Seasoning Pockets Are the Key to Flavorful Chicken

A person holds a knife in one hand and a piece of raw chicken in the other.
Artem Oleshko/Shutterstock.com

Ever cooked chicken for dinner and thought you’d seasoned it enough, only to find it still tastes bland? Well, this clever hack can ensure you never have unseasoned chicken again.

If you’ve never heard of seasoning pockets, they’re a simple way to season chicken all the way through as it cooks. The tip comes courtesy of Danielle Lapierre from America’s Test Kitchen, who adapted the process from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe.

To do this, you cut “pockets” into the meat. Think of it as the Hasselback method of seasoning meat.

Lapierre’s tip is specific to chicken leg quarters. You use a sharp knife to make one or two (depending on the size) cuts along the thigh. Ideally, you want one across the joint, and another along the drumstick. You’ll want to cut deep enough to hit the bone.

Next, massage your seasonings, marinade, or rub into the pockets you created, as well as all over the rest of the chicken. Allow the meat to marinate in the fridge for three hours or more before cooking.

While Lapierre used chicken leg quarters, there’s no reason you can’t use this trick on other pieces of meat, like the breasts or thighs. Simply make the same type of deep cuts, and then insert your seasonings. Be careful not to puncture through to the other side of the meat, though.

This is a fantastic way to prep that leftover chicken before tossing it on the grill—give it a try at your next cookout.

[Via America’s Test Kitchen]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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