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I'm currently involved in a food startup and we're refining our process for product quality. We fry Bone-In breasts, Dark quarters, Wings and Boneless breasts. The challenge I'm currently facing is ensuring chicken is fully cooked (165F) but not overcooked (170F for white, 180F for dark). My main issue is getting an accurate temperature reading:

  1. Do I need to go with the lowest temperature reading? Sometimes I'll get ~140F in one temping, but another place on the same piece I'll get ~170F
  2. What do I need to be careful of in order to ensure an accurate temperature? I know it's hotter closer to the surface than internally, but I've also heard I need to avoid hitting bones as they get hotter than meat; are there any other outliers like this?
  3. How much might fried chicken increase in temperature after sitting. For instance, If I pull a piece from the fryer @155F can I expect it'll reach 165F after sitting 5-10 minutes?
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    What type of thermometer are you using? – logophobe May 27 '14 at 23:08
  • It's digital, based on the descriptions at this site I'm guessing it's "thermistor" style. fightbac.org/component/content/article/2/… – two_OMind May 29 '14 at 14:00
  • If it's digital the sensor is most likely located in the tip of the probe or just behind it, so you should be able to position it pretty easily. Make sure you wait at least a few seconds for an accurate reading. Repeat as described below and you should be able to narrow in on an ideal cooking time for this range. You may just have to eat some of the experimental batches - tragic, I know. – logophobe May 29 '14 at 14:04
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While not specifically an answer to your measurement question, you might consider cooking your chicken low-temp (sous vide) to ensure optimal doneness, then just quickly deep fry for crust formation. That would guarantee safety and specific temp. for specific parts of the bird. See here, for example: http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/sous-vide-fried-chicken

  • I'm definitely a fan of sous vide, the space we're in actually has a few industrial sized machines. Might have to give this a try, thanks! – two_OMind May 29 '14 at 13:56
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I would suggest using a thermometer to ensure the inside temperature is 74°C (165°F). Try writing a process for frying the chicken, so this does not have to be done during the rush. (I am guessing you run a big kitchen). Make one or two tests noting the time needed to reach the desired temperature.

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    Make that 2-3 tests for each type of cut that you're serving. Be sure that you're measuring at the thickest part of the chicken for breasts and midway between bones and skin for quarters and wings. Make sure you know exactly where the sensor is in your thermometer because they do vary and you need to position it carefully. If you're using heat lamps, you can expect some carryover, but don't count on any more than 5 degrees F. – logophobe May 28 '14 at 0:13
  • This is what I've been doing, I definitely want to be able to rely on time. I'll have to find out where the sensor is and I'll run more tests! – two_OMind May 29 '14 at 13:52

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