Read on to know if it is safe to eat pink chicken and about the proper cooking temperatures to relish juicy chicken every time.
We all enjoy a perfectly cooked and juicy cut of chicken for our meal! Sometimes, we are even served a rather pink colored chicken steak that may seem bloody, unsafe, unappealing, and cringe-worthy.
Upon cooking, the chicken turns to a creamy white color but if it is cooked up to the correct and safe cooking temperatures you will be able to enjoy a juicier and tenderer chicken. Most of the times, we tend to lose out on the juiciness of chicken meat because of the fear of undercooking it and overcooking the chicken will make it tough, dry, and quite flavorless compared to the chicken which is cooked to the safe to eat cooking temperatures.
So, the chicken should be cooked at these internal cooking temperatures.
1650F. Cooking the delicate parts of chicken such as breast meat, to this internal temperature will destroy all the foodborne bacteria present in it while keeping the chicken juicy and tender to eat.
1700F or higher. Cooking the dark-colored cuts of chicken such as leg and thigh to an internal temperature of about 170 to 1750F is recommended as this part has more connective tissues that need to be cooked at higher temperatures than the delicate meat parts. However, the cooked chicken may appear pink even at this temperature.
MYTH. The common myth is to cook chicken until its juice runs clear but it has been seen that the color of juices will remain in the tones of red, pink, or purple even when the chicken cooks to perfect internal temperatures.
The reasons for the chicken to appear pink even after cooking are:
Young chicken cuts. Chicken between the age of 6 to 8 weeks is not fully mature and the purplish bone marrow in it can permeate through the bones and adjacent meat, which stains the chicken to the deep red or purplish shade even after the chicken is cooked to perfect internal cooking temperatures.
Myoglobin. The rich pigmented protein or myoglobin is present in higher concentration in the muscles of a more active chicken. This gives the heavily worked legs a darker color compared to the breast meat. Also, myoglobin tends to travel into the meat fibers when all the different cuts of meat are kept together for packaging.
Acidity. A low acidity (high pH) level of the chicken meat will turn it pink and the chicken tends to stay pink even after cooking in recipes where no acidic marinade is used. However, the use of acidic marinades is less effective to reduce the effect of myoglobin and marrow in the chicken.