Q: "Usually I choose to avoid tender-basted chicken. The puncture marks in the breast and the floppiness of the uncooked birds disturb me and the cooked product has none of the usual texture of an untreated bird. I notice that most rotisserie cooked chickens are 'tender-basted' and it is becoming difficult to find a non-tender-basted product. Are you able to tell me about this process?"
A: We went to the source and asked Adrian Revell, Inghams Te Aroha plant manager, what goes into those 'tender-basted' chickens:
"At Inghams we call this process marinating. It's similar to what you might do in your own kitchen, but on a larger scale. Inghams chicken meat is marinated with salt-based ingredients to improve the meat tenderness and flavour. These flavours are made into a brine consistency and injected into the chicken meat to allow for good moisture retention while cooking. Having a salty brine in the chicken meat also helps the tenderisation process by assisting in the breaking-up of muscle fibres.
The visual appearance of small holes in the breast of the chicken is a result of the injection of the salty brine. As the Inghams factory produces thousands of marinated chickens per day these injections are done by a machine, however this process is very similar to how you may cut and insert flavours into meat at home."