Makes your beer taste like salmonella

I’m following certain pieces of advice in making a roasted chicken tonight, much from the mouth/hand of Thomas Keller and his wonderful Ad Hoc at Home cookbook. One thing has me a touch frightened though – right now, I have a raw, uncovered chicken in my fridge.

I remember growing up and seeing videos in Home Ec class in middle school that showed the dangers of raw chicken and eggs. They typically showed the “infected areas” as glowy, fluorescent and crawling with creepy and hairy-looking bacteria. Everywhere the raw chicken went, the room itself turned all Chernobyl (too soon for a Fukushima reference?). I remember waiting for people’s faces to start melting off, weird growths and tumors and hairy sprouts emerging on someone’s back, people generally screaming in terror and running in the streets from the horrors of raw chicken!

Its a wonder I actually ate chicken again after that.

Anyway, per instructions, last night I cleaned the chicken, patted it dry, then placed it on a plate, uncovered, in my fridge. I’ll try to snap a picture at some point, but this particular roaster is a droopy fellow who fills the plate widely and limply.

Flaccid is the word I was looking for …

So I found myself in full anxiety last night every time I opened the fridge. I could just see the whole place filling with noxious chicken gasses and invisible armies of salmonella, intent on destroying my bowels (ergo my toilet/plumbing). Each time the door was cracked was like another ticket for the Double Evacuation Lottery. Would it seep into other things in the fridge? Would it infect my beers? My french onion dip? Could it possibly impregnate my chicken eggs?!?!

My fears are only assuaged by the knowledge that every restaurant I have worked in had walk-in fridges with uncovered meat abound. Further, this is advice published in a cookbook, so there’s gotta be some kind of legal something or other there, right?

Allegedly, the process of drying and sitting uncovered in the fridge will suck some of the moisture from the skin, which in turn will allow it to crisp more thoroughly in the cook. Sounds delicious! Have any of you tried this?

Next step is to remove it from the fridge with enough time to get to room temperature before cooking (a trick everyone should know about for cooking any meat!). At that point, I will need to cover it, as I believe the temptation of an entire raw chicken may prove too much for Kir to handle.

Anyway, raw chicken concerns aside, I hope you’re looking forward to dinner tonight, neighbors!

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3 thoughts on “Makes your beer taste like salmonella

  1. Can’t wait!

    I didn’t realize meat should be brought to room temp before cooking. Doesn’t this create more of a food contamination issue?

    At least Audrey, Nimbus and Kir can take care of us if we all get sick!

    • I have done some more reading on the issue, and here’s what I have found …

      The issue of contamination occurs within certain temperature ranges where salmonella can exist. Those temperature ranges are typical room temperatures. Chicken in the fridge is fine, you just want to make sure its not touching anything else. chicken on the counter is also fine as long as you cook the chicken to high enough temperatures to kill any bacteria (which, since its getting roasted, I can assure you I will).

      The bigger issue appears to be to clean up any surfaces and things the raw meat (any raw meat) has touched, as THAT could become a breeding ground for bacteria.

      Basically, as long as you keep the meat from touching anything else, then cook it properly, you’re good to go.

      As for the room temp thing – at room temp, meat will cook more evenly, more quickly, and will allow for better “crusting” or browning. I always leave steaks out for 45 minutes to an hour before cooking them (so I get a great crust on them), and I try to leave chicken wings out as it significantly reduces the cook time in the fryer.

  2. The bacteria will be on the surface of the meat and that gets sterilized.

    And yes, I’ve done both the room temperature and drying the chicken.

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