The Timing Error That Makes Shredding Chicken Way More Difficult

bowl of shredded chicken
bowl of shredded chicken - Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/Getty Images

Struggling to shred chicken easily is something that most home chefs have experienced. Shredding meat seems like a relatively straightforward procedure until you're wrestling with a formidable chicken breast that refuses to break down into easy-to-consume pieces. In this case, timing and temperature are everything, as shredding chicken while it's still warm makes the process a lot easier to manage.

Cold chicken, such as a breast directly removed from the refrigerator, is much harder to shred due to the toughness of the muscle fibers. On the other hand, fresh from the oven, grill, or slow cooker, chicken will break down nicely with minimal effort. To safeguard your hands from possible burns, wait about two minutes before you start shredding. However, avoid leaving hot chicken sitting on your counter for an extended period to sidestep potential food safety issues. If you're wondering how long food can stay out before safety is compromised, two hours is the absolute maximum.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

Best Practices When Shredding Chicken

shredded chicken with forks
shredded chicken with forks - Candice Bell/Getty Images

All you really need to shred a warm chicken breast is two forks and a cutting board. With this popular method, simply dig the two forks into the chicken and begin pulling it apart. Provided that the meat is still warm, the chicken should come apart relatively easily. If you're looking for something less labor intensive, try using a mixer instead. When employing a mixer, use the low setting on the device and work on the chicken for about one minute, at which point it should be sufficiently broken apart.

If you end up with an overabundance of shredded chicken, no worries. Simply place the meat into a sealable bag or container and transfer it to the freezer. You'll have about three months to use the frozen shredded chicken before quality begins to decline. In this case, there's an easy way to identify freezer burned chicken, as the meat tends to develop discolored grey or white spots.

How To Incorporate Shredded Chicken Into Your Recipes

bowl of cheesy chicken dip
bowl of cheesy chicken dip - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Now that you have a tried-and-true method for easily shredding chicken, you can begin incorporating the ingredient into a variety of recipes. There is a multitude of tasty dishes you can make with shredded chicken, from main courses to appetizers and snacks. For instance, it can be a prime component of a creamy, cheesy dip -- like Buffalo chicken dip -- which can be enjoyed with crackers, chips, or pita bread. Having shredded chicken on hand also makes it easy to throw together a Cobb salad, and can add a bit of robustness to soups.

You can even use the shredded chicken to tweak your go-to dishes. Combining shredded chicken with barbecue sauce, chili powder, and mustard creates a delicious spin on pulled pork sandwiches. It's also an excellent addition to pizza when paired with roasted garlic and onions. Knowing how to shred chicken the right (and easiest) way means it can become a trusted part of your dinnertime arsenal.

Read the original article on Daily Meal