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Basic Chicken Cooking Tips

By Martin Gandhi | Submitted On July 03, 2011

Chicken is quite versatile and can serve as the cornerstone for making tasty and nutritious meals. There are so many things you can do with it. Let's look at preparation and cooking tips that will have you and those you share meals with super impressed with your dishes.

Chicken Cooking Tips - Preparation Methods

We'll look at wet and dry seasonings and spices we can use to prepare our poultry. If you are pressed for time you should use dry seasonings since marinades need time to have the flavoring absorb into the chicken. Ingredients I love to use in my marinade include:

• Teriyaki or soy sauce (or half of each for a nice combined flavor)

• Olive oil

• Fresh lemon juice

• Liquid smoke

• Worcestershire sauce

• Minced garlic

• Splash of Jim Beam or your favorite bourbon

If you're in the mood for using dry seasonings, these are some of my favorites:

• Montreal Chicken seasoning

• Ground black pepper

• Chili powder

• Garlic powder

• Onion powder

• Ground red cayenne pepper

• Paprika

• Tenderizer (helps keep it tender and from drying out during cooking)

A favorite way for many to make chicken is with classic barbeque sauce. Of course you can go to the store and grab your favorite bottle, but if you're like me, you like to add your own personal touch, even if this means making your own barbeque sauce. I like mine spicy. Here are the basic ingredients, but by no means are you limited to these:

• Chili sauce (or ketchup)

• Brown sugar

• Olive oil

• Vinegar

• Liquid smoke

• Worcestershire sauce

• Tomato paste

• Hot sauce (optional)

Of course, there are plenty of more-involved recipes you can try out and experiment with. Let's move on to the cooking phase.

Chicken Cooking Tips - Cooking Procedures

So using one of the above seasoning methods, or your favorite recipe, your chicken is now ready to cook. The best ways of cooking poultry are by:

• Baking

• Sautéing

• Frying

• Grilling

Baking is a convenient, non-messy way to cook poultry. Easy clean up as well - just remove and throw away the foil from the pan and you're all done. Preheat the oven (or the toaster oven) to 375 - 425 degrees, place the chicken in a foil-covered baking pan and place in the oven. For thin pieces, I'll usually cook them at 375 for around 12 minutes. For thicker pieces the cooking temperature will be 425, between 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness. The main worry with baking is overcooking, as chicken tends to dry out in the oven if cooked too long. To be safe, cut a small piece to test. Keep in mind the chicken continues to cook after it's taken out of the oven, so it is okay to take out of the oven if slightly rare.

I'll sauté my chicken when I'm in the mood for stir-fry. It goes fantastic with red peppers, onions and snow peas. I like to slice the breasts into thin strips, which allows more of the surface area to be smothered in the sautéing juices.

Fried chicken is a classic. Roll or dip the poultry in your favorite breading or batter and toss in the deep fryer. Not much beats the taste of good old fashioned fried chicken. It cooks really quick in the deep fryer - usually five minutes or so. You are guaranteed to have juicy, tender chicken when you fry it because the batter and oil will help seal in the juices. I don't eat as much fried now as when I was younger because I'm watching my health and waistline, but boy did I always love the taste and aroma of fried chicken.

For many people, especially now that spring is here, and summer is approaching, nothing beats the taste of chicken fresh off the grill. Follow these steps when grilling:

• Get the grill nice and hot

• Put the chicken on the grill on has the flames nice and high

• Cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook 1-2 minutes on high flames

• Reduce the flames to medium, then continue to cook, flipping every 2-3 minutes

• After 10 minutes total cooking time (a little longer for thick pieces), chicken should be done

This sears the chicken on the outside, giving it a bit of a crunchy or crispy texture, while keeping it moist and tender on the inside. When grilling barbeque chicken, be sure to have spare sauce to rub on it at the end of cooking as some will have burnt or fallen off.

We hope you enjoyed these tips for cooking chicken, and that they help you prepare entrees that the whole family will love.

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