What makes cooked chicken chewy?
Fresh bought chicken, marinated for about 3-4 hours in fresh cream and spices when baked in the oven comes out as chewy at times. We have also tried marinating using yoghurt and changing the cooking time but its not as soft as it should be. What could we be doing wrong?
which parts come out chewy? It is very hard to get a whole bird well, as usually the legs need a longer cooking time than the breast.
I find chicken breast to be drier and more chewy than the chicken thigh or legs. So, it could just be the part that you are using for cooking, like @rumtscho said.
I learned about a neat cooking style for boneless skinless chicken which is 10 minutes on low WITH a cover then 10 minutes with the heat completely off (where the heat seeps in and the chicken cooks itself). I've been cooking it like this for years. I keeps moist even reheated days later.
There are two main causes of chewiness in chicken when cooked this way:
- Overcooking. Overcooked chicken is chewy, possibly stringy, and dry.
- Dried out on the outside. Especially if the skin is removed, the outside may dry out (as well as overcook, even if the inside is not overcooked), leaving a leathery and unpleasant aspect to the chicken.
The solution for the first is not to overcook. Use an instant read thermometer to know when chicken is done (approximately 155-160 F for white meat, 165 F - 180 F depending on your preference for dark meat).
The solution to the second is to cover, either with the sauce or braising liquid, or aluminum foil or similar so that it cannot dry out.
I've also heard that slow cooking poultry can result in chewy chicken. Right this moment I'm eating chewy chicken that I slow-cooked. It's quite moist and mostly tasty but there is the occasional chew part, hence how I ended up here.