Can Cooked Chicken be Pink?

It is generally believed that if your chicken is pink, it is raw. But is that true? This article clears the confusion. We’ll tell you if an adequately cooked chicken can be pink and why this also happens. Stick around!

Can Cooked chicken be pink?

Yes, cooked chicken can still be pink. It’s a common stereotype that chicken is only safe to eat when it’s no longer pink. However, that’s not true. The color of the chicken doesn’t indicate how well cooked it is and doesn’t mean it isn’t safe to eat.

The pink color in cooked chicken often happens due to the reaction of the hemoglobin in the chicken muscles with air. When this reaction occurs, the cooked chicken tends to have a pink color.

5 top reasons why cooked chicken is pink

There are many reasons cooked chicken might be pink, but we’ll look at five.

The environmental condition of the chicken

The environmental conditions the chickens are exposed to during their growth stage can significantly affect the meat quality produced by the chickens.

Unfavorable conditions such as transportation, climate change or weather conditions, feed and water deprivation, handling, hauling, and even the air they breathe can stress the chicken and impair the meat quality.

The pink color defect is one of the best examples of the effect of stress on the meat production quality of the chicken.

Inappropriate killing or stunning method

Stunning is a technique used to make the chicken unconscious before the slaughter. This is done to reduce struggle and stress.

Stunning is used for chickens because when the chicken struggles and stresses too much during slaughter, it will produce low-quality meat due to bruises on the meat. This is why there is a need for an appropriate stunning method.

Nitrate contamination

This is also one of the major causes of the pink color in chickens. It has been a significant problem that has caused complaints from customers who purchase chicken meat.

The water used to process chicken in factories contains nitrates, a primary cause of the pink color in chicken we see sometimes. Other sources of nitrate contamination of meat include injectors, smokehouses, stuffers, other processing equipment, and the birds’ diet.

Once the birds come in contact with nitrates from any of these sources, it can lead to the pink color effect. This effect can be permanent, staying even after the chicken is cooked.

Cooking method

How we cook the chicken can also affect the meat’s quality and make the chicken pink. When the chicken isn’t cooked as early as possible and stored correctly, it will start bringing out the pink color.

Also, the cooking temperature is another factor contributing to the pink color of the chicken meat.

Inefficient storage techniques

When the chicken meat isn’t stored correctly, it can contaminate the meat pink. Chicken meat can be stored in a refrigerator if it’s not for immediate usage.

5 things to try when your cooked chicken is still pink

If your cooked chicken is still pink, here are some things you can do:

You can remove all the bones in the chicken

This process is known as deboning. The pink color is mainly hidden in the bone of the chicken, so when the chicken is deboned, there’s no way the meat will have a pink tint.

Although deboning is very stressful, it’s one of the most effective techniques to remove the pink color in chickens.

Ensure the chicken is cooked very well

When a chicken isn’t cooked correctly, there’s a tendency to bring out the pink color. So when you see the pink color in your cooked chicken, ensure that the chicken is not undercooked before taking any other steps.

If it’s undercooked, continue cooking till it’s cooked. You can know when a chicken is cooked by using a meat thermometer, checking the juice, or checking the color.

You can increase the cooking temperature

When the cooking temperature of the chicken is too low, it can also make the chicken pink. Therefore, it’s advisable to increase the temperature when cooking your chicken so it can be adequately cooked.

You can also marinate your chicken with citrus or vinegar

If your chicken is still pink after cooking, you can opt-in for marination. You can marinate your chicken with citrus or vinegar to reduce the PH level.

Chicken with a high PH level won’t cook as fast as it should, and undercooked chicken tends to have a pink color. However, if you cook it again after marination, the pink color will surely disappear.

You can fry the chicken

One way to remove the pink color in cooked chicken is by frying the chicken. If, after cooking your chicken, you notice the pink color, pour some oil into the frying pan and fry the chicken. After frying, the pink color will no longer be in the chicken.

Is It Safe to Eat Pink Chicken?

Yes, it’s safe to eat pink chicken. The United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) says that it’s safe to eat once all the chicken parts are well cooked. Once you use your meat thermometer and measure a temperature of 145°F-165°F, the meat is safe to eat.

It’s not always accurate to judge meat by its color. On that note, a fully cooked chicken can sometimes have a pink color, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean it is unsafe to eat.

Ways to tell when your chicken is well cooked

If you want to know if your chicken is well cooked, you can use any of the following ways:

Use a meat thermometer

This can be used to check how cooked your chicken is. All you need to do is dip it into the thickest part of the meat. But, first, it’s essential to know the thermometer’s reading. The recommended internal temperature is 145°F-165°F.

Feel the meat

You can also feel the meat with your fingers to know if it’s done. Although the finger test method is not easy to master, it’s advisable to use a thermometer as a backup till you’ve learned it. It works best on a smaller chunk of meat.

Cut the chicken to see if the juices are red or clear

This is another method of checking the doneness of the chicken. You can use a fork or knife to cut the chicken to see if it’s done and if there’s no pink color.

How to fix undercooked chicken

If your chicken is undercooked, you can fix it by cooking it till it’s done.

Also, you can fix undercooked chicken by placing it in an oiled pan and drizzling it with water. Then cover it with aluminum foil and bake it at a temperature of 400°F in an oven.

Read also: How To Fix Undercooked Pasta – A Step-By-Step Guide

How to know if the chicken is cooked without cutting

If you want to know if your chicken is cooked without cutting or poking, you should use a thermometer.

As stated above, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken and check the reading. Once you have a temperature of 165°F, your chicken is cooked. This method can check how well cooked the chicken is.

Also, in the absence of a thermometer, you can use your fingers to check the doneness of the chicken. Press your fingers against the chicken’s skin to feel the meat’s tenderness. Once the meat is soft enough, it means it’s cooked.

How to know if the chicken is cooked without a thermometer

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can check how well cooked your chicken is either with your fingers or by poking it to know if it’s done.

You can use your fingers to check the chicken thoroughly before concluding it’s cooked, or use a fork or knife to prod it and check the bones to see if it’s cooked and there’s no pink stain there.

As stated earlier, press your fingers against the chicken’s skin to feel the meat’s tenderness. Once it’s soft enough, it means the chicken is cooked.

How to get rid of blood in chicken drumsticks

To get rid of blood in chicken drumsticks, use any of the following techniques:

Because chicken bones are so porous, blood accumulates in the drumstick of the chicken, and it has to be gotten rid of to aid healthy consumption.

Brining is done by treating the chicken with salt. This is done to season the chicken, enhance tenderness, and eliminate blood in chicken drumsticks. It’s a simple technique that you can use to reduce the amount of blood in chicken drumsticks.

You can also get rid of the blood in the chicken drumstick by soaking it in buttermilk.

In addition, you can remove blood in chicken drumsticks by either soaking them in cold water or cooking them with vinegar instead of water. Vinegar helps break down the protein in the blood and makes it easier to remove the blood.

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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