The Best Way To Cook Chicken Breast

– Welcome to Cook Food Good The show where I teach you to cook food good and do other things good too

But if we're being honest, mostly the cooking food thing And it's for every day home cooks, like you, and me, a normal guy This isn't a show where we use rare ingredients, using techniques that you don't know, and equipment you don't have to make a dish that you probably don't care about This is a show where I take affordable ingredients that everyone knows and loves, and I show you how to cook them as simply, and cheaply as possible Today we are cooking the bane of every chef's existence, the boneless, skinless, chicken breast

It's so easy, it's super healthy, it's super lean, and if you know how to cook it properly you can get a ton of flavor out of it It is like a steak, except white, and it's made of bird meat I'm gonna walk you through literally every step of the process, and for most people that process is starting in the freezer, I know I always have my chicken breast in the freezer So let's get to defrosting (upbeat music) All right so the key to using the fridge method is agility, you gotta go fast, so watch closely

(fast forwarding) Done Well literally you're not done, 'cause you have to wait like 10 hours for it to actually defrost, which is why this method isn't the best all the time It is the safest though, if you're trying to prevent the outside from getting warm Anything above 40 degrees is technically when bacteria can multiply Yada yada yada science, you don't wanna die for a chicken breast

Okay, so you wanna take a large mixing bowl, and you can put the chicken directly in the package that it came in right in there, and then you're just going to run room temperature water over it You don't wanna do hot water, hot water will get you there faster The problem with that is the outside of the chicken is gonna come up to temperature, and then you can get bacteria, salmonella, and death You wanna feel the temperature of the room with your left hand, and the temperature of the water with your right hand, and then switch it Then after about an hour you can check it

Honestly, if your chicken is still a tiny tiny bit frozen, you can still brine it while it's a little bit frozen, so you can get the salt on there, get it in the fridge, and it'll come up to temp Okay, method number three is the microwave Take a plate that I sure hope is microwave safe, and then I'm gonna grab the chicken from the freezer I'm gonna use a single pronged fork and just open this up Now you're gonna open your microwave that have five second left on it from the last time I microwaved something because it's bad luck if you let the microwave go all the way to zero

And you can use the pound setting, you can estimate however much pounds your chickens is So I'm gonna, nah screw it, go ahead do it by time The worst thing that can happen if you're defrosting your chicken in the microwave is that it starts to cook the outside, and then it become a little bit rubbery So you wanna check on it every two minutes or so Yeah you can hear it, it's defrosting

Three, two (opening microwave) That was close All right so our chicken has been in there for five and a half minutes You can tell it's a little bit frozen, the outside is cooked just a little bit This isn't the worst way to go, especially if you only have five minutes before you start cooking your chicken

For my money, the water defrosting method is the best way to go You do any of these three, you'll get a cookable chicken, with which you can cook food good (upbeat music) Okay, so now that our chicken is properly defrosted we can get to the steps of prepping it And the first part of that is pounding it out So if you see, I was about to grab it with my raw hands

All right so if you see, chicken is really thicker at one end than the other end, and that means that your chicken is going to cook unevenly The thin part is gonna dry out, while the thick part is going to be undercooked So the goal is to pound that out to get it so the chicken is the same evenness all the way around What you're gonna do, is you're gonna take your chicken and you're gonna shove it into a Ziploc bag I have a meat mallet, AKA my Crystal Hot Sauce bottle

I actually prefer using this to a meat mallet because you want a lot of surface area so you don't damage the flesh of the chicken So you're gonna go towards the thick nipple side, and you're just gonna gently pound your chicken out, trying to get as much surface area of the bottle on there as possible (banging) There you go, so the key is you don't wanna damage the flesh of the chicken because you want it to still be able to cook evenly as the whole piece, if you bash it too hard your chicken meat will kind of explode So be a little bit gentle, don't be afraid to just kind of take a lot of small whacks at it And you don't need to be completely perfect on this, the key is you're just tryna get it a little bit more even so it all cooks throughout beautifully

The second most important step in your chicken is what people will all dry brining, but that's kind of an intimidating word 'cause when you use the term brine a lot of people think about like a Thanksgiving turkey, where you have the giant bag and you got just like, this gross mass of like vinegar salt water spilling all over your fridge We're not gonna do that Dry brining is essentially just salting It's tough to measure salt, because as I said these chicken breasts are completely different sizes, but about a teaspoon of salt per chicken breast is what you want Take a pinch of salt and just liberally shower it over the breast

Now we're just gonna take this, and we're gonna put it in a cool dry place What other place would we put it than the fridge? Why did I say cool dry place like I'm putting it in a wine cave So we have our chicken breasts, they have been salting in the fridge, in your wine cave for a while Now there's one more step before you actually build the seasoning blend and put it on You have to dry them off with a paper towel

So what happens with chicken breast when you salt it is it starts bringing moisture towards the surface of the chicken When you add moisture to a pan or even in the oven it's gonna create steam which is gonna prevent an actual searing action from happening The science isn't super important, the important thing to know is after you salt your chicken, always dry it off with paper towels Resist any urge to make a mammogram joke As all that salt has penetrated into the actual chicken meat so it's gonna be seasoned throughout

So now you can just add your spices directly on top of that First we're gonna go paprika, the main flavor of paprika is red and when your food looks red it somehow tastes better This is actually dehydrated bell pepper, paprika's the Hungarian word for pepper Now we're gonna go black pepper As far as building an actual spice blend, you need to work in ratios

So if you think paprika, not very offensive, black pepper, delicious but very very pungent, we should use about half the amount of black pepper that you would say, paprika Garlic is a thing that you can add a fair amount of because garlic is freakin' delicious A lot of people say that powered garlic sucks, and fresh is the only way to go It's not true at all, dehydrated garlic has a different flavor profile and it's absolutely delicious, especially in chicken Onion powder is another thing, garlic and onion powder are two completely indispensable spices that you should have in your cabinet

So dried herbs add little green flakes to your food and they taste pretty good You can use literally anything for this, I have oregano, parsley flakes, dried oregano, dried basil, a lot of it tastes really similar and they're all pretty inoffensive So you can kinda add whatever And now we're just gonna whisk up our spice blend Whisk, this is a very rare, flat build, tiny whisk as you can see, also known as a spo-on

All you're gonna do is give it a nice, liberal dusting And we're gonna get it on both sides So now we have our two chicken breasts that haven been pounded, they've been salted, they've been seasoned All we gotta do is cook it, I'm gonna show you two ways to do that The first is gonna be a simple baked chicken breast

Then we're also gonna hit one with a little pan sear saute action This is also how you milk a muskrat (mimicking milking sound) (calm music) So we're gonna oven roast this, all I've done is I've put it into a Pyrex or any sort of oven safe dish with a little bit of canola oil on the bottom We're gonna roast it at 375 for about 25 minutes, but it's all gonna depend what size your breast is Singular breast

There's a couple of benefits to oven roasting One, it's super easy You pop it in the oven for like 20 minutes, there's no flippin', there's no real babysitting You set a timer, you forget it But what you're gonna miss out on is that kind of caramelization, that nice golden brown crust that you're gonna get from direct heat contact

What we're gonna do, we're gonna pop it in the oven, then for the last couple minutes we're gonna broil it to get it super nice and crispy But first, placement is a big issue All ovens are different so it's really difficult to know I know my oven is super bottom dominant, any cookies that I bake that aren't on the top rack are gonna get burnt on the bottom Burnt, my body's going through changes that I need to know how to deal with

For real, I didn't hit puberty 'til like 17 So we're gonna go ahead and take this, and we're gonna put it somewhere near the top of the oven, that is where I know my oven gets the most even heat But play with yours, figure out where it is Throw it in there, shut the door (clapping) And now you're good to go on the journey of puberty yourself

All right the chicken's been in there for about 20 minutes so I'm gonna take it out Oh, it's smells like chicken Everyone says things taste like chicken, no one says things smell like chicken But that smells like chicken We're going to pop our broiler on high

Because we're missing out on some of that beautiful golden brown crust on this in the oven, we're gonna broil it on high And also, we're gonna get the best barbecue sauce in the game, little bit of Sweet Baby Ray's on there We did such a kinda neutral spice rub that anything you put on it, it's really gonna work well with And then just use a spoon to get a thin coating on top, then all the sugars in the barbecue sauce are gonna get nice and a little bit crusty under that broiler And you're gonna have a beautiful glazed chicken breast

I have an electric oven, so the broiler on top is literally just like a coil that gets really hot But if you have a gas broiler, there might be an actual flame on top of your oven Some people have a little drawer underneath their oven that actually acts as a broiler But open up your oven, check it out, show it some love, see what ya got Figure out where the appropriate height is to put something

For me, I know my broiler, I'm gonna keep the oven rack at the same height And I'm just gonna pop it on high for about two minutes, and then the crazy hot heat from the electric coil above, just gonna give it some nice toasty noastyness Words mean nothing to me anymore, I've forgotten what they all mean I forget that a month ago when we went into quarantine There are days where I don't talk to anyone for the first nine hours, then I open up my mouth and a word won't even come out

I'll just be like (speaking gibberish) All right I've been broiling for about two minutes Now I'm just gonna pull it, oh you can hear the sizzle Yeah, look at that What an uncomfortable angle for my body to be, can people see I'm like chicken wingin' it

Look master, look at the beautiful chicken breast Oh look at that, you can see how juicy it is (exclaims) (inhaling and exhaling) If you ever put food in your mouth that's too hot to eat, get some ranch dressing in there, it'll really help The chicken breast honestly, it's just a ton of flavor After oven roasting and getting that little broil action at the end, gets you that beautiful little crisp on top

This is very delicious, but there's one more method I'm gonna show ya, we're gonna go ahead and pan sear a chicken breast (upbeat music) And the key to pan searing a chicken breast, is, uh-oh Oh I took the gas out of my stove, give me a sec I was being responsible at the time, 'cause I was like I don't wanna esplode All right so we have our gas burner lit

Don't think of your chicken breast like a steak Think of your chicken breast like a grilled cheese Chicken you're obviously not serving rare, you don't want the internal temperature to get too high, you don't wanna overcook the hell out of it Grilled cheese you always wanna cook super low and slow, same thing applies with a chicken breast You're eventually gonna get that nice kind of like browning on the outside that's really tasty and looks very appealing, but you're also gonna get the inside cooked through

So we're just gonna take about a tablespoon of oil, drop it in the pan, and then you're just gonna let it sit there Keep it low and slow I was gonna say walk away, don't walk away from live fire I dunno, like occupy yourself, scroll through Instagram, you're probably doing it for four hours a day anyways, you might as well do it for eight minutes while your chicken's cooking And the way you know it's ready to be flipped is that you actually see it start to change color towards the thinner end

You can see it becoming white, that means that the cooking process is going all the way through So I'm just gonna go ahead and give this a nice once over Yay, see we got some beautiful golden brown color on that So once you give it one flip, you're just gonna let it chill there for about another five minutes There's no easy way to tell if a chicken breast is cooked without a meat thermometer

And that is the one tool that I will like really really recommend that people get What you can do, honestly, slice into it in the pan, take a little peak in there, You'll get a little bit of juices running out, and so the way you know chicken is cooked, no pink White, white no pink, good to eat, won't kill or cause disease, good Our chicken breast has been searing for about four minutes and thirty nine, forty, forty one, forty two seconds right now So we're gonna take it and pull it

Now I'm gonna teach you how to build a basic pan sauce (upbeat music) There's some beautiful flavor in this pan, you can see the little crusty bits in the bottom, those are good, you wanna keep those When you're using boneless skinless chicken breasts you're not gonna get a lot of fat that comes out of it Which is why I'm gonna add some butter to it (yelps) (slapping) So you want to take the amount of butter, and then cut it by about two thirds to add to your pan sauce

Some people go one to one, for me it ends up too chalky and it's harder to work with If I'm doing say a tablespoon of butter, I'll add like two thirds, or three quarters of a tablespoon of flour So once the butter's melted, you're gonna add your flour, and you're just gonna stir the flour into the butter And so different flavorings that you can add to this very basic pan sauce, which if we're bein' honest with ourselves it's pretty much a gravy Pan sauce is like a fancy term for gravy

I'm gonna go really simple, black pepper, really delicious in gravy 'cause that's what we're making we decided And then other things that work really well with chicken, you can always do lemon juice or somethin' I said I wouldn't use fancy ingredients, but the Dijon mustard, ugh come on You can use yellow mustard, you can use whatever We're gonna add about a half a teaspoon of mustard to that

Once you see the flour and the butter start foaming together, that's when you add your stock You can honestly also just use water, so I'm gonna add about a quarter cup And then all the flour is really gonna get the sauce to kind of thicken up This is really great because any time you pull your chicken, you want it to rest for about five minutes Not five min– Like three minutes

Any time you pull your chicken you wanna let it rest for three minutes So we got our nice sauce, and all we're gonna do is turn off the heat on that We're gonna slice up our chicken breast and then we're gonna pour the sauce right on top (upbeat music) All right so now we have our perfectly pan seared chicken breast, we got our little mustardy sauce All I'm gonna do is give it a nice little shmear

Oh yeah, and this is a great meal by itself, who says you need vegetables in your diet Beautiful, super juicy on the inside You can tell it's not over cooked The shmear of the mustard Mm, it's honestly a huge explosion of flavor in your mouth, 'cause when you salt the chicken like that, you bite into it and all the chicken juices are perfectly infused with salt so they're all perfectly seasoned

You get the beautiful little tang from the mustard in that pan sauce Just pop this on top of some sauteed spinach, or potatoes, or whatever you want Throw it in a sandwich, God I want a chicken sandwich Thank you so much for joining us in Mythical Kitchen, if you have any questions about your chicken breast cookery, hit us up on Instagram @mythicalkitchen We have new food videos comin' out every Tuesday and Thursday, and new episodes of A Hot Dog Is a Sandwich wherever you get your podcast on Wednesdays

Thanks for stoppin' by and Cook Food Good Get as messy as you want in your own kitchen when you have the Mythical Kitchen towel Available now at mythicalcom

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