Can You Cook Raw Chicken and Bacon Together? A Food Safety Guide

Chicken and bacon make a dynamic duo. Who doesn’t love classics like chicken carbonara, Cobb salad, and chicken-fried bacon? But is it actually safe to cook raw chicken and uncooked bacon together?

As a busy home cook I’m always looking to streamline dinnertime. Cooking chicken and bacon in one pan would save so much time! However proper food handling is crucial when dealing with raw meats.

In this article, I’ll share my research on whether you can cook raw chicken and bacon together. You’ll learn:

  • Is it safe to cook raw chicken and raw bacon together?
  • Why you need to be careful combining these raw meats
  • Tips to do it safely if you want to try
  • Recipe ideas to inspire your chicken-bacon creations
  • Signs of undercooked chicken and bacon to watch for
  • Proper storage and prep to prevent foodborne illness

Let’s dive in and settle this debate once and for all! Please note that I’m focusing specifically on raw chicken and uncooked bacon. Fully-cooked meats are totally fine prepared together

Can You Cook Raw Chicken and Bacon Together?

The short answer is yes, you can absolutely cook raw chicken and raw bacon in the same pan or baking dish. However, special care needs to be taken to prevent undercooking and cross-contamination.

Raw chicken can contain dangerous bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter. These can spread to other ingredients, dishes and surfaces when juices splash during cooking.

Undercooked chicken and pork also pose a safety risk, as they may still harbor harmful germs internally after cooking. Reaching a high enough temperature is vital to kill bacteria.

So while it’s possible to cook chicken and bacon together from a raw state, caution is advised. Follow proper food safety protocol to minimize risks.

Next, let’s look at why cooking these raw meats together requires extra diligence on your part.

Dangers of Cooking Raw Chicken and Bacon

Raw meats always require care when cooking to prevent foodborne illnesses. But chicken and pork in particular pose higher risks that you should be aware of.

Salmonella in Raw Chicken

Raw chicken is a common source of salmonella, a bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

Chickens can be contaminated with salmonella during processing. It’s destroyed when chicken reaches 165°F internal temperature. But juices from raw chicken can spread it around your kitchen if you aren’t careful.

Salmonella can survive on surfaces like cutting boards, counters, sinks, and utensils for several hours. It’s easy to spread around your kitchen if raw chicken touches other surfaces.

Trichinosis in Raw Pork

While not as common today, raw pork can contain trichinella roundworms that cause the disease trichinosis.

Trichinella is killed at 137°F. Thorough cooking provides protection. But raw or undercooked pork poses a higher contamination risk than other meats.

Cross-Contamination Hazards

One raw meat’s bacteria can easily spread to the other when chicken and bacon are cooked together.

For example, salmonella from raw chicken can get onto the raw bacon in the same pan. Then if the bacon is undercooked, that bacteria survives.

Likewise, trichinella or other pathogens from pork may end up on the chicken. Cross-contamination is a major concern.

Proper handling, cooking, and storage are crucial to protect against illness when combining raw chicken and bacon. Let’s look at how to do it safely.

How to Cook Raw Chicken and Bacon Together Safely

While risky, it is possible to safely cook raw chicken and bacon together if you take precautions. Here are some tips:

  • Wash hands and surfaces thoroughly before and after handling raw meats. Avoid cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for chicken and pork.

  • Cook meats immediately after removing from fridge. Don’t let them sit out and enter the danger zone temperature range of 40-140°F.

  • Use a digital food thermometer to verify chicken reaches 165°F and pork reaches 145°F minimum internal temperature. Check thickness and size when determining cook times.

  • Bake, grill, or pan-fry over direct heat rather than slow-cooking. The high heat helps kill bacteria more effectively.

  • Clean any surfaces, dishes, and utensils that contacted raw meat thoroughly with soap and hot water after cooking.

  • Discard used marinades which may contain bacteria from raw meats. Don’t reuse.

  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours and reheat fully to safe temperatures before serving again.

With vigilance, it is possible to safely cook raw chicken and bacon together and achieve delicious results! Now here are some recipe ideas to try.

Chicken and Bacon Recipe Ideas

If you give it a try, here are some tasty ways to cook chicken and bacon together:

  • Chicken & bacon skillet with veggies

  • Sheet pan chicken fajitas with bacon

  • Chicken carbonara with pancetta

  • Coq au vin (chicken braised with wine, onions, mushrooms, bacon)

  • Chicken Cobb salad with bacon bits

  • Chicken & bacon ranch wraps or sandwiches

  • Chicken curry with bacon stir-fried in

  • Chicken pasta in bacon cream sauce

  • Chicken & bacon tacos or tostadas

  • Bacon-wrapped chicken breast stuffed with cheese

  • Chicken baked in bacon grease

The possibilities are endless! Just use proper food handling when cooking raw bacon and chicken together.

And if you’re nervous about undercooking, use a food thermometer and watch for these signs:

How to Tell If Chicken and Bacon Are Undercooked

To safely enjoy dishes combining chicken and bacon, it’s vital that both meats reach recommended safe minimum internal temperatures.

Undercooked Chicken Signs

Chicken should reach 165°F internally. Look for these signs it’s undercooked:

  • Flesh is pink, bloody, or has red spots
  • Meat feels slimy or rubbery
  • Fat and juices run pink rather than clear

Undercooked Bacon Signs

Bacon should reach 145°F minimum. Watch for these clues it needs more cooking:

  • Fatty areas look glossy and wet
  • Meat seems rubbery and tough
  • Lack of crispiness in lean areas

Use a meat thermometer to verify doneness. Send items back to the pan or oven if unsure. Safety comes first when cooking raw bacon and chicken together!

Safely Storing and Prepping Chicken and Bacon

Proper storage and prep can also help reduce risks when cooking these raw meats. Follow these guidelines:

  • Store raw chicken and pork separately on bottom shelves of fridge to prevent leaks from one dripping onto the other.

  • Freeze meats if not using within 2 days to maximize freshness. Thaw in fridge, not counter.

  • Avoid washing chicken and pork before cooking, which can spread germs. Just cook thoroughly.

  • Use separate cutting boards, utensils, pans, and prep areas for each before cooking. Wash all items between uses.

  • Discard used marinades, sauces, and leftovers after 4-5 days max. Don’t taste-test meats while cooking.

  • Refrigerate cooked meats in shallow covered containers within 2 hours. Reheat fully to 165°F.

With diligent food safety habits, you can more confidently create recipes combining raw chicken and bacon.

The Takeaway: Play It Safe

While it’s possible to safely cook raw chicken and bacon together, I don’t recommend doing so for beginner home cooks. There are simply too many risks involved.

For basic food safety, I suggest cooking chicken and pork separately. However, if you have kitchen experience and take all precautions, combining these meats from raw can be done.

The most important points are preventing cross-contamination, cooking thoroughly, cleaning diligently, and storing properly after. Use thermometers, separate tools, wash hands, and take care when handling and cooking raw chicken and bacon together.

I hope these tips give you a better understanding of the risks and how to minimize them if you want to cook raw chicken and bacon in the same dish. Let common sense and food safety be your guide.

Now get cooking on some drool-worthy chicken and bacon creations! Just be vigilant. Please share any other tips you may have on safely enjoying this classic combo in the comments. Happy (and safe) cooking!

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