Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chicken Breast Sous-Vide

So who doesn't like chicken breasts? For several years I have been buying the precooked grilled chicken breast at Costco for convenience. I like to snack on them for the extra protein. When I got my Sous-Vide machine I was very excited to cook them using the Sous-Vide method. I researched appropriate temperatures for poultry and I came across several recommendations. 

There were a lot of variances and personal preferences that ranged from 140-155 degrees F. I know you are saying to yourselves "I thought you had to cook chicken to 165 degrees F to kill or pathogens" this is untrue. 

A combination of temperature and time can a pasteurize a piece of meat. Take a look at this graph. If for example we cooked chicken until it hit an internal temp of 165 degrees it would become instantaneously pasteurized and safe to eat. If we then cooked a piece of chicken to an internal temp of 140 degrees and held it there for 35 minutes it would be safe to eat also. I use an APP by Polyscience to figure all that out for me. 

Anyhow I have experimented twice now with chicken temps. I have tried 150.9 degrees F and 147 degrees F temp. I used the 150.9 temp because the APP used this temp to describe a Med cooked chicken. The 147 degree temp came from a Chef I talked with about poultry and he like 147 degrees. Both temps produced perfectly cooked juicy chicken. After cooking it twice now I am just a little close to dialing in what I think would be good. I think 149 will be my preferable temp for chicken. Although both temps above worked well it's about the texture of the meat and what it felt like when I chewed it. I thought the 147 degree temp was a little to fleshy for me and the 150 temp was just about right but not perfect. I am also going to try organic chicken breast to see if this makes a difference too.

Note: after cooking breasts I submerged them in an ICE BATH for about an hour to stop the cooking process and get them ready for storage. I left them in their bags. 
Chicken seasoned with Poultry spices
Just submersed in water bath.
Side profile.
Will cook for 1:38 min to pasteurize.

Update: I used organic 
Chicken breasts and 
cooked them 
at 146 degree F.  
They were beyond perfect.

Update: 2/1/15 
If I plan on browning them in a pan I will Sous-Vide them at 145 degrees.

Update: 3/11/15
I  really like the COSTCO pre-brined frozen chicken breasts that are individually vacuumed sealed. The vacuumed seal is lousy so I suggest taking the individual plastic sealed breast and putting them into a large bag first than SV. I no longer pre-season breasts.