The Viral Debate: Should You Wash Chicken Before Cooking It?

Every so often, a culinary question takes the internet by storm, and right now, it’s all about chicken. Across Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and even TikTok videos, people are buzzing about one contentious question: Should you wash chicken before cooking it?

Some swear by it, others vehemently oppose it – it’s a full-on poultry predicament! Let’s dive into the feathers of this viral debate and see if we can settle it once and for all.

The Case for Washing Chicken

Those in the “pro-washing” camp often argue that rinsing raw chicken can wash away dirt and bacteria. This practice might be rooted in family traditions or passed down from chefs who swear by a quick rinse or a lemon-salt scrub.

However, it’s important to note that the idea of washing chicken is largely based on perception, not scientific evidence. While it might seem like you’re doing your dinner a favor, the truth might surprise you.

washing chicken in the sink

The Case Against Washing Chicken

Now, let’s hear from the “no-washing” side. Many food safety experts and reputable organizations such as the CDC and USDA advise against washing chicken. Their main argument? Washing raw chicken can splash bacteria onto your sink, countertops, and other kitchen surfaces. This cross-contamination can potentially make you sick.

Washing your chicken before cooking it can cause more harm than good, so I do not recommend washing it.

Related: How Long Can Chicken Sit Out?

Understanding Chicken and Bacteria

Chicken, like other raw meats, can carry bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. They’re not visible to the naked eye and they’re certainly not washed away by water.

On the contrary, washing might just give them a free ride around your kitchen. The good news? Proper cooking kills these bacteria, making your chicken safe to eat.

Related: How Long Does Chicken Last in the Fridge

How to Handle Chicken Safely

Instead of relying on a rinse to make your chicken safe, focus on safe handling practices.

  • Always clean your surfaces and utensils before and after they come into contact with raw chicken.
  • Defrost your chicken in the fridge, not on the counter.
  • Cook it to the correct temperature. According to the USDA, that’s an internal temp of 165°F.
  • And of course, don’t forget to wash your hands! Good hand hygiene is an easy and effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Ready for some chicken? Try our smoked chicken wings recipe!

Photo of author

Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

Leave a Comment