Caring for your chicken

Handling your chicken

  • Do not wash the chicken, as this increases the risk of cross contamination. As long as the chicken is cooked at a high enough temperature, the bacteria will be killed during the cooking process.
  • Cross contamination can be a major cause of food-borne illnesses. Wash and dry knives and chopping boards thoroughly in hot soapy water, and make sure cloths are rinsed frequently in hot, soapy water.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in hot, soapy water. When washing hands, use the 20+20 rule (wash for 20 seconds, dry for 20 seconds).
  • Make sure chopping boards, plates and utensils for raw and cooked poultry are kept separate. For example, do not put cooked poultry onto a dish that had raw poultry on it.

Storing your chicken

Chill

  • A chilly-bin is a good way of keeping chilled and frozen products cold when taking them home from the supermarket, especially in the summer. Do not leave poultry sitting in the car for hours before refrigerating.
  • Ensure poultry is stored in a fridge operating at a temperature between 2oC and 4oC.
  • Always cook poultry before the Best Before date, or freeze it on the day of purchase.
  • Frozen poultry should be stored at a temperature of minus 18oC or colder.
  • Always thaw poultry in the fridge or microwave; never on the kitchen bench at room temperature. Bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses thrive at room temperature - keep food either very cold or very hot.
  • If you are barbecuing, keep poultry in the fridge or a chilly bin until just before it is cooked.

Cover

  • Cover cooked poultry leftovers immediately after they have finished steaming and put them in the refrigerator. Make sure poultry leftovers are not in contact with any other foods, meat or meat juices.
  • Always store cooked poultry in a covered container at the top of the fridge, above raw poultry.
  • Cover all foods before storing, either inside or outside the fridge.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry covered and away from ready-to-eat cooked products, fruit and vegetables.
  • Store raw meats and poultry in the bottom of the fridge (to ensure juices don't drip onto other foods).
  • Always wrap uncooked poultry before you put it in the fridge.

Defrosting your chicken

  • If you have purchased one of our frozen whole chickens, or you have frozen our products yourself, they may need defrosting before use. Most chicken products should be defrosted in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, depending on the size of the product that you’re using.
  • Make sure you always defrost chicken in a dish or pan, and at the bottom of your fridge below cooked meats and fresh vegetables to avoid juices dripping onto other foods.

Cooking your chicken

BBQ

  • Poultry cooks best over hot coals, not flames.
  • To ensure poultry is properly cooked, it is recommended to pre-cook bone-in portions such as drums, nibbles and thighs in a microwave first, before finishing the cooking on the barbeque.
  • Pre-cooking also helps prevent charring of bone-in portions. Make sure that the poultry is kept chilled after pre-cooking until you are ready to cook it on the barbeque.
  • Test large cuts by skewering the flesh in the deepest part. If it's cooked, the juices will run clear, not pink, and the poultry will feel firm and springy to the touch.
  • If you have a meat thermometer, measure the temperature in the thickest part of the meat, where it should have reached 74oC. If you do not have a meat thermometer and are not sure if the poultry is cooked properly, it is recommended to complete the cooking in the microwave.
  • Boneless portions are best cubed and threaded onto skewers. Cooking time is dependent on size of portion and temperature of fire.

Microwave

  • Whole birds (without stuffing) require 15 minutes/500g on medium-high, plus 5 minutes standing time.
  • Whole, stuffed poultry should be cooked in a microwave oven in accordance with the packaging instructions.
  • Bone-in portions need 8-10 minutes/500g on medium-high, plus 5 minutes standing time.
  • Turkeys and ducks require 10-15 minutes/500g on medium high.
  • Times will be dependent on individual microwave power. The higher the wattage of a microwave oven, the faster it will cook food. If you don't know the wattage of your microwave oven, try looking on the inside of the oven's door, on the serial number plate on the back of the oven, or in the owner's manual.
  • The above cooking times are for a 1000 watt microwave. Use the above cooking times if your microwave is of a similar wattage; for less powerful ovens, more time may be needed.

Reheating your chicken

  • Reheat leftovers to at least 70oC for a minimum of two minutes, and do not reheat chicken more than once.
  • If reheating in the microwave, turn or stir the chicken regularly to ensure the reheating is even.
  • Cover dishes to retain as much moisture as possible and to assist in reheating the food all the way through.

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