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Parboiling chicken before grilling?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Corinna

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 05:45 AM

I'm getting ready for a big party next weekend, as mentioned in the punch topic. (Chatham Artillery Punch happily in the back of my fridge, fruit and all!) Luckily, I found a great sale on chicken legs, which I'm cutting up into drumsticks and thighs (freezing in the interim) to marinate in the wonderful Korean Spicy Paste Chicken recipe that I discovered in the discussion on chicken thighs, then grilling on the day.

Yesterday, a friend asked if I would be parboiling them before marinading to speed up cook time. This never occured to me, and I can see the advantages, but I am still unsure. Will the marinade take as well to parboiled meat? Will parboiling make the meat flavorless? I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!
Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna
Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

#2 Peter the eater

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 06:36 AM

I like the way steam and hot water cooks chicken. For wings or drumsticks, this works for me: cook through with steam, coat with flavor, then onto a very hot grill or broil. I don't put thick messy marinades on the gas grill because of the clean up -- broiling is easier and almost as good.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#3 Emily_R

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:04 AM

I've got to say I'm on the other side of this than Peter. It is hard for me to imagine that marinade will take as well to parboiled meat, and in addition, it seems like you're leaching lots of chicken flavor into the water when parboiling. Not to mention, its not as though chicken thighs and drumsticks take such a long time on the grill -- I really don't even see what the *need* to reduce cooking time would be.

#4 ChickenStu

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:34 AM

If anything, grill for flavor and color then finish them in the oven.

#5 Peter the eater

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:35 AM

If you precook the meat with a bit of water you get a flavorful base for the sauce, like with ribs.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#6 paulraphael

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 11:24 AM

I haven't done this with grilled chicken, but an option is to par cook by poaching in a flavorful stock. Even an easy court bouillon that you can whip together one or two hours before cooking the bird. The stock can serve as your cooking medium and your marinade, and can then be saved as the foundation for your next batch of chicken stock.

I think it's best to keep the poaching liquid just below the simmer. Dry the surface as well as you can before grilling.

#7 Corinna

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 05:11 AM

Thanks, all, for your input.
Since we're talking about 40 lbs of chicken, I've decided to go with the KISS principle and keep it simple. It doesn't sound like parboiling will save much time overall or on the day, and I'd rather not risk it with that amount of food or this number of guests.
I will experiment with this method though, as it had never occured to me and it may prove useful. Thanks again!
Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna
Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

#8 ray goud

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:03 PM

I used to do something like you mentioned, but I microwaved them instead of boiling. Uses a whole lot less energy, is very quick, and can be done at the last minute. I marinaded the chicken before the microwaving, which meant I got a bunch of marinated juice after the heating (to use as a "mop"), even though I drained the greater part of the marinade first. Seems to me that too many people ignore the multitude of uses for the ubiquitous microwave.
Ray

#9 BadRabbit

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:17 PM

When cooking whole pieces on the grill, I cook them sous vide to 138 with the marinade in the bag. I then take them out and immediately put them on the a very hot grill and cook until I like the color on the outside.

It makes a spectacularly moist chicken and you don't have to worry about taking a bite out of a drum and seeing blood run from the bone.


Technically, this makes for a longer cooking time but I don't usually count my time sous vide since it is practically "set it and forget it." As long as your not going to leave the chicken in for a really long time, you can practicaly ignore it until ready for the grill.

Edit: added final paragraph

Edited by BadRabbit, 28 June 2010 - 02:20 PM.


#10 BadRabbit

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:22 PM

Oops. I didn't see you were talking about 40 lbs. That is likely more capacity than most people have for Sous Vide.