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Chicken breast meat close to the bone. Dark pices are ground pepper

I cooked a medium sized chicken spatchcocked with the backbone removed and the bird flattened after I cracked open the breastbone "star" with a sharp knife. The bird was placed skin side up on a sheet tray, seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil. It was then baked in a 220C non-convection oven for ~ 90 minutes and the meat was tender, juicy and opaque. The bones pulled easily from the drumsticks and thighs and multiple tests on the thickest part of the meat with a calibrated thermometer showed the temperature to range between 85-95C. The food safe temperature for cooked chicken is 75C.

Today when I came to remove the rest of the meat from the carcass, I discovered this bloody piece close to the breastbone. The meat surrounding it was cooked, it was almost like a small island amongst the sea of cooked meat.

  1. Did this happen because I split the breastbone with a knife to flatten the bird?
  2. What is the best practice under these crcumstances? I have discarded this piece and intend to stir-fry the remainder
  3. How can I avoid this again? The rest of the bird was delicious, but this is my first attempt at cooking a bird this way but I don't want to risk food poisoning in future.
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2 Answers 2

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This is likely a harmless vein. I often find veins close to the breastbone or drumsticks. They don't look appetizing, but are usually nothing to worry about if the bird is cooked to proper temperature.

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I would say traumatic injury to the bird, at, or around the time of death. I don't think this is a result of you spatchcocking the bird unless it was very close to when it was killed and the blood was still liquid (i.e not congealed/clotted).

With those cooking temps and times you aren't likely to have any uncooked parts, and it is likely to be safe to eat that part as well as the rest of the chicken. I agree that it is unsightly and off-putting, but cutting it out and discarding is fine.

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