Chicken is the most commonly eaten type of poultry worldwide and its popularity is due in part to delicious flavor and the versatility. Every cooking method can be successfully used to prepare it and it is a wonderful vehicle for sauces and other flavorings, from Mexican moles to Chinese glazes to a Southern fried batter. Many recipes call for baking the bird, or cutting it into pieces and then baking. Chicken has two distinct types of meat: white and dark. These two types of meat require slightly different treatments. Below are separate directions, which assume the chicken is already cut up, for each type so you can be sure to get the most from your baked chicken pieces.
Ingredients for the white and dark meat:
• 9×12 baking dish
• Meat thermometer
• Chicken breast and wings (white) or thighs and drumsticks (dark)
On a chicken, the only portion that is made of white meat is the breast and tenders. Since these pieces are very lean, they do not have extra fat in them to keep them juicy after it has been baked. If possible, leave the skin on these portions so that the fat from the skin will seep into them and keep them moist.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
• Remove the breast from the package and rinse it off if desired, but this step is not necessary since all bacteria will be destroyed by the heat of the oven.
• Place the meat into the pan and if the skin has been removed from the breast, coat it with a thin layer of oil.
• Sprinkle on seasonings such as rosemary, garlic or salt and pepper.
• Place the chicken into the preheated oven and cook for thirty minutes.
• Check the temperature with the thermometer, and when it reaches 170 degrees F, remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for at least five minutes before cutting. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the portion.
Dark meat is darker in color because these cuts have a high iron and fat content. These things, along with the meat’s proximity to the bone, allow for a very flavorful piece of meat. The higher fat content also means that it will not dry out in the oven as quickly as the white meat portions and the cooking time and temperature is more versatile; it may be cooked for a shorter time but higher temp or vice versa.
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
• Remove the thighs or drumsticks from the package and rinse if desired.
• Place the portions in the baking dish and sprinkle with seasonings or slather with barbeque sauce.
• Bake at 400 degrees F for twenty minutes.
• Check the temperature with a thermometer as above for white meat.
Other parts of the chicken are eaten in various parts of the world including the feet, back and neck, buttocks and the egg.