Who Would Have Thought the Old Bird Had So Much Blood In Him?
February 3, 2010 3:50 PM   Subscribe

I got all fired out from watching "Food Inc" and bought a chicken from one of the local farms instead of the supermarket. I'm roasting it right now, and I'm notice blood is coming out the cavity. I believe I pulled all the giblets out (no plastic bag - that was a fun discovery), and I washed it, but I've never had a chicken produce so much blood before. Is this normal? And, more importantly, can I eat this, provided I get the meat up to a safe temperature?
posted by bibliowench to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
What temperature is it at, and how long have you been roasting it?

In my experience, the sight of blood means it's underdone -- nothing else. It just means, if it's chicken, you wait.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:56 PM on February 3, 2010


It's still cooking, and I assume it has about 15-20 more minutes left. But when I went to turn it, a lot of red liquid poured out of the cavity.
I'm a recently reformed vegetarian, so meat makes me nervous. Bloody meat, doubly so.
posted by bibliowench at 3:58 PM on February 3, 2010


Yep, chickens are blood bags like other animals. After butchering, the farm probably didn't go to as many pains to drain the blood as your supermarket's provider did. I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:58 PM on February 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Chicken blood & giblets means tasty gravy.

Yes you'll be totally fine as long as it's cooked properly.
posted by carlh at 4:09 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is totally fine and normal, although I'd wager that it has longer to cook than another 15-20 minutes if you just started seeing the bloody juices.

You might want to invest in a cooking thermometer; it is really useful for getting "doneness" especially if you don't eat or cook meat often, are paranoid, or want your food cooked "just so".
posted by shownomercy at 4:13 PM on February 3, 2010


My Jewish friend Bonnie used to always soak her chickens in salted water ostensible to draw the blood out, but I've seen that technique described simply to produce tastier birds. But for next time, if you are squicked out, you might try that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:28 PM on February 3, 2010


Does the farm sell kosher chickens? If so, they will already have the blood drained when you buy them. But to answer your question - the blood is normal, it just means that it's not done yet. When it's done, all of the juices will be clear.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:39 PM on February 3, 2010


In the future, brining it vertically in a stockpot or somesuch will help reduce the amount of blood you end up cooking with. Brining is best done with enough water to cover the chicken enriched by a handful of kosher or rock salt, a hearty dash of vinegar, and a bit of sugar. You can also toss in herbs like rosemary and coriander, and whole black peppercorns never go astray.

It's a mix of better taste, better browning, and giving the blood somewhere to go before you get it into the pot. 2hrs minimum, 24hrs is best. Must be able to stay in the fridge. Don't brine a bird horizontally (on back or belly) because that defeats the whole purpose. Butt down is the very best way to start the bird, but flip it 1/2-2/3 of the way through for even drainage & coating.

Any bird I've ever made this way has turned out terrific and nearly bloodless (important in my all-former-veg family).
posted by batmonkey at 4:47 PM on February 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is it actual blood, or the reddish juices that look kinda like thin blood?

If it was actual blood, I wouldn't eat it. Not because blood can do anything bad to you, but because I would fear that improper butchering went on and lord knows what else is in there.

Cooking to the correct temperature kills bacteria, but generally does very little to alleviate other toxins.
posted by gjc at 5:12 PM on February 3, 2010


You mean reddish but still clear liquid, right? The first time I ever bought a local/organic chicken I had the same experience and totally freaked out - but ate it anyway. And every organic local sustainable blah blah chicken I've cooked since then has been the same way - I think mass-produced birds go through some process that diminishes the blood/reddish liquid. (And I'm not sure I want to know what it is!)
posted by chez shoes at 6:15 PM on February 3, 2010


If it was actual blood, I wouldn't eat it. Not because blood can do anything bad to you, but because I would fear that improper butchering went on and lord knows what else is in there.

If the chicken has been freshly killed, there's likely to still be a lot of blood left in the meat. Fresh game birds are like this, unless you hang them (or brine them) long enough to drain the blood out of the flesh. It's probably going to be incredibly juicy.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:22 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you find the blood distasteful, you may be able to find a Kosher supplier. Kosher slaughter drains most of the blood out of the animal.

Otherwise, it's perfectly normal.
posted by Electrius at 7:16 PM on February 3, 2010


Not a big deal. It's not a sign of improper butchering - it's a sign of freshness and a healthier way of raising the chicken that didn't put it through a long industrial processing.

I roasted just such a chicken yesterday, and when I pulled the very-long-cooked carcass apart, noted the bright crimson blood still in the spine and joint areas. This means good quality, freshness, and better nutrition.
posted by Miko at 8:05 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


If it was actual blood, I wouldn't eat it. Not because blood can do anything bad to you, but because I would fear that improper butchering went on and lord knows what else is in there.

Huh? Meat is supposed to contain blood.
posted by desuetude at 8:53 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


A friend worked in a raw chicken processing factory, where a lot of your supermarket-type birds come from. He described a step of the carcasses being floated in a large tank (for, among other reasons, adding water weight to the meat so it could be sold for more). Organic and farm-direct birds don't go through this processing step, which would be a reason why you see more blood with them. If the juices from the deep thigh run clear when pierced, it's done, regardless.
posted by Cuppatea at 12:18 AM on February 4, 2010


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