I inject them with herbs and butter.
Melt some butter and put it in a baby food sized liquidizer / blender. (Heat the glass in hot water first.
Add your choice of fresh herbs or lemon juice and zest - Liquidize / blend and then inject it into the breast.
When injecting only make one hole at one end, but go middle, then left and then right.
Remember which end has the hole.
Bag the chicken breasts so that the hole is upwards.
As it cooks some marinade will leak out and marinade the outside.
I find fresh garlic takes on an unpleasant taste with Sous Vide - So use dried garlic if going that route.
I cooked mine with the recipe and it was under cooked. I didn’t have time to cook longer so I took it out and refrigerated it. Last night we ate dinner out. Can I finish cooking it tonight or would that not be good?
It should be fine to cook again based on what you’ve said. You mention you cooked it per the recipe but it was under cooked. This would mean that you will need to heat it to use a higher temp to get a “doneness” more to your liking.
Remember - temperature determines “doneness”, time affects “texture”, and most importantly (imo) the combination of temperature and time must be long enough for “safety”.
See the link below to Baldwin’s excellent specifics on the last!
Thank you so much for your input and information.
Java, you could get more assistance here if you revealed some details about your experience.
What recipe? Chicken breasts?
Chilled or frozen at the start
What cooking temperature?
How long was the cooking time?
Is “undercooked” an opinion or fact?
That means, - did you check the internal temperature or was it judgement based on appearance?
I was kind of ‘meh’ disappointed. Perhaps I need to fancy it up a b it. Dry brining for sure, herb butter possibly. Haven’t done thighs yet as my Anova is still pretty new to me.
Appreciate the conversation though. Keep it coming.
My stance was directly in front of the pot but slightly to the left…
As for the chicken–I’ve made skin on/bone in breasts at least two or three times. In all cases the meat was extraordinarly juicy–much like a properly roasted Thanksgiving Day turkey! I had added some thyme sprigs to the bags along with seasoning the breasts with just salt and pepper. I have three issues that will require more experimenting to resolve:
- The skin doesn’t come out as crisp after sautéing it in a pan with vegetable oil after the sous vide cook. I’ll try other shortenings like butter (regular and clarified) as well as olive oil
- I keep forgetting to salvage the juices in the bag for making gravy after cooking. I typically make the gravy using home made chicken stock so I’m not sure the bag juices will make much of a different. There isn’t much browning in the pan so deglazing doesn’t yield much either.
- I haven’t compared the results of “boned with skin on” to “bone on/skin on”. I have removed the bone before sautéing just so it would be easier to press the skin against the pan but I’m don’t think that made much of a difference.