Food Safety Issues/Keeping roast chicken...

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Question
Hi Carol :)

I want to start roasting chickens and keeping the meat in the fridge every day or two so that I have quick meal options without having to cook all the time, and an easy source of protein...

But the last time I tried this I ended up making myself sick. I think part of the problem may have been that the chicken was allowed to soak in it's own juices while cooking - so I was thinking of maybe trying a pan with a rack to keep it drier.

And I wasn't really sure if I should put it straight in the fridge or let it cool gradually, or how I should store it.

Could you let me know how best to do this safely? It really would make a big difference to my health and stress levels if I can do this :)

Thanks for your help!

Answer
Hi Clancy,

Yes, it is safe to roast chickens and keep them in your refrigerator. Of course, before handling the raw chicken, make certain that you have washed your hands with soap and hot water and that you prepare the meat using clean utensils and cutting board. Here's how I'd do it for maximum safety:

1.  Don't wash the chicken before cooking it. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces when you wash the raw bird before roasting. Rinsing or soaking chicken does not destroy bacteria. Only cooking will destroy any bacteria that might be present on fresh chicken.

2.  Place the chicken on a wire rack set in a shallow roasting tin and grease the skin of the chicken with either butter or olive oil. Add your seasonings at this point.  Using a rack will ensure that the fat drips out of the bird and away from the meat.

3.  Place the chicken in a 375 degree F oven and every 20 minutes you should remove the chicken from the oven and with a spoon or a brush, pour or brush the fat and juices that have accumulated in the roasting tin, over the bird.

4.  The chicken is done when it reaches a minimum of 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the oven and leave it to rest for 15 - 20 minutes on a carving board. This will allow the juices to settle. You can then remove the chicken from the bone and place it in a shallow pan. Refrigerate the sliced chicken within 1 hour of removing from the oven.

5.  Use the refrigerated chicken within 3-4 days or freeze for future use.  Use the frozen sliced chicken within 6 months for highest quality.

Hope this answered all of your questions.  If not, please let me know.

Carol

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Carol Schlitt

Expertise

I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.

Experience

I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc - www.safeandsavorysolution.com

Organizations
National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

Education/Credentials
BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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