For a long time now it has been generally accepted that chicken can be infected with harmful bacteria if ingested uncooked. It is also generally accepted that chicken is perfectly safe to eat should it be cooked properly, the WHOLE OF THE BIRD reaching a minimum temperature of 75 C (168F) for a minimum of 15 minutes.
This has repercussions in the way we prepare chicken, and the following information is true for all poultry and should also be borne in mind for game birds such as pigeon and grouse.
Firstly, we no longer stuff a chicken cavity for birds that are to be air cooked in an oven. Boiling birds (as in ‘poule au pot’ for example) can be stuffed because the heat is more efficiently transmitted to the carcass.
Secondly birds should not be cooked trussed, but rather the cavity should be open to the hot air of the oven to allow cooking equally inside and out.
Thirdly, rare chicken meat is not to be consumed.
It is no longer acceptable simply to pierce the meat to check for softness or for clear running liquids, you should invest in a good meat thermometer.
Your bird is cooked when the deepest part of the meat reaches 75 C, 168 F for at least 15 minutes, and you can rest assured that should the temperature has reached 78 C – 80 C (172 F – 176 F), that will have taken place for the appropriate length of time.
Finally, check the meat temperature in various places around the bird, the breast, the thighs and leg areas.