Why You Should Use Your Hands To Shred Chicken

One of the most versatile proteins on the planet, it's hard to think of a dish in which you can't utilize chicken — that tasty meat with a chameleon-like level of adaptability. Craving Italian food? Saucy chicken parmesan will certainly do the trick. Jonesing for some soul food? Fried chicken is definitely where it's at. Perhaps you want something spicy? Chicken is still there for you, in the form of a Thai chicken curry, for example.

Beyond all the ways to cook and enjoy chicken, there's a few methods you can employ to change its texture, bringing even more variety to the game. Once chicken is cooked and you need it in smaller pieces — to fold into chicken salad, say, or scatter over the top of a green salad — you can choose to slice it, chop it into pieces, or shred it. The latter option, shredding, is a great choice for when you want each strand of the meat to really absorb something saucy, like barbecue sauce, or the rich, thickened broth in chicken and dumplings.

There are a few ways to shred chicken

Depending on what dish you're preparing, there are a few ways to shred chicken. One viral hack that took the internet by storm in the summer of 2021 was a video showing how to quickly and easily shred cooked chicken breast with an electric mixer. You can also use two forks to shred chicken (via Good Life Eats). But of course, the classic way to shred cooked chicken that has been employed for centuries is doing it by hand — and while more labor intensive, there are a few benefits to this age-old technique that you might want to know about.

As pointed out by Cook's Country, hands are tools that are a bit more sensitive than either a mixer, a knife, or forks — and therefore, it's easier to pick out chicken bits you won't want to eat, such as chunks of cartilage or bone, with your hands than it would be when chopping the chicken or using a mixer. The outlet recommends shredding chicken that's still warm (not hot), either from the grocery store rotisserie section or cooked at home. The muscle fibers in warm meat are looser than they are when cold (via Fed and Fit), so your task will be much easier. Finally, Food Network recommends working with breasts for the most uniform shreds of chicken — the cut's fibers are uniformly aligned, easily producing the long, ropy strands of meat that are perfect for so many dishes.