Whole grilled roasted mini chicken with green salad on ceramic plate on blue linen tablecloth. Close-up. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Science Behind Why Roasted Foods Stay So Moist
By Julia Mullaney
Roasting allows meat to cook while it forms a caramelized skin, which adds to the food's flavor profile, but many people choose to roast their meat to lock in moisture. While the skin helps with that, there's science behind why you use a technique such as basting the meat while it cooks.
When it comes to locking in moisture, it's all about the fat, as adding an element of fat helps so that the meat doesn't dry up as quickly. Fatty cuts of meat stay moist because the fat fibers melt, helping to moisten the rest of the meat while it cooks and creating a juicy, tender flavor.
For example, cooking a chicken with the skin on helps lock in moisture because it has plenty of fat. According to Cook's Illustrated, for added fat elements, you can baste the meat, letting the oils and melted fat pour over it, or coat the meat in fat, such as mayonnaise.