We think the rubbed Hickory smoked chicken at Rub is one of our tastiest dishes. Each British Red Tractor bird is brined for at least 24 hours prior to been rubbed with our secret spice blend featuring a range of different spices and brown sugar. It's then dressed with our Albama homemade white barbecue sauce, an unusual mayonnaise, cider vinegar and horseradish based BBQ sauce from the deep south of America.
The problem is that the brining and the sugar which make the chicken safer to eat can have an affect on the colour of the meat prevent it turning white. Combined with the fact they are cooked at a lower temperature means that the myoglobin, the molecule in blood, does not always change colour and go clear. Myoglobin normally starts to break down at 60℃, but because Rub’s birds have been brined this has an affect like when you cure pork and turn it into bacon or ham it remains pink when cooked. The aim of smoking meats is also to attain a pink ring around the surface of the meat, so the smoking process also created more of a pink tinge to the meat.
However each bird is cooked to 83℃ when the recommended temperature on Google is 70℃ to 80℃.
Why is chicken different to other meats such as beef which can be cooked much less? This is due to the fact that chicken comes with the skin where the risk of bacteria is higher. Joints of beef are generally cut from within the muscle so there is less chance the bacteria from the outside of the cow has touched the inner muscle. In addition chicken is not as acidic as other meats. Acid like the effects of low temperature cooking, salt and sugar slow down and even stop the rate of which bacteria reproduces. Meaning that the chicken we serve is extra safe.
This doesn’t mean that all pink chicken is safe chicken. If the chicken were exposed to salmonella and the bacteria had enough time to grow and reach the bone of the chicken, then a pink chicken could be a dangerous chicken. If the chicken is tended to, packaged well refrigerated at below 2℃ and brined then you are less likely to have a problem.
At Rub we cook the chicken very slowly which means the myoglobin does not break down and leaves the pink in the meat. Yet due to the process, brining, rubbing with sugar and cooking to 83℃ each bird will not only be extra delicious but safe to eat.