Can You Cook Chicken And Beef Together?
If you’re creating a feast for the family, cooking all the meats separately can seem like a long and laborious process. It would be far quicker to cook them together, but is this a risky move?
Can you cook chicken and beef together? These meats can be cooked together, but only in situations where they will take the same length of time to cook, for example, chicken and beef strips in a stir-fry or ground meat in meatballs. Beef and chicken roasts should only be cooked together if they require cooking for the same period of time.
If you’re interested in finding out how to cook chicken and beef together, keep reading because we’ve got everything you need to know right here!
We’ll figure out the best and safest ways to cook chicken and beef together, and also make sure you know when it is better to cook these two ingredients separately.
Should You Cook Chicken And Beef Together?
Theoretically, chicken and beef can be cooked together, and in some situations, this can be a huge advantage.
The two reasons why people are wary of cooking chicken and beef together are the risk of cross-contamination and variations in cooking times.
We’ve had the risks of handling raw meat and poultry drummed into us for years and have been warned to never let them come into contact with any other ingredients.
But does this mean that the two can never go in the same pan or cooking pot?
In practical terms, you can cook chicken and beef together as long as you can ensure that both are thoroughly cooked through and are perfectly safe to eat.
While we can eat rare beef, chicken must be completely cooked before it is consumed.
This is due to the risk of food poisoning caused by bacterial contamination of pathogens such as salmonella.
The speed at which chicken and beef cook will depend on how it is prepared and the size of the pieces of meat.
If you do not have two comparably sized pieces of meat, they will take different times to cook, causing one to become overcooked.
As long as both are cooked through (especially the chicken), they are perfectly edible when overcooked, just probably not as delicious as you were hoping.
So before you leap in and start cooking chicken and beef together, let’s take a look at the situations where this is a good idea, and where it is simply just not practical.
What Are The Advantages Of Cooking Chicken And Beef Together?
The biggest advantage to cooking chicken and beef together has got to be the huge amounts of time you will save.
We don’t all have room on our stove top or in our ovens to hold two separate pans at once, so if you want to cook both chicken and beef, you normally end up doing one after the other.
So, if you can cook them both together, then you halve the time spent cooking. All the more time to spend relaxing with the family before dinner – a definite bonus!
In terms of saving time, you could potentially also halve the number of cooking pots you use. This also cuts down on clearing up time after our meal is finished.
Removing burnt-on meat and grease from roasting pans is a laborious chore, so if you can eliminate at least half of this, your workload will be much easier.
Depending on the cooking technique used, there may be also some advantages in terms of the flavor of your dish when chicken and beef are cooked together.
When we cook meat, juices are released, which we normally use to create delicious sauce or gravy. If we are cooking beef and chicken in the same pan, these juices will blend together and create something incredibly flavorful!
When Shouldn’t You Cook Chicken And Beef Together?
Okay, we’re going to start with one word of caution here. Never, ever cook chicken and beef together if there is a risk that the chicken will not be thoroughly cooked.
Also, never mess around with adding beef to chicken part way through the cooking process, or vice versa.
The methods used to cook meat rely on a consistent temperature throughout the cooking time, and adding extra ingredients can cause serious fluctuations in this.
It is vital to ensure that your chicken is cooked thoroughly when cooking chicken and beef together — cooking chicken thoroughly is essential to kill any potential bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
And cooking beef alongside chicken could mean that your beef turns out far more well done than you would like it!
To ensure that any meat is cooked, we should check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
We have a bit more flexibility with beef, as this meat can be eaten rare or even raw.
With beef, we use the internal temperature to guide how well done the meat is:
- Rare steak needs to be cooked to just 130°F.
- Medium beef will be cooked to 145°F.
- Steak is well done when it is cooked to 160°F and above.
From this, we can see that if we had two identically sized pieces of chicken and beef, then cooked them both until the chicken was safe to eat, the beef would be very well done!
Luckily, there are some somethings we can do to counteract this problem. Firstly, by reducing the size of the meats, the cooking time also reduces.
So, by using ground beef and chicken or meat that is sliced thinly into strips, we can remove the problem of the difference in cooking temperatures.
Which Cooking Methods Can You Use To Cook Chicken And Beef Together?
There are a few situations where cooking beef and chicken together can work to your advantage, saving time as well as enabling you to create more interesting and flavorsome dishes.
1. The Grill
If you’ve got some cuts of beef and chicken to cook on the grill, there is no reason why you cannot cook them together!
The USDA advises that this is a perfectly safe practice, as long as each meat reaches the intended internal temperature.
When cooking comparable-sized pieces of chicken and beef on the grill, the chicken will take slightly longer.
You might want to start off at a lower temperature to prevent the outside from burning before the inside is fully cooked — this means you need multiple temperature zones on your grill to cook each type of meat the best possible way.
Grilling meat is an art form in itself, and attempting to cook several types of food at once takes this cooking technique to the next level!
It is also essential to keep any utensils and crockery that have been used to prepare raw chicken well away from any other types of food, even beef.
Ideally, use a separate set of barbeque tongs to turn over each type of meat you are cooking on the grill.
2. The Stovetop
The best methods to use when cooking beef and chicken together on the stove are those that use the smallest pieces of meat.
This means you can cook thin strips of chicken breast and beef together in a stir fry, as both will take just a few minutes to become thoroughly cooked.
It is also perfectly safe to cook ground chicken and ground beef together, even molded together into meatballs or meatloaf. Cook until an internal temperature of 165°F has been reached.
3. The Oven
This is the riskiest method of all when it comes to cooking chicken and beef together, as meat cooked in the oven takes far longer to reach the desired internal temperature.
If you took a whole chicken and a beef joint of the same weight, the cooking time for the beef would be far shorter. This is because chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 20°F higher than beef.
You might be tempted to start the chicken first and add the beef to the roasting tray later, but this is a bad idea.
Adding a cold piece of beef will cause the temperature of the oven to drop, vastly increasing the risk of your chicken being undercooked.
Starting the two types of meat together and removing the beef from the pan when it is cooked is also a bad idea, as it could become contaminated with bacteria from the partially cooked chicken in the process.
But is there a way to cook beef and chicken together in the oven?
The only safe way to get around this problem is to find two pieces of meat that have similar cooking times, but this means that you will end up with a larger piece of beef than chicken.