Did you pull your chicken out of the sous vide machine and think: this sous vide chicken looks strange! You aren’t the only one. Before you think your sous vide chicken is ruined – hear this!
Today I am going into the nitty-gritty details about something all beginner sous vide enthusiasts will ask when they cook chicken…
What is this mushy mess?
Why does sous vide chicken look strange?
What if sous vide chicken is pink?
Can you eat it if it looks raw?
Although my first sous vide chicken was cooked years and years ago – I still remember the level of uncertainty when I pulled it out of the bag.
So what if sous vide chicken looks weird??
Here’s the bottom line: it’s okay, it just needs a finish! This is the “ugly” side of sous vide cooking!
The dirty little secret is that meat can look a little funky (this is chicken – – can you tell??) when it comes out of the sous vide bath. And that makes complete sense.
Remember your sous vide water bath cooked the meat low and slow — at only 140 degrees.
That’s crazy when you consider cooking chicken in an oven is usually done around 375-400 degrees.
This super low, super long cook means your meat and chicken come out very, very juicy, and flavorful. All the chicken juices stayed in that vacuum-sealed bag and the chicken was basically marinated in its own juices for an hour.
Here’s a fancy trick… learn how to cook sous vide chicken from frozen.
It’s fully cooked throughout, and if you eat it now you won’t get sick. What you need to make it look pretty for the plate– is to finish it on the outside and allow it to crisp a little.
Technically, this is not a requirement; it’s just a little aesthetic extra.
If you are using your chicken in another dish and don’t need that golden-brown crust you can use it straight out of the bag. For instance, I like to either pull apart the chicken for soup or chop it up to make sous vide chicken breast salad as it is *without finishing the outside of the chicken.
You can sous vide may different chicken dishes. See my guide on sous vide recipes with chicken to find something tasty.
When we entertain with sous vide cooking, I’ll often slather on some BBQ sauce and grill them or serve them in tacos.
It’s really easy to batch cook sous vide chicken in advance of cookouts and get togethers.
But what if your sous vide chicken is pink inside?
Pink chicken – that would probably freak anyone out!
But don’t stress– it’s just a color!
To be clear – I’m not saying to eat raw chicken, I just want you to know that it’s normal for it to be pinkish as long as the texture of the sous vide chicken is cooked and completely done.
That slow, long cooking time has killed more bacteria than a traditional cook does.
The long, slow aspect means the meat may not look ‘cooked’. It is! So long as the texture is right–tender and easy to pull apart with a fork– you are good to go.
What texture should sous vide chicken be like?
If you think your sous vide chicken texture is strange and you can’t pull it apart easily with a fork. You really shouldn’t need a knife to cut it – that’s how tender it should be.
So if the chicken is pink and not tender – then you are probably right. It’s not cooked fully.
What if your whole sous vide chicken is raw?
Once I had an issue with raw chicken when I was testing the recipe to sous vide a whole chicken. My Anova machine was on the fritz (you have no idea how many sous vide recipes I’ve made over the years!). It started to make a noise during the sous vide bath.
And since the machine wasn’t holding a temperature properly, the whole sous vide chicken was raw in some areas. Even though I spatchcock and carefully vacuum seal whole chicken before cooking it.
To fix this in time for dinner, I just stuck it in the oven at 400 degrees until the internal temperature reached what is save for oven-roasted chicken: 165 degrees.
For another version of my whole chicken recipe, try this one with oranges…. see the recipe for sous vide whole roast chicken.
Should chicken fully cooked sous vide smell bad?
Now, if you’re wondering why your sous vide chicken smells bad, that’s probably not a good sign!
Time to throw that away and make new dinner plans. Many people like to leave their sous vide chicken in the vacuum-sealed bag for a long period of time, in the refrigerator, of course. And yes, you can do this, if it has hit pasteurization.
If it’s begun to smell, though, you’ve saved it too long.
Personally – I’ve never left my chicken in the fridge for longer than a few days. We’re a hungry family with lots of food going in and out of the kitchen!
It always amazes me when people post photos of their food from the book!
Share your sous vide cooking
Aren’t the nuances of sous vide cooking interesting?? There are so many details that help get a recipe right – like knowing the right time and temperature for sous vide wings and learning the ins and outs of how to sous vide onions in beer.
I hope you’re completely satisfied with your food after learning more in this post. Have you got some sous vide chicken that doesn’t look strange– maybe even some that looks positively delicious?
Post a picture to show me how your chicken turned out, and tag me @sipbitego so I know to look you up! I love seeing photos of delicious food.
Feeding a few?? Try this sous vide a whole chicken.