I’ve been on a carnivore diet for over a decade, and poultry meat is a huge part of my diet.
I’ve tried pretty much all kinds of bird meat, and I’ve perfected my cooking technique for each one.
I’ll walk you through each poultry-cooking method and share my most valuable insights.
- Cooking poultry involves different methods depending on the type and cut of the bird; whole duck, chicken, and goose are best roasted.
- Chicken can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried, while duck requires more preparation and is best cooked in a cold pan to gradually increase heat.
- Turkey and goose are typically roasted, with the former requiring plenty of seasoning and the latter needing a combination of roasting and pan cooking for optimal results.
3 Ways to Cook Chicken
Below, I’ll share my favorite ways of cooking chicken so you can pick which one suits your taste best.
1. Cook Chicken Breasts
Skinless, boneless chicken breast is lean, low fat, and cooks quickly.
You can grill, bake, or pan-fry chicken breasts. You can grill whole breasts or cut them into strips and make fajitas.
If you decide to bake chicken breasts, do it in the center of a preheated oven at 190 degrees for up to half an hour.
If you fry chicken breast, make sure to turn them about every two minutes until the breast turns golden brown. Total frying time should be 12 minutes.
2. Cooking Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs have a higher fat content compared to chicken breast, so they are best used in recipes that need a lot of flavors.
Chicken thighs are best cooked low and slow so that the meat doesn’t dry. Cook them for 45 minutes for up to an hour at 190 degrees.
Alternatively, depending on your recipe, you can cook them in a slow cooker.
3. Cooking Whole Chicken
Chicken is one of the most versatile meats, and cooking whole chicken is the best way to get the most for your money. You can roast a whole chicken or cut it into parts and use it in different recipes.
Roast a raw chicken on 190 degrees for 20 minutes per pound, plus 15 more minutes. This comes down to 2 hours of cooking for a 5-pound chicken.
It’s imperative to avoid undercooked poultry, or you risk various health issues. The minimum internal temperature should be 160 degrees .
“Always use a food thermometer to check whether meat has reached a safe minimum internal temperature that is hot enough to kill harmful germs that cause food poisoning.”
- Food Safety, US government
The biggest challenge of cooking a whole chicken is preventing it from drying out. You should baste the chicken several times during the cooking process.
Also Read: How to Make Chicken in the Slow Cooker?
2 Ways to Cook Duck
Unlike chicken, duck requires more prep. Here are two ways I prefer when cooking this type of meat.
1. Cooking Duck Breast
If you’re cooking duck breast, start by scoring the fat. Make sure all the skin is removed, but don’t cut into the meat.
After you’ve removed the skin, season the duck breast with salt and pepper or marinade. There’s no need to add any oils or butter because duck breast is rich in natural fat.
You can use different cooking methods for duck breast, but I prefer to cook in a cold pan and gradually increase the heat. This way, the fat has a better chance of melting, and the center of the breast won’t be overcooked. The result is crispy skin and a tender middle.
2. Cooking Whole Duck
Cooking whole duck isn’t that different from cooking only the breast. Once again, start by scoring the skin on the duck’s breast in a diamond pattern.
Make sure not to cut the meat. Then poke the fatty parts of the duck so the fat can leak out. Season the whole duck with salt, inside and out.
You should roast the duck for about 3 hours at 350 degrees. Start with the breast side up, then turn after an hour, so it’s breast side down. Finally, the last 40 minutes should be breast side up again.
Baste the duck three times during the roasting process for optimum tenderness.
Read More: How to Cook Duck?
The Best Way to Cook Turkey
Cooking a whole turkey is similar to cooking whole, raw chicken. Once again, the most important thing is the weight.
You should roast a whole turkey for about 40 minutes per pound for the first 6 pounds. In case your whole turkey is heavier, add 45 minutes for every pound the bird is over this weight.
Turkey meat is mild tasting, so you should cook it with plenty of seasoning, herbs, and spices. Apply them both outside and under the turkey’s skin.
Cook the turkey low and slow to make sure it doesn’t dry out and baste from time to time. Finally, let the turkey rest for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.
The Best Way to Cook a Goose
Once again, the best way of preparing poultry is to roast it. However, cooking a whole goose is somewhat different from cooking a whole duck or chicken.
Start by roasting the goose for a while, and then slice off the breast.
Once the legs are done cooking, transfer the goose to a pan and finish cooking there. This will ensure you’ll get crispy skin and tender breast meat.
The cooking time for an 8-pound goose is an hour and 40 minutes. Of course, if your goose is smaller or larger, make sure to adjust the cooking time.
Prepping and Storing Poultry
Here’s how to prep and store poultry the right way:
Clean it — Wash the poultry, but also your hands, work surface, and all utensils you use to ensure the bacteria doesn’t spread to other foods.
Stuff at the right time — If you plan to stuff the whole bird, don’t do it too early. It’s best to stuff just before cooking. Also, the stuffing shouldn’t touch raw meat unless you plan to cook it right away.
Serve immediately after cooking —Don’t leave the poultry at room temperature for hours because bacteria will spread, especially in warm weather.
According to Amy Smith, ex-sous chef and founder of Foodlve.com, you need to keep cooked poultry (e.g. chicken, duck, and turkey) warm at about 140°F.
Alternatively, store them after 2 hours from cooking in the fridge or freeze to be reheated at another time.
When poultry is left out at room temperature for over 2 hours, dormant bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli (the main case of food poisoning) will multiply at an accelerated pace.
In fact, the number of bacteria can double every 20 mins.
As a result, millions of bacteria will be present in already-cooked poultry that has been sitting out for hours.
What Are the Methods of Cooking Poultry?
The methods of cooking poultry are moist (braising, boiling, stewing, steaming, stewing, and frying) and dry (grilling, roasting, baking, and broiling).
How Can You Prepare Poultry So It’s Safe to Eat?
To prepare poultry so it’s safe to eat, you should fully cook it. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached at least 160 degrees.
Cooking Poultry for Best Results
Generally, you shouldn’t cook chicken, duck, or other poultry quickly. It’s better to cook low and slow to make sure the fat renders out and the meat is tender and moist.
Make sure to follow the temperature guidelines mentioned above, and use a thermometer to check the meat’s internal temperature.
If you’re looking for a reliable poultry supplier, check out ButcherBox. They offer a large range of sustainably raised chicken and turkey meat — everything from drumsticks, chicken wings, bone-in chicken thighs, ground poultry meat, and more.
All of their poultry is humanely raised and USDA-certified organic, which is a huge bonus.