When it comes to cooking, there are a lot of things at play that go beyond just preparing the food and cooking it. A big important part of cooking is making sure you prepare and cook the meat safely.
The reason for this is so you can prevent yourself from getting sick. A lot of bacteria can live inside the meat, and the only way to kill it off is heat.
You can keep an eye on this by checking the internal temperature of the food. One food people may check the internal temperature of is chicken.
In this article, we will go into what the internal temperature of a chicken is, how to check it, the risks of eating undercooked meat, and finally, how to cook it safely.
What Is a Chicken’s Internal Temperature?
The internal temperature of the meat is supposed to be after it’s been cooked, depending on the meat is the question.
For example, red meat, which includes pork, beef, and lamb, to name a few, needs to have an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For poultry like chicken, the internal temperature needs to be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Red meat is meat that comes from a four-legged animal and is red in its red form. It makes sense that the internal temperatures for chicken and other meats are different since chicken is poultry.
In the next section, we will cover just how to check a chicken’s internal temperature!
How Do You Check a Chicken’s Temperature?
So, we have established that knowing the chicken’s internal temperature is important so you know when it is done. However, you still do not know how to check it in the first place! To be able to check a chicken’s internal temperature, you need to do the following.
- After you take the chicken out of whatever you cooked it in, you need to let it sit for at least three minutes. The reason for this is so you can get an accurate read of the temperature.
- Assuming the three minutes have passed, grasp your food thermometer and then put it in the thickest part of the chicken. Make sure it’s not touching anything but the meat.
- Once you get the final temperature, take out the thermometer and wash it.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to get an accurate read on the temperature of your cooked chicken. If it reads 165, then it’s ready to go!
What Happens if You Eat Undercooked Chicken?
If by some chance you happen to eat undercooked chicken, then you need to be aware of the risks. Eating raw or undercooked chicken is not something you want to do. The reasons for this include the following:
- One big risk of eating undercooked chicken is that you could end up getting the Campylobacter bacteria. For the most part, this infection isn’t life-threatening for people unless they are people whose immune systems are weak. If you do end up with this bacteria, you’ll usually end up with diarrhea, cramps, and fever.
- Another bacteria you could end up with is Clostridium perfringens. Symptoms of this disease include a lot of GI issues like diarrhea, nausea, cramps/gas/bloating, loss of appetite and weight, and muscle aches.
- Salmonella is one of the most well-known bacteria you can get from eating undercooked chicken. Common symptoms include diarrhea, cramps, nausea/vomiting, and fever.
- Finally, another issue that can come about is food poisoning. This isn’t usually fatal but can be extremely uncomfortable for the person who is afflicted with it.
Chicken has a lot of bacteria. A lot of this has to do with the way chickens are raised, and like pigs, they will eat almost anything if they can.
So, if it isn’t cooked properly, you can end up getting whatever they have in their system into yours!
Ways to Safely Cook a Chicken
There are many ways to avoid getting sick from eating undercooked chicken. We have picked some popular ways to cook chicken and listened to them below!
- Chicken can be cooked on the stovetop in either a wok or pan. If you want to cook it in a wok, put some oil inside and wait for it to heat up. Once it heats up, cook the chicken until it’s golden brown and just cooked through. For pan frying, the method is similar, except you should be cooking it for 7 to 8 minutes total.
- Baking chicken in the oven is a great way to cook chicken. First, preheat the oven to 350, and once it’s done, put the chicken in a pan and then inside the oven. It should cook for about 30 minutes in total. This is the easiest way to cook the chicken because all you have to do is pop it in the oven,
- Finally, you can cook chicken by cooking it over a grill of BBQ. Make sure to follow the rules of whatever type of grill you have because all of them are different. The consensus is you put the chicken on the grill, cook it over moderate heat, and then flip it over.
These are the top three methods of cooking chicken. Not everyone has a grill, so chances are they will go with the oven or stovetop method.
Both are equally good methods, so use whatever one you feel will work best with the recipe you are cooking!
And there you go, all you chicken lovers out there! Now you know exactly what the internal temperature of a chicken is, how to check for it, the risks of eating undercooked chicken, and finally, ways to cook it properly.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer on hand, don’t worry because they are quite easy and affordable to get.
Once you get the hang of using the internal thermometer, it’ll become second nature to you. The best part about getting used to it is that you’ll be able to prevent yourself from getting very sick!
You might also be interested in the following:
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Swordfish?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Lamb?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of a Lobster Tail?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Steak?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Salmon?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Duck?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Turkey?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Meatloaf?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Pork?
- What Is the Right Internal Temperature of Cooked Fish?
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.