My Melted Tyson Chicken Strips Look Less Than Tasty

Ah, the joys of cooking in the microwave! Reader Darren has bought and enjoyed Tyson pre-cooked “Grilled & Ready” chicken strips, so he thought he knew what he was in for when popping a couple in the microwave. He thought wrong.

Darren took all culinary precautions when preparing his meal, following the microwave cooking instructions to the T: “3-4 minutes on high, covered. Do not overheat.”

Just after three minutes in, he caught a whiff of burning and saw his microwave spewing smoke. As he puts it so eloquently, “This isn’t normal microwave behavior.”

He goes on in detail about his chicken catastrophe: “After immediately stopping it and waiting for the smoke to settle down, I opened it up to examine the remains of my chicken strips. I expected them to be black, shriveled strips of their former chicken-glory, but what I did NOT expect was for them to be… melted.”

Darren adds, “I have never seen meat melt before.” Neither have we, and it doesn’t sound appetizing, either. He says he plans to send a note to Tyson, but wanted to warn all other chicken strip microwave chefs out there as well.

chicken3.jpg

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  1. suez says:

    85% meat filler?

  2. Rebecca K-S says:

    Now it’s possible the packaging says something different, but according to the Tyson website (http://www.tyson.com/Consumer/Products/ViewProduct.aspx?id=296), he did not in fact follow the instructions correctly.

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      http://www.tyson.com/Consumer/Products/ViewProduct.aspx?id=296 D’oh. Or maybe D’oh. Do the comments allow those tags? We’ll see.

    • Coles_Law says:

      Agreed. Grill for 3 minutes or microwave for 30 s. Granted, I’ve made the same mistake before, but I didn’t photograph it and share my boneheadedness with the Internet. :)

    • chgoeditor says:

      Yeah, common sense says that you wouldn’t cook a few cold (refrigerated, not frozen) chicken strips for 3 or 4 minutes. But the fact that Darren calls these “melted” makes me suspect the hasn’t cooked much. Those aren’t melted, they’re burned to a crisp and appear to be little more than ashes/carbon. (Would you call a log that you’ve burned in a fire “melted”?)

    • Conformist138 says:

      Oh wow, you are so right!
      30 to 45 seconds, NOT 3 to 4 minutes!
      Still, even being cooked way too long… it seems like an odd result. I’ve overcooked regular chicken in the microwave and never seen anything like that.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        I guess it’s odd, but I can’t really tell what’s going on in that picture. It just looks burnt to me.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      No, it doesn’t. I have some at home. He cooked htem WAY too long. It’s user error, not the fault of Tyson. They don’t look melted just charred and over-cooked.

    • eelmonger says:

      And that took you what, 5 minutes to find? Why can’t consumerist editors, who are getting paid, do at least that much research before posting?

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        It definitely took less time than it took Darren to obliterate his chicken.

      • Saltpork says:

        Exactly. The headline of this story should be more along the lines of “Dude didn’t read directions properly, burned dinner”.

        To the guy this happened to:
        1. Learn to cook so this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.
        2. Realize that a microwave on high for 5 minutes is enough to boil a good amount of water(meaning a lot of energy is transferred into your food) and any pre-cooked product that has this small of a mass will turn into something you don’t want to eat.
        For the size I’d say about 1:30 if it is pre-cooked. Maybe less if thawed.

      • edcrowle says:

        Maybe MB Quirk is trying to take some of the heat off of Phil.

      • bbf says:

        Dude, remember, the Consumerist is a “blog”, so they’re not required to research the validity before they post. In the past, the Consumerist has been unapologetic about reprinting or blindly posting potentially libelous articles without checking the validity of the source, or bothering to even “try” to contact the other side to get their story. The only time “the other side” gets on the Consumerist, is when one of their reps reads the consumerist and sends in their side of the story… and many times, the “innocent” consumer it not as “innocent” as the original article would lead one to believe.

        It’s disappointing, but I don’t read the consumerist for its unbiased, accurate reporting… It’s more of an entertaining, “let’s see who they’re ragging on today” site. Any ways, there are always a few commenters that actually look into things and set the record straight.

    • tzigrel says:

      Well, Tyson does sell one that requires 3-4 minutes on high. He may have purchased the 30-45sec strips before but this time picked up the 3-4min variety without realizing it.

      30-45sec: http://www.tyson.com/Consumer/Products/ViewProduct.aspx?id=296

      3-4min: http://www.tyson.com/Consumer/Products/ViewProduct.aspx?id=116

    • You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

      This caught my attention because I just bought my second bag of these strips, and haven’t had any trouble heating them up at all…Though normally I just disregard the instructions, estimate the time and heat until sufficiently warm.

      That having been said, out of curiosity I pulled the bag out, and sure enough, it lists a 3-5 min. cooking time for the skillet, then 3-4 minutes for the microwave. Specifically, “Heat covered on HIGH for 3 to 4 minutes or until warm. Do not overheat.” Of course, immediately after that it says “Appliances may vary. Heating times approximate.” I guess Darren forgot about that part. For my relatively new microwave to reheat about a serving size (3 oz.) of chicken it usually takes a minute, maybe a bit less than that.

      I figured it must be some printing error that caused the discrepancy in cooking times, so I called the 800# on the package, and spoke with a gentleman by the name of David Sadler with Consumer Information Services. He asked me to email your URL to him, and compared that product with what I have in hand (via UPC), and he attributed the cooking difference to my product being frozen, whereas the one you posted is only refrigerated, and has about half as many servings per container.

      Neither of us were able to figure out how Darren could have scorched his chicken like that. We figure it’s a combination of variable microwave settings and that perhaps the instructions are assuming a bigger portion, maybe multiple servings, are being heated at once. But no, it’s not that Darren is just too stupid to read the packaging. If anything he just needs to keep a better eye out (or maybe a nose) when cooking with his microwave.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Hm. Right you are. When I googled at first, the refrigerated were the only ones I found. My fail.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        I thought about that too. If they were the frozen ones, they would take longer. If they are the refrigerated ones, they take less than a minute in the microwave. Perhaps he bought frozen ones but cooked them when they were thawed?

      • marillion says:

        Darren may have one of those microwaves that has convection as well… A micro with convection is better at browning (or maybe in the case, blackening) food…

      • cash_da_pibble says:

        Wow, thanks for the detective work!
        This totally reminds me of the way Consumerist Stories used to be.

  3. aweirdguy says:

    Wow, after looking at that I want to go to Taco Bell and get some real meat

  4. Conformist138 says:

    Without the story, I would wonder why someone photographed dog mess on a plate next to a bag of chicken.

    I don’t know what Darren got in that bag, but I’m sure it was never chicken.

  5. LadyTL says:

    How is it melted? I can clearly see the two burned to bits chicken pieces are raised up from the paper plate and the juices are burned too not melted.

  6. Vandil says:

    I buy these all the time. The guy was supposed to microwave them on MEDIUM.

  7. blimeybuddy says:

    I’m sorry, but I just have to say – I don’t see melted meat. I see burned chicken juice beneath the shriveled, charred remains of a bachelor’s lousy attempt at a meal. You don’t cook 2 strips that long on a paper plate.

    While he may have followed the directions on the package – common sense wasn’t utilized. Maybe it’s because I microwave a lot of food – but a fresh chicken breast only takes 5-6 minutes to cook in a steam bag. Why would 2 pre-cooked strips take just as long? Common sense – if you’ve never cooked it before, you attend the microwave to make sure it doesn’t burn and check the food to make sure it isn’t undercooked.

    I can replicate this person’s results if I’m an idiot too, with chicken meat pulled fresh off the carcass.

  8. LorgSkyegon says:

    Note to attempted cook: meat has fat and fat melts.

    • Pink Eyed Jim says:

      +1 internets to you. Fat is one of the few things that can reach a temperature higher than 212F in a microwave. The fat in the chicken most likely FRIED his chicken strips to that charred mess.

  9. GrayMatter says:

    For once: Blame the OP is fully authorized. Pile on!!

  10. Frankz says:

    He plans to send a note to Tyson.
    Saying what, exactly?
    “Hey, your instructions clearly say to cook in a skillet for 3 minutes, OR
    cook in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. But I was so STUPID that I cooked
    them in the microwave for 3 minutes. You should obviously do something about this!”

    Don’t worry, Darren, the rest of the internet is obviously doing it for Tyson,
    by pointing out how much of an idiot you are.

  11. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I would have expected this story in September when a fresh crop of freshmen learn to read cooking istrauctions and work a microwave. Mom!

    • LadyTL says:

      Ah, yes the art of fine microwave dining that no one can perfect. There was so many fire drills in my building because of burnt popcorn.

  12. msky says:

    Sorry, but I call bollocks! Something that small can not possibly take ‘3-4 minutes on high’ to cook

  13. LBM says:

    Why anyone eats that “pre-packaged, pre-cooked and soon to be pre-digested for you *meat*” is beyond me. Fillers and more fillers…..filler flavored meat or meat flavored filler? BLECH. Why do people have a problem eating real food?

    Popping a chicken breast into the oven and cooking it takes all of 30 minutes – and then one can cut it into strips if one chooses. And it is 100% meat.

    So your meat product melted….it should tell you something about how good for you “meat product” is.

    • LadyTL says:

      Because there is never a situation where you may not have 30 minutes to cook right? /sarcasm

      Not every one has time to spend an hour on every single meal so snarking at people who choose time savers is useless. Plus I have gotten these before, if there is any fillers at all is must be a tiny amount because they are mostly just chicken breasts sliced up so they are real food.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        A fuckton of salt, but yeah, just plain ol’ meat. Not something you’d ever find in my kitchen, but hardly the most rightfully-judged convenient product out there.

        • thedarkerside.to says:

          Probably not the worst, but that’s how it starts.

          Especially with Chicken, “set it and forget it” couldn’t be easier once you know your oven / stove top.

          I bought a huge bag of Chicken legs, did a dry rub, tossed them into a frying pan for five minutes on each side they are now sitting in my fridge ready to be pulled out and quickly rewarmed (1 minutes in the microwave) and then be put on a plate, a slice of bread or sliced up and put in a salad.

        • Youngfrankenstein says:

          I learned a new word today. :)

      • LBM says:

        I know not everyone has oodles of time to cook, but when people complain their food-like food cooks wrong/melts/spontaneously combusts from heating…might be time to think about the food product. 30 minutes when you get home from the daily toil is not much to wait. While the meat cooks, you can: get changed, turn on the TV, empty the dishwasher or do dishes, vacuum, sweep, look through the mail, fold laundry, get some lovin’ ….the list of activities is endless while waiting those 30 minutes.

        Just thinking about the preservatives, chemicals and sodium content in that pre-made meat makes my head spin. The “grill marks” are just chemical coloring to give the impression they have been grilled. The liquid in the bags is a preservative of dubious distinction and the flavor enhancers are in place to make the “meat” palatable.

        Ingest, and (now) prepare with caution…. Ew.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          Please provide proof of the preservatives that are making your head spin. Since you are thinking about them, that must mean you have proof they are in there.

          As for me, I’ll just post this:
          http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/tyson/43379/images/43379-hi-G_R_Fillet.jpg

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:
            • LBM says:

              Hmmmm…..well now if you look at the nutrition information for ONE SERVING of that preservative free chicken you are waving about like the label is PROOF…did you happen to check out the nutrition info?

              http://www.tyson.com/Consumer/Products/ViewProduct.aspx?id=116

              Look on over to the right hand side and tell me if it is NORMAL for a single serving of “preservative-free” chicken to have 20% of DV of sodium…..470mg to be exact.

              Well, I did your homework for you….in a single serving of chicken, (not pre-cooked, pre-packaged, frozen chicken), cooked the total sodium count is 88mg…4% of a daily recommended serving of sodium.

              http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-chicken-breast-meat-only-i5065

              Sodium is a NATURAL flavor enhancer, PRESERVATIVE and can be labeled as “all-natural” So riddle me this GitEm…where did all that extra sodium come from? Could it be the good, honest people at Tyson DO USE a preservative and flavor enhancer for their meat – even that they label ALL-NATURAL & NO PRESERVATIVES?

              I’ll even take you a step further….the meat that is NOT cut up, the frozen breast fillets have only a 10% DV serving….could it be that MAYBE the meat sliced up and even more ready for people too “busy” to cut their meat is preserved even more because it has to survive freezing and keep flavor and appearance?

              No, probabally not. The label is what it says it is. Just like Target prices items accurately and American Flights are always on-time.

              Pfft.

              Tell me, do you believe all labels you see on packaging?

      • thedarkerside.to says:

        That’s called pre-planning.

        Alternative: Cook more than you eat at one sitting, put the rest in the fridge: Presto, instant dinner.

        I know people are lazy, but come on, something as existencial as eating?

        What’s next? Someone starts selling a sex robot so you can sit on the couch watch TV instead of having to do the deed yourself? Maybe she can get one too and spend more time with her girlfriends?

        Shesh. There’s smart lazy and there is just plain lazy.

        • You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

          Not everyone has access to a stove 100% of the time. There are plenty of truck drivers and hotel-hoppers that live off of microwave & restaurant foods for months at a time because there isn’t necessarily another option available.

          That having been said, there are foods available which are microwave-safe (raw chicken and microwaves don’t really mix) but don’t consist of pasteurized, meat-flavored, cheesy concoctions that are formed into patties which vaguely resemble something we might call a rib or a wing. It seems rather old-fashioned to assume it still takes half an hour to put together something healthy for one person, or that food cooked on a stove is just naturally better for you than something that’s had its atoms shoved around with an entirely different appliance.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Actually, if you look at the picture, there is no melting. Should that tell me something about how good your “advice and comment” is/are?

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Too much cooking will turn even the freshest organic chicken into a blackened chicken puck.

      People buy convenience foods because they’re convenient.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Yeah, I’ve gotten something similar when cooking steak under my broiler in my oven.

  14. Dyscord says:

    I’ve bought those chicken strips before. In fact, I just heated some up last night. I haven’t had any problems at all, so perhaps it was his microwave.

  15. Slick36 says:

    What is that, a turd on a paper plate?

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      No, it’s 3 pieces of chicken with some burnt char that bubbled up between them, which is probably fat. I sometimes get the same thing when I cook stuff on the broiler pan in my oven.

      • failurate says:

        Wouldn’t there have to be some sort of sugar involved to get a char like that? These strips have very little carbohydrates and very little fat.
        I just can’t wrap my head around what went on with this. I don’t see 3 minutes of microwave time with just the chicken equaling what this guy has on his plate.

  16. Tedsallis says:

    Looks great. Eat it ya sissy!

  17. Portlandia says:

    3-4 minutes on HIGH for TWO LITTLE PIECES OF CHICKEN????????

    No wonder it looks like that…

    Sometimes you have to use your own brain over what the back of the bag/box says.

  18. MexiFinn says:

    And, this is why you should buy REAL food :)

  19. failurate says:

    That’s it, I’m calling it. Time of death: 8:30 AM.

    RIP Personal Responsibility

  20. failurate says:

    That is not a microwave behind the bag and plate. That’s a toaster oven, which could explain the crunchy burned chicken.

    I am sure it is possible to torch/overly brown something in a microwave, but I’ve never done it.

  21. thedarkerside.to says:

    This makes me stretch my head: What’s the advantage of buying this stuff pre-cooked with all kinds of other stuff slathered on to make it tasty after it went through the industrial process?

    Cooking pieces of chicken really isn’t rocket science and an oven and 20 minutes will do a much better job than anything Tyson could be doing…..

  22. HeroOfHyla says:

    My dad accidentally put a calzone in the microwave for 13 minutes instead of 1 minute 30 seconds.
    It came out like that.

  23. sharkzfanz says:

    Was his frozen or refrigerated? Although he bought frozen did he have it in the fridge? If frozen how soon after removing from the freezer was it cooked?I feel these answers will show the OP did something off. Seems odd the course of events and the outcome..

  24. Extended-Warranty says:

    If I were Tyson, I’d be filing a lawsuit for posting such articles.

  25. brownh0rnet says:

    This looks and sounds suspicious. The chicken just looks burnt.

  26. coren says:

    http://www.tyson.com/Consumer/Products/ViewProduct.aspx?id=116
    http://www.tyson.com/Consumer/Products/ViewProduct.aspx?id=296

    See how those bags are identical looking? That’s possibly just an error on the tyson site, but if not, some confusion could come in. Then again, one is frozen and one refrigerated (assuming they’re different) so maybe the OP cooked the fridge ones by the freezer directions?

  27. aneducatedguest says:

    It did say not to overheat, right? ;)

  28. pixiestix says:

    1.2% real chicken