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Rinsing Chicken and other proteins


tirgoddess
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As a home cook, I have always rinsed chicken prior to preparing. Last night at super club, one of our members said that there is no need to rinse chicken. At work I have insisted upon it and someone even said that they rinse hamburger prior to preparation. What is the safe and proper handling method for meats and poultry prior to prep?

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We don't rinse protein where I am. Properly cooking it to the safe temperature destroys harmful bacteria. Additionally, washing it may increase the chances of cross contamination if you aren't careful, and from a cooking perspective the additional liquid will delay browning and encourage steaming. Unless you have space to store the protein and allow it to dry some, a rare commodity in the restaurant world.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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As bandregg stated, the risks of cross-contamination are increased when poultry and meats are rinsed prior to use. Having done some research recently for a basics cooking book (for home cooks) that I was the expert consultant for, it's been determined that there is nothing to be gained from rinsing these proteins and, in fact, rinsing will likely spread bacteria to other surfaces.

The only exception would be fish and seafood. In this case, rinsing off scales and other matter is advisable.

Edited by FlavoursGal (log)
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I rinse cuts of meat that I grind at home. I figure most of the harmful bacteria is on the surface and that's why ground beef has a higher risk factor than a steak eaten rare. Cross contamination is a concern and I've read that rinsing is not needed and is not advised but in this application I feel it's a benefit.

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At our restaurant we rinse chicken breast. This is mostly to get rid of the slimy kind of feel to them supposedly. It never made much sense to me as after we rinse them we then store them in marinade, so it seems like a waste of time. It's what the chef wants though, and we are very careful to avoid cross contamination possibilities.

At home when I'm roasting chickens I rinse them, but then give them time to dry, so that the skin is nice and crispy. Not sure if it's necessary, but it's the way I was taught, s i just keep it up.

Other than that I only rinse fish, mostly whole fish so that that some of the slimy coating is removed.

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I have never ever rinsed chicken (or any other meat). I cannot for the life of me figure out why on earth one would do it. If your chicken really is laden with bacteria, a simple rinse isn't going to do anything. It is totally puzzling to me.

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I have never ever rinsed chicken (or any other meat). I cannot for the life of me figure out why on earth one would do it. If your chicken really is laden with bacteria, a simple rinse isn't going to do anything. It is totally puzzling to me.

exactly!

Rinsing chicken is the first step to never getting truly crispy skin. It's also a pointless waste of time bacteriologically speaking. And meat...god no. what a shame so many people do it- pat it dry and cook, that's it.

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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julia used to say yes, jacques said no. (or was it the other way around?) i don't rinse.

I seem to recall that they were both against the practice. I don't rinse poultry, unless it's the frozen kind with that nasty gooey watery stuff, which I rinse out of revulsion and not necessarily for safety or flavor.

I would never consider rinsing a steak or, god forbid, hamburger. However, I have been known to rinse a fish or two when scaling does not go as smoothly as planned.

----------------------------

UPDATE!!

----------------------------

I tried to find where Julia Child said don't wash chickens, but I could not find it (although I did find lots of evidence of Pepin's, sometimes strong, opposition to the practice). I'm now thinking you were right. It seems that woman washed and cleaned everything, meticulously, and I just don't see why chickens would be any different. I read in another post on this board, that I could not link to for some reason, that she said the French don't wash their chickens, but nothing about her own poultry handling practices.

Edited by fiftydollars (log)
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Here's something it took me a while to realise: Meat doesn't get brown if you rinse it. That layer of red stuff on the surface of meat is the stuff that turns brown. If you take it off, all meat does is get grey. Sure, if you cook it enough, it'll eventually turn brown but unrinsed meat browns like a charm and rinsed meat is a bitch to brown.

PS: I am a guy.

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I rinse cuts of meat that I grind at home.  I figure most of the harmful bacteria is on the surface and that's why ground beef has a higher risk factor than a steak eaten rare.   Cross contamination is a concern and I've read that rinsing is not needed and is not advised but in this application I feel it's a benefit.

Sorry to disappoint you, scubadoo, but rinsing your meat before grinding it in no way removes the bacteria that may be coating the surface. If this were the case, e-coli poisoning resulting from eating undercooked burgers would be a very easily prevented (and eliminated) problem.

Sure wish it were true, though, and all those hamburger joints would agree to my requests for my burger cooked to medium, rather than burnt to a crisp.

Edited by FlavoursGal (log)
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I don't understand why anyone would think that rinsing with water cleans anything.

You don't consider your hands clean if you just run cold water over them, do you?

At least I hope you don't.

Rinsing to get scales or bone chips or other stuff off is fine, but unless you are using disinfectant or soap on your meat you are just spreading bacteria around.

sparrowgrass
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Oh, I forgot to mention I use soap :raz: But really I full understand that it will not eliminate bacteria but I like to think it reduces the number by some factor. I think of that absorbent pad used in packaged meats that is soaked in blood and the meat sitting there a few days and feel that if I rinse it off well there would be less germs. It would make a good school science project to culture one rinsed and one unrinsed to see if you got the same amount of bacterial growth. I remember in microbiology we cultered items that had been only wiped with a dry paper towel and it did reduce the bacteria significantly. During hand washig soap is not so toxic to germs but helps them slide off.

Chicken I never rinse. Fish I'll rinse to remove any scales or other foreign matter and pat dry.

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How about a short soak in a really salty vinegar brine? Wouldn't that serve the double purpose of killing surface bacteria, as well as imparting some flavor and helping to draw proteins out to the surface/skin?

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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RP, I was thinking about that right after my last post. Vinegar would help reduce surface bacteria and could be washed off very easily. Salt would help also. I like hamburgers medium, with a pink warm center or even medium rare. I make raw kibbeh and have never gotten sick but would like to reduce the chances of E. coli. Except for ground beef most things are going to be cook through so it's a non issue. Salmon and tuna I like rare but contamination by vibrio is not a surface problem in seafood so you take your chances.

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A couple of years ago we had one of those public information ad campaigns encouraging us not to rinse our chickens, for the cross-contamination reason. The message was: "Don't be a chicken-splasher." Odd, line, but I have remembered the advice.

Catherine

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