I cook and freeze chicken and poultry to use for meals later. I'm finding that the meat is very dry. Any suggestions on how to prevent this from occurring?
Thanks to the editors for posting all the previous replies about dry chicken ~ <P>
I should clarify -- the chicken is fine after being cooked, it is when I freeze it and it thaws out that it becomes dry. So I am havig issues with the freezing step.
By Claudia-MD (Guest Post) 04/09/2008
If you don't mind not having nice, crispy skin, you can do what I do and cook a whole chicken or breasts in a crock pot. Just season and add a little water or broth to prevent sticking. It comes out delicious, tender and very juicy. It takes a few hours but you can tell when its done by cutting into it at the joint and make sure the meat is no longer pink and that the juice is not running with blood.
I am chuckling about this because everyone is giving you cooking tips but that isn't your issue. It is how the chicken comes out after freezing it. the only thing I can think of is that you freeze it in some juice/gravy as well, then when it thaws it will thaw in the juice unless of course if you grill it. This is a tough one because I am not sure there is a definite solution. Sorry I wasn't much help.
What works for me is to cook my chicken in a crockpot versus oven. I like dark meat chicken, so I will buy family packs (when on sale) of boneless thighs, cook in crockpot on a weekend afternoon. Shred or cube chicken, and store in freezer bag. I also make sure to get as much air out of the freezer bag as possible..I think this may help as well. I make casseroles and chicken salad, etc. during the week from this chicken, and I haven't had any dry chicken yet from the freezer. Hope this might work for you.
Skinless chicken will dry out alot faster than if you buy chicken with the skin on it. No matter how you prepare it, buy the chicken with skin. You can always take the skin off after you prepare it. You'll have a more moister meat and more flavor. Best of luck!
By crazyliblady (Guest Post) 04/15/2008
1) I use one of those Reynolds Handi Vac machines in order to package up bulk chicken pieces for freezing. It gets all the air out of the bag and helps to insure it is fresh when I am ready to cook it.
2) As for the actual cooking process, I use organic olive oil for baking. I guess any oil would do for this, but I use organic olive oil for health reasons. It helps to insure that the chicken doesn't get dried out during cooking. I bake my chicken in a pan and cover it with either a glass lid or foil. Cooking with a slow cooker could work, too, but I don't have one.
By bobadi (Guest Post) 07/04/2008
Soak in brine overnight. That is the only way to moisten, (as said in the other post). Get real and do it, you will not be sad, but you will be glad. Do it now: for tomorrow will be yum.
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