Chicken and beef dishes, the two major options every non-vegetarian loves, often end up being on the same table, but should they be mixed before they are cooked?
Can You Mix Raw Chicken and Beef?
Raw chicken and beef should not be mixed together as cross-contamination can occur which can put your health at risk. If both the chicken and beef are cooked, only then it is safe to mix them.
But note down one important thing. If you’ve accidentally mixed raw chicken and beef, please do not consume the meat as it can lead to severe health risks.
Keep on reading to find more about cross-contamination and if you should cook these two together.
What is Cross-Contamination, and Is It Dangerous?
Cross-contamination, as the name suggests, is the spread of contamination across meats. Raw foods have bacteria that are killed on cooking at high temperatures. If these bacteria spread to cooked foods, then they lead to food poisoning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raw chicken, just like other raw foods, contains bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium. Mixing raw chicken with beef makes these bacteria transfer to the beef, causing cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination can be extremely dangerous and can lead to foodborne illness – more commonly known as food poisoning. In the US alone, there were 299 foodborne outbreaks – that too just in 2020! Crazy, right?
Is Marinating Chicken and Beef Together Safe?
Marinating chicken and beef together is safe, and does not have any health risks. Though the transfer of bacteria can occur, it won’t have any adverse effects, and here’s why.
Even if bacteria are transferred between the chicken and beef, they will be killed upon cooking. However, be mindful of how long you leave the raw chicken and beef in the open air.
I would recommend you refrigerate the meats as soon as you’re done with the marination and cook them as soon as you take them out of the refrigerator. Do not leave the meat (marinated or unmarinated) on the shelf unless it is absolutely necessary.
Can the Same Cutting Board be used for Chicken and Beef?
As long as both the chicken and beef are raw, you can do whatever combined activity you want with them – yes, that also includes marinating them together.
You can use the same cutting board to cut chicken and beef. The transfer of bacteria should not be a problem since, then again, both of the meats are raw and will be cooked later – which will kill the bacteria.
The E.Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Shigella present in meat will mix with the Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridium in the raw chicken. However, all of these bacteria will be killed upon cooking provided the temperature is high enough.
Temperatures Needed to Kill the Bacteria
Using a food thermometer, you can easily measure the internal temperature of almost every food item. If you do not have a food thermometer, check out the two recommendations that I have discussed below.
Healthline recommends an internal temperature of 165°F to kill all the bacteria in chicken and 145°F for beef.
Though these temperatures are on the safe side, I would not recommend you cook the meats below these temperatures. The next section covers different cooking temperatures for different meat types.
I cannot stress this enough: please make sure to cook the meats at their respective temperatures. Eating undercooked meat is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning (unhygienic food doesn’t even come close).
Cooking Different Types of Meat Together: A Myth?
Different meats will have different temperatures at which the bacteria will die. You can cook different types of meat together. However, you will have to take into account ideal temperatures for all of them.
Make a small list of different meat types with their ideal cooking temperatures in decreasing order. Find the meat at the top of the table, and maintain the temperature for that meat.
Here’s an example to explain the process. Let’s say you’re cooking fish and meat together. Since meat will lie on top of fish in the table, you will only need to maintain the temperature for meat i.e.160°F.
It is perfectly safe to cook different types of meat together as long as you take care of the temperatures and let the bacteria be killed completely. This isn’t a myth, but a logical fact.
The Only Two Food Thermometers You’ll Need
You can’t use an IR thermometer to measure the internal temperature of food. The thermometer only measures how hot the food is from the outside. To measure internal temperatures, you will need a food thermometer.
The Thermapen One and ThermoPro Meat Thermometer are two of my favorite ones. The former is a high-end thermometer (which I only recommend for professionals) while the latter is a pocket-friendly thermometer that is just as accurate as the Thermapen One.
If you’re just starting out, I would definitely recommend the ThermoPro Meat. It has a long probe which makes it super beginner-friendly. Alternately, you could just get a food thermometer off the shelf from your local market or Walmart.
Conclusion to Can You Mix Raw Chicken and Beef?
Because raw chicken contains bacteria (such as Salmonella), it should not be mixed with a cooked food item such as beef. Doing so will have the bacteria transferred from the chicken to the beef.
If both of the items are cooked or raw, you can mix them together. In fact, you can also marinate and cook them together as long as the temperature is taken care of.
Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Mix Raw Chicken and Beef?
Can Chicken and Beef Be Mixed?
As long as both the chicken and beef are raw, they can be mixed without cross-contamination happening.
Is Cross-contamination Dangerous?
Cross-contamination, when done between a cooked and a raw food item, is extremely dangerous and can lead to food poisoning.
Can I Mix Chicken and Beef for Bone Broth?
Chicken and beef can be mixed together for bone broth without posing any dangers to health.