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Since chicken breast does not have much fat, it can overcook (and thus get dry) very quickly in the temperatures required for a sear. Therefore I always end with either flavorful (but dry) chicken, or juicy (but flavorless) chicken.

What is the way to get the best of the both worlds, which is to have browned chicken that is juicy and moist?*

*No sous vie please

  • People often sear in combination with sous vide, but it wouldn't be an answer to your question even if you did want to try sous vide: if anything, it's harder to avoid overcooking when searing with sous vide, because you've already fully cooked the meat. – Cascabel Dec 12 '16 at 2:41
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    I eat no chicken, cook no chicken. Is "blowtorch" an appropriate solution here? – rackandboneman Dec 12 '16 at 14:42
  • I started to ask the same question(in order to simultaneously answer it), but quickly discovered it was a dupe. ATK has taught me a great technique. I've got a great answer to this question, I'll write an answer this weekend – Jolenealaska Dec 17 '16 at 16:15
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You have two options:

  1. A very hot sear on both sides, then move it to a cooler oven (about 350 to 400°F (175 to 205°C) or indirect heat on a grill) to finish.

  2. Cook it in an oven at a lower temperature (350 to 400°F again) until the middle is cooked through (or a few degrees off for carry-over), then sear on a hot pan or grill.

I can't remember who did it, but there was some testing for how thick the overcooked portion was on steaks, and they found it better to sear after. I would assume the same would be true for poultry.

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