Why Washing Raw Chicken Is Gross
Julia Child was a fount of good cooking advice. My favorite tidbit has nothing to do with how to cook, but how to present and take credit for your culinary successes and, more notably, failures: Child said you should never apologize for anything.
But one food-prep recommendation that Child often repeated could lead to something for which you would really have to apologize: salmonella. As NPR points out, she, like so, so many other cookbook authors (as Slate adds), recommended washing raw chicken before preparing it. Now researchers at Drexel University and New Mexico State University have launched a PSA that debunks the widely accepted best poultry practice in just 14 seconds.
If you’re washing raw chicken, you’re basically splattering bacteria all over the sink, the countertops, your forearms—everywhere that some stray bit of chicken-y water might be splattered. According to NPR, “Some studies suggest bacteria can fly up to 3 feet away from where your meat is rinsed—though you can’t necessarily see it.”
Furthermore, there’s a less gross reason to keep your raw chicken far, far away from the faucet: Wet meat doesn’t brown as readily. So if you’re making a roast chicken, for example, the drier the skin is when you pop that bird in the oven, the more burnished and flavorful and crispy the skin will become.