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The Fried Chicken Debate: Deep Fried or Pan Fried?


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#31 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:33 AM

Dude, Popeye's chicken sucks when it's cold. It tastes like the whole thing has developed an outer shell of hardened Crisco.

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#32 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:46 AM

Note also that shallow-fried chicken is the only acceptable product when it comes to picnics and leftovers. Deep-fried needs to be eaten relatively soon after frying. Shallow-fried is excellent cold.

Now, I would say the opposite, that shallow-fried, especially if done in Crisco shortening, needs to be eaten hot. Deep fried is generally cooked in liquid oil. When it is cold, any remaining oil is less likely to become apparent than shortening. Also, pan fried is so good, I can't imagine leftovers, whereas there is the occasional piece left over in a bucket o'chicken. And, that's what my mom would bring when they visted camp on parents' day (cold fried chicken) for a picnic by the lake.

Edit: Please note, I have only had Popeye's once or twice and only in the last couple years, when we moved to our current location. The fried chicken of my youth was either Roy Rogers or Kentucky Fried (from ages ago, not recently, that chain has not getten better with time).

#33 slkinsey

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:48 AM

We're vacationing in the mountains of North Carolina in late July, and our house is about a mile from an organic farm that has free range chickens and eggs.  It is my goal to have meals like that nearly every day.  Thanks for those memories.

Although I am an northeast big city type, both my parents are from the South and I spent every summer as a child at my Grandfather's house in the mountains outside Black Mountain, NC. I remember many such meals, and try to get back there as often as I can. Is there any better place in July? Not for me.
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#34 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:52 AM

I'm fairly certain that every commercial establishment of the Popeye's and KFC variety uses shortening not oil.

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#35 Dave the Cook

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:20 AM

I'm fairly certain that every commercial establishment of the Popeye's and KFC variety uses shortening not oil.

Have you eye-witnessed this, FG?

Companies like Proctor & Gamble have whole divisions devoted to optimizing frying media for restaurant use, and these products (like Frymax and PriMax) are almost invariably in liquid form. Imagine cleaning shortening out of a, what, 30-quart? fryer and it's easy to see that dispensing and disposal are much more efficient this way. Also remember that KFC is not using regular deep fryers -- their process for Original Recipe uses pressure frying. I would think that this presents a spearate category of challenges, especially when it comes to usable life.

Whatever they're using, us normal folk can't get it.

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#36 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:29 AM

They're liquid at room temperature but are they oil? I thought all those things were olein. I guess I don't understand the difference between olein and shortening.

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#37 Dave the Cook

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:31 AM

I'll see if I can find out.

I also now recall that Primax is shortening -- came in a 50-pound cube.

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#38 slkinsey

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:34 AM

They're liquid at room temperature but are they oil? I thought all those things were olein. I guess I don't understand the difference between olein and shortening.

AFAIK, olein is any fat that is liquid at room temperature but becomes solid at around 0 centigrade. Shortening, in my understanding, is vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated so they are solid at room temperature.
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#39 hjshorter

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:37 AM

I'm fairly certain that every commercial establishment of the Popeye's and KFC variety uses shortening not oil.

Have you eye-witnessed this, FG?

Companies like Proctor & Gamble have whole divisions devoted to optimizing frying media for restaurant use, and these products (like Frymax and PriMax) are almost invariably in liquid form. Imagine cleaning shortening out of a, what, 30-quart? fryer and it's easy to see that dispensing and disposal are much more efficient this way. Also remember that KFC is not using regular deep fryers -- their process for Original Recipe uses pressure frying. I would think that this presents a spearate category of challenges, especially when it comes to usable life.

I worked at KFC for a short time in college. As of 1986, they used shortening that came in gigantic blocks.
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#40 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:38 AM

I also now recall that Primax is shortening -- came in a 50-pound cube.

I'm not familiar with Primax, but I know that Frymax comes in several formulations each of which is for a specific purpose. The one for deep frying is, I think, Palm olein.

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#41 Dave the Cook

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 09:04 AM

I also now recall that Primax is shortening -- came in a 50-pound cube.

I'm not familiar with Primax, but I know that Frymax comes in several formulations each of which is for a specific purpose. The one for deep frying is, I think, Palm olein.

Just wandering around, I found six different formulations of Frymax, including one containing lard.

What I also found was that ACH, the company that bought Frymax (along with a bunch of other brands) from P&G a while back, will further customize oils and shortenings, assuming you agree to buy a lot of it.

I though palm oil was solid at room temperature, with a melting point of about 100 F. How do they make an olein out of it?

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#42 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 09:20 AM

I though palm oil was solid at room temperature, with a melting point of about 100 F. How do they make an olein out of it?

They put it through an olein-making machine, dummy.

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#43 Dave the Cook

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 09:45 AM

I though palm oil was solid at room temperature, with a melting point of about 100 F. How do they make an olein out of it?

They put it through an olein-making machine, dummy.

It's got something to do with nanobots, doesn't it? I knew it.

Mum's the word.

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Eat more chicken skin.


#44 fifi

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:39 PM

I don't know if this is off-topic but... when I was in high school (40 years ago?) my best friend and I would ride our bicycles 2 miles to the nearest Kentucky Fried Chicken (before it became KFC) on Thursdays during the summer. They would have fried chicken livers only on Thurdays. We would load up with a bucket or so and pig out! Wonderful stuff.
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#45 jhlurie

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:46 PM

Note also that shallow-fried chicken is the only acceptable product when it comes to picnics and leftovers. Deep-fried needs to be eaten relatively soon after frying. Shallow-fried is excellent cold.

Now, I would say the opposite, that shallow-fried, especially if done in Crisco shortening, needs to be eaten hot. Deep fried is generally cooked in liquid oil. When it is cold, any remaining oil is less likely to become apparent than shortening.

For what its worth, I agree with Steven. Its not that the Pan Fried is necessarily better cold than hot (it depends on your mood frankly), but it is better than Deep Fried Chicken cold. If the crust is thick enough, it holds up pretty well the next day. The thicker crust seems to preserve the moistness of the inside better, whereas cold seems to leach out some of the juicyness from the thinner-skinned Deep Fried stuff (although sitting under hot lights seems to leach both kinds of chicken equally).

We need one of our resident food chemists to come and explain all of this. :cool:
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#46 tommy

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:57 PM

The thicker crust seems to preserve the moistness of the inside better, whereas cold seems to leach out some of the juicyness from the thinner-skinned Deep Fried stuff

i'm no food scientist, but this makes no sense whatsoever. :biggrin:

#47 fifi

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:06 PM

Forget food science...

KFC or Popeye's cold... yuk! (Based on recent taste tests.)

Homemade pan fried in Crisco and/or lard... Delicious until it rots.

Case closed.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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#48 pogophiles

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 08:43 AM

I agree with Fat Guy on this one. I always pan fry in a cast iron skillet in Crisco with a bit of bacon grease added until the crust is a dark mahogony brown. The crust is shatteringly crisp when still hot from the pan and remains relatively so when cold. I much prefer it to deep-fried commercial chicken. That being said, I think the problem with eating commercially-prepared, deep-fried chicken cold is not the effect of the deep-frying itself -- rather, it is the propensity of purveyors of this type of chicken to coat the chicken in too much cheap batter that causes the problem. That thick hard shell of coagulated crust is just nasty, IMHO...
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#49 formerly grueldelux

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 08:44 AM

They're liquid at room temperature but are they oil? I thought all those things were olein. I guess I don't understand the difference between olein and shortening.

AFAIK, olein is any fat that is liquid at room temperature but becomes solid at around 0 centigrade. Shortening, in my understanding, is vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated so they are solid at room temperature.

My local Whole Foods sells a shortening from Spectrum Naturals that is non-hydrogenated. It's intriguing, healthwise, but it also confuses me deeply. Many recipes that call for Crisco do so precisely because the fat is hydrogenated and supposedly provides a desired effect (see Cook's Illustrated pie dough recipe, e.g. They say that Crisco is hydrogenated in order to incorporate air - giving lift to baked goods - and to raise the melting point.) So you have shortening, but it's not hydrogenated shortening, what do you have? Would it perform the same?

Just answered part of my question (see link below). Turns out it's whipped palm oil. Sounds bad, but it's not palm kernal oil which is the real nasty one. They claim it has less saturated fat than butter and performs the same as Crisco. Can anyone verify?


http://www.spectrumn...shortening.html
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#50 Jinmyo

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 09:18 AM

They would have fried chicken livers only on Thurdays. We would load up with a bucket or so and pig out! Wonderful stuff.

Aaaaaaaah! That's great!
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#51 fifi

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 11:50 AM

Predictably...

Some studies are now finding that palm and coconut oils aren't as bad as once thought. This seems to be leading to the further incrimination of the trans fats, which don't occur in nature (I don't think) but are a product of those nasty old food chemists messing with Mother Nature again.

If you are not confused... you aren't listening.
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#52 jhlurie

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 11:55 AM

This seems to be leading to the further incrimination of the trans fats, which don't occur in nature (I don't think) but are a product of those nasty old food chemists messing with Mother Nature again.

As long as they leave my Splenda alone I'm fine. :biggrin:
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#53 Fat Guy

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 11:57 AM

Some studies are now finding that palm and coconut oils aren't as bad as once thought.

Were there ever any studies that demonstrated a problem with them? I thought the whole anti-tropical-oils campaign had been exposed as a fraud years ago.

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#54 fifi

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 12:06 PM

You might be right FG. I just remember something made me feel guilty using all of that coconut milk in my Thai curries and the palm oil in my popcorn. That was before I decided "To hell with it!" and proceeded to use what tastes good, works for the job at hand, and maybe had some passing resemblance to a natural product. With the exception of fried chicken, of course. In the absence of lard, Crisco rules. But then, you don't eat that every day.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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