Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food - Modernist Cuisine

Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food

MCMarch 14, 2011

Scientific American

Scientific American magazine has published a lengthy excerpt of from the Food Safety Rules chapter of Modernist Cuisine. Ever wonder where all those official guidelines for cooking pork, chicken, and other foods came from? Do they reflect rigorous scientific research, or just the codification of cultural preferences? Get the full scoop here, and learn why you really don’t need to cook your chicken breasts and pork chops to oblivion in order to make them safe to eat.

Scientific American also has created a fascinating slideshow of some of the more amazing photos in the book. It’s titled “A New View of Food and Cooking.”

Chicken breasts cooked to (L to R) 52 C, 55 C, 60 C, and 80 CChicken breasts cooked(left to right) to 52 C / 126 F, 55 C / 131 F, 60 C / 140 F,
and 80 C / 176 F. Notice how the meat shrinks and dries out at higher cooking temperatures.

3 Responses to “Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food”

    • Just go ahead and leave the inside a little uncooked. If you cut open a piece of cooked chicken, it should have lost that sort of jelly look and feel of raw meat without having become white and stringy. It’s ok if it’s still slightly pink, you won’t die.

    • Carl-Johan Kjellander

      @Madel: the trick is to lower the temperature in the oven/sous-vide bath you are using. If you put a good oven on 60C (I’m European) there is no way for the meat to become overcooked. (Actually not entirely true since the oven might vary +- 10 degrees, check with a digital thermometer inside the oven).

      Sure it will take a lot longer, and you won’t get a crispy skin. The latter is fixed by taking for instance the chicken out, and letting it rest and cool a tiny bit, turn the broiler on full whack, rub butter or oil over the chicken and do a quick broil until the skin is golden. The former is fixed by just using a bit lower temperature, and checking core temperature all the time. Take a tenderloin of pork, rub in salt, pepper and lots of rosemary, put it in a 125C oven and remove when the alarm on your digital thermometer buzzes at 65C, cover with aluminium foil and let rest and watch the temp reach 68C. Then enjoy this super easy and super juicy porky goodness.