You’re cooking a chicken and aren’t sure if it’s ready to serve.
You can use a temperature probe to check the internal temperature. But what if you don’t check the right part of the chicken?
There are so many ways you could mess this up.
And you definitely don’t want to serve undercooked chicken to your guests.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about probing your chicken.
Where Do You Probe Chicken?
Place the probe thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken.
This will allow you to check the internal temp in the coldest part of the meat.
When probing an entire chicken, you will put the temperature probe in the chicken breast.
Make sure the probe does not touch the bone.
This will result in the most accurate reading.
If the internal temperature is 165°F, then the chicken is safe to serve.
How to Probe Chicken Breast
If you’re only cooking the breast meat, place the probe in the thickest part of the breast.
If you’re cooking a boneless chicken breast, you can probe anywhere.
If the breast has a bone in it, avoid touching the bone with the meat probe.
Want to know my favorite way to cook chicken breast? Try my smoked chicken breast recipe, they always come out juicy and flavorful.
How to Probe Chicken Thigh
If you’re cooking chicken thighs by themselves, you will probe them at the thickest part of the thigh.
Remember to avoid the bone.
When the probe touches a bone, it will give an inaccurate reading of the meat temperature.
How to Probe Spatchcocked Chicken
To measure the temperature of a spatchcock chicken, insert the meat probe in the thickest part of the chicken. This is usually the portion of breast meat.
Spatchcocking an entire chicken can decrease the cooking time.
It also results in more even seasoning and cooking.
If you want crispy skin, spatchcocking can also help you achieve that.
How to Use a Probe
Always insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat. Never let the probe touch the bone.
It is especially important to properly insert a probe when using high temperatures.
When meat cooks quickly, the different parts of the meat will cook at different speeds.
It can be easy to undercook or overcook if you are depending on an improperly placed probe.
After the chicken is fully cooked, check the temperature in multiple places.
Use an instant-read thermometer for quick results.
How to Cook a Chicken to Temp
Chicken should be cooked to a temperature of 165°F.
The dark meat of a chicken can be cooked up to 180°F. If the white meat gets cooked that hot, it will become dry.
Place the chicken with the chicken breast meat away from the heat source.
This will allow the chicken legs to cook faster than the breast.
If the breast reaches 165°F before the legs reach 180°F, you can remove the breast.
Carving the breast away from the rest of the chicken is the easiest way to do this.
Put the legs back in the oven until it reaches a temperature of 180°F.
Following these practices will result in juicy meat.
What Temperature to Cook a Chicken
Cooking temps will vary based on the cooking methods.
In an oven, you can use higher temperatures. In a smoker, you will want to use lower temperatures.
The lower the temperature, the more tender the meat will be.
At higher temperatures, the meat will be firmer and you’ll have crispy chicken skin.
We recommend smoking a chicken at 250°F.
If you’re roasting a chicken in the oven, we recommend preheating the oven between 300°F-450°F.
Choose the temperature based on your preferences.
It’s important to measure the temperature properly.
If you know how to use a meat probe, your job will become easier.
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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