Chicken: partly raw, partly cooked? (smoked chicken)

I smoked a chicken on the grill yesterday. Set the “remote control” thermometer to let me know when the bird 175 degrees. That happened after about 5.5 hours. When that happened, I stuck in a regular thermometer and an instant-read thermometer into the breast. They were borderline. So I let it go another 15ish minutes.

At that point, all three thermometers insisted the breast was 180+ degrees, and the little plastic popup thingy had popped also, so we brought the bird inside.

Carved the breast. Juicy, looked cooked inside, outside layer was slightly pink but that’s to be expected with smoked meat.

Carved the legs. One leg bone came completely out of the meat with a gentle tug, which is usually a good thing. But the joints, when I tried pulling them apart, looked bloody. And some of the juices inside the cavity of the bird were red when I tilted it to let them run out. The meat itself looked cooked enough but I wasn’t quite ready to risk eating it.

So we stuck the rest of the bird in the oven for a half hour… and ate the breast meat anyway. Nobody’s throwing up or even feeling “off”, so clearly that was done enough.

Could we have eaten the dark meat? Anyone ever seen the juices still a bit red, and bloody joints, while the bird was really cooked and safe to eat?

I see it a lot when I smoke/slow cook chicken. It is especially prevalent with young birds. We’ve not gotten ill, either. Trust your thermometers.

Salmonella is killed at about 140 F. If any part of the bird was up to 180, then all of it was over 140 (especially considering that it was slow-cooked, which causes a very even temperature distribution). You’re safe.

It is a bit disconcerting to eat chicken like that, but as long as you trust your thermometers, you’ll be fine. I notice this also when I cook beer can chicken. the meat is so moist, it appears not done. I really don’t care for the texture either.

From this USDA fact sheet.

CMC +fnord!

Thanks, all - I guess we’ll eat the rest of that bird tonight (well we would have anyway, as it got cooked some more).

crowmanyclouds - interesting links. I didn’t know the meat could still be pink after cooking in an electric or gas oven. I knew about the pink outside when smoked, so I wasn’t surprised by that part.

It was just those juices, when all the websites that tell you what to look for, say “juices run clear” and there were juices that weren’t clear.

It’s also funny to find out that numerous sites list different temperatures (165, 175, 180) as done-ness. I tend toward overcooking anything, I fear. Just paranoid I guess.

May be time to splurge on some new thermometers, ones that I can calibrate by dipping in boiling water, so I have greater confidence in what they’re saying.