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Fried Chicken--Cook-Off 5

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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 09:50 AM

Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.

For our fifth Cook-Off, we're moving away from gumbos, curries, and other stews (sorry, Jason, mole poblano is on the way, as is tagine, Smithy!) and, thanks to a substantial campaign, we'll be firing up the stove for fried chicken. Like gumbo, fried chicken inspires some heated debates, so we'll likely have quite a few different approaches. Bring 'em on!

I'll start with a confession. Though I have figured out a fool-proof fried chicken recipe that I'll post soon, that recipe was borne not only out of convenience and family preference but also out of shame and failure. :sad: Yes, my recipe is for deep-fried chunks of skinless, boneless breast meat chicken (don't you dare call them nuggets!). I fry chicken in this manner both because we like it that way and because I have yet to figure out how to cook whole pieces of chicken to crunchy, juicy perfection. However, if I could bring one food to a desert island, it may well be fried chicken skin from a breast or thigh that's just been pulled out of the oil (I guess I'd need a Fry Baby, too, huh?). So I'm ready to come clean about my fried chicken problem and begin my reeducation pronto.

Incredibly important matters to consider include:

-- skillet or deep frying: Check out the debate on this thread. There are also some tips on pan frying here.

-- coatings: Do you soak? Dredge? Batter? Nothin'?

-- fat: What works? What doesn't? Do you have any consideration whatsoever for your arterial health, or are you a bacon fat and crisco kind of gal or guy?

-- seasonings: Salt 'n' pepper purist? Lots of cayenne? A secret blend of herbs and spices, Colonel?

-- regional affiliation: Where's your receipt from, exactly?

-- accompaniments: Here's a consideration of "healthy" sides. (Stop sniggering.)

And, last but certainly not least, Jinmyo's "perfect" fried chicken: the debate.

So get our your cast iron skillets or deep fryers, digital cameras, grease splatter screens, a bird or two, flour, buttermilk, and way, way more fat, grease, and/or oil than you should consume in a month -- and start fryin'!
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#2 Marlene

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 10:28 AM

During my foodblog I attempted fried chicken for the first time. In fact I attempted two methods at the same time, deep frying and pan frying.

Since then, I've made Dave's deep fried recipe once. I've been meaning to get back to trying Brooks' method again, and this seems the perfect opportunity.

Somewhere, buried in that thread is Brooks recipe which I'll pull out and polish up.

So it will be cast iron pan frying for me for this cookoff.
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#3 Malawry

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 10:47 AM

This is great. I had planned fried chicken for the menu at work soon because my girls keep asking for it--but I'm saving it for Thursday, March 31 (after Lent is over).

I follow an adapted version of Damon Lee Fowler's technique from his New Southern Kitchen cookbook. I cut up whole chickens, brine them overnight, then soak them in a buttermilk-Tabasco mixture for several hours. Drain, pat dry, toss in a bag with seasoned flour, and fry in soybean oil in a pot on the stove. I'll try to take pictures of fried chicken for 34 when I do it, though that will be pretty late in the life of this thread.

#4 fifi

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 10:52 AM

Yee Haa! I am up for this. I think I found the original Martha Stewart recipe (she has several on her site) and it is the one that my sister swears is just about exactly what Aunt Minnie did. All of the elements are there: the buttermilk, Tabasco, baking powder, paper bag for flouring and the bacon grease if she didn't have enough lard. We don't think she added cayenne to the flour, though, just salt & pepper.

My challenge will be finding small enough chickens. The last couple of times I did this, the chicken pieces must have been from a chicken over 4 pounds. They got a little darker than I like before the bigger pieces were done.

Needless to say, I will be pan frying. In my mind, that is the only reason to go to this much trouble at home. I will also try to scale the whole thing down. I know that sounds nuts, but I don't want a ton of chicken hanging around and am not likely to be entertaining If I can find some small enough, I may just do a package of thighs. It will be interesting to see if it is really all that much trouble or if that is just in my mind.
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#5 snowangel

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 11:17 AM

I am so up for this, and my family just grinned when I told them about this cook-off.

First off, I need to buy a cast iron skillet. Hanging head in extreme shame, I admit I don't own one.

I think I'll do legs, thighs and wings since that's what we prefer. I'll dig through my great grandmother's recipe box and see if she has a recipe or at least guidelines, and compare them with the others that people post.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#6 Smithy

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 11:21 AM

<Claps self on the head> Of course! Just try frying a few pieces instead of a whole chicken! What a great idea, Fifi! This way, I'll be able to try it the way my mother taught me and compare it to some of the tantalizing versions y'all are describing. I'll be living on salads the rest of the time, though, just to keep the bathroom scale from snickering at me.

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#7 Timh

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 01:55 PM

Im in on this also, as a southerner I feel it is my duty.

#8 patti

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 02:06 PM

I'll probably get kicked off of this thread, but I'm going to fry it two ways. One batch will be chicken tenders for my son, and the other will be naked chicken for me (skin on, but no batter), and none for my husband, who is the only person I know who doesn't enjoy fried chicken. I really, really, really love fried chicken, but I need to low carb it, which I'm sure will offend, irritate, piss off, and aggravate some posters, but that's what I'm gonna do.
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#9 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 02:18 PM

Im in on this also, as a southerner I feel it is my duty.

View Post

That's because it is. As it also is the duty of anyone from the midwest, Chicago, and just about anywhere else. Report to duty, y'all!
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#10 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 02:19 PM

I'll probably get kicked off of this thread, but I'm going to fry it two ways. One batch will be chicken tenders for my son, and the other will  be naked chicken for me (skin on, but no batter), and none for my husband, who is the only person I know who doesn't enjoy fried chicken. I really, really, really love fried chicken, but I need to low carb it, which I'm sure will offend, irritate, piss off, and aggravate some posters, but that's what I'm gonna do.

View Post

No way you're gettin' kicked off, Patti. I will defend your right to make chicken tenders for your child!

And then I'll share my own tasty recipe!

:blush:
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#11 Jake

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 03:43 PM

Great timing!! My SO just asked yesterday if I'd make some. Haven't done it in years at home, but here we go. I will definitely be frying in a cast iron skillet....now to go dig up an old recipe, or perhaps see what pops up here. Woo hoo, crispy bits o' goodness!!! :wub: :wub:

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#12 torakris

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 04:07 PM

and I still haven't gotten to the curry..... :blink:
It is on the menu for later this week though.

Fried chicken, I don't think I have eaten home cooked fried chicken for over 20 years actually probably closer to 25.....
I have vague memories of helping my mother by shaking chicken pieces in a brown bag filled with flour while she juggled two skillets of hot oil on the stove. I think she switched to baking because it was just easier with 8 kids to feed....

I have never made fried chicken before, but I do make karaage, the Japanese version. :biggrin:

I may have to make a trip to Costco to get chicken with the bones still in, what size chicken should I be looking for?

any recipes that don't use buttermilk? There is no buttermilk in Japan. :sad:

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#13 Marlene

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 04:10 PM

Kris, Brooks' recipe doesn't use buttermilk.

Brooks' Chicken

Dorothy’s Fried Chicken

Several hours before time to fry the chicken, place cut up pieces in covered container filled with ice water that contains 2 teaspoons of baking powder (this is for one chicken with extra legs, as Brooks and Tom love them). Keep refrigerated until time to fry.

Mix SR Flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder to taste (1 tsp. Salt, ½ tsp peppers and garlic for each cup of flour). Let pieces drain dry and pat with paper towel. Make an egg wash of 2 eggs and 1 cup of ICE COLD water.

Dip chicken in egg wash and dredge in flour, making sure that it is completely covered but not lumpy. Place chicken in a large pot or skillet that has a tight fitting lid. The pot should have about an inch of peanut oil in it @ 350F. Cover when bottom of skillet is covered with chicken (Don’t pack it in, this is not a race, it is supper for hungry boys). Cover and cook on medium high for about 12 minutes. Uncover and turn pieces gently, careful to not knock off the flour. Cook for 10 more minutes or so covered, and remove color and brown if needed (most of the time it is not).

Place cooked chicken in doubled brown paper sacks with the bottoms lined with paper towels.
Marlene
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#14 crinoidgirl

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 04:16 PM

I'm in. I'm just about to make it for dinner.

My dad was from Missouri. Fried chicken is ONLY drumsticks and thighs.

Although I'm not sure if he'd approve of the butter/olive oil mixture. :raz:
V

#15 fifi

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 04:17 PM

Kristin . . .

I think I have seen yogurt used in some recipes instead of buttermilk.

Optimum size for a whole chicken to be cut up is about 3 pounds.

I have seen a recipe somewhere that uses Panko crumbs. That sounded pretty good, actually. It doesn't have to be a traditional Southern US recipe.
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#16 torakris

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 04:22 PM

Mix SR Flour


Place cooked chicken in doubled brown paper sacks with the bottoms lined with paper towels.

View Post




SR flour = self rising?


brown paper sacks? like the ones the ones from a supermarket?
Those are REALLY hard to find in Japan.... :sad:
What does this do? can it be skipped?
when do you eat it? :biggrin:

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#17 torakris

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 04:24 PM

Kristin . . .

Optimum size for a whole chicken to be cut up is about 3 pounds.

I have seen a recipe somewhere that uses Panko crumbs. That sounded pretty good, actually. It doesn't have to be a traditional Southern US recipe.

View Post



3lbs is about the size they sell at Costco (for about $15....) and someone is going to teach me how to cut it up right? :biggrin: I think I cut up a whole chicken once about 15 years ago.....


panko, hmmm...

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#18 crinoidgirl

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 04:28 PM

brown paper sacks? like the ones the ones from a supermarket?
Those are REALLY hard to find in Japan.... :sad:
What does this do? can it be skipped?
when do you eat it? :biggrin:

View Post


Yup, brown paper sacks. Though sprinkling it on the chicken on a plate does work, I was brought up on the paper sacks. :smile:
V

#19 Marlene

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 05:29 PM

I can't find brown paper sacks here either Kris. I use ziplock bags to shake my chicken in.
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#20 rooftop1000

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 05:37 PM

last time I saw chicken fried at home my grandmother....Brooklyn born Italian ....fired up the gas grill and dragged out her mothers big black pan, it wasnt cast iron but it was heavy as hell...she didnt want to mess up her new kitchen.
I have a nasty rusty old cast iron pan that I got at a garage sale guess I have to clean it now
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#21 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 05:42 PM

I have seen a recipe somewhere that uses Panko crumbs. That sounded pretty good, actually. It doesn't have to be a traditional Southern US recipe.

View Post

Jinmyo's (above) uses panko and corn meal -- fusion fried chicken!
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#22 edsel

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 05:42 PM

and I still haven't gotten to the curry..... :blink:
It is on the menu for later this week though. View Post

I missed out on the curry cook-along too. :sad: I was away on business, but I enjoyed the tales of lamb curry vicariously.

Kristin . . .

I think I have seen yogurt used in some recipes instead of buttermilk.

Optimum size for a whole chicken to be cut up is about 3 pounds.

I have seen a recipe somewhere that uses Panko crumbs. That sounded pretty good, actually. It doesn't have to be a traditional Southern US recipe.
View Post


Kristin, I think that the "fried chicken" concept for this cook-along is intentionally broad. I feel that you should come up with a tasty "fried chicken" variant appropriate to your circumstance. (No trips to Costco necessary). If that means skinless, boneless chicken coated in Panko, I don't think anyone will feel offended in the least! In my (admittedly limited) experience, the chicken available in Japan is very flavorful - probably a major step up from what I can find in my local IGA. Find some nice chicken meat and treat it to your best coating / frying technique. Your best Italo-American-Jananese-NorthEastOhio effort! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: Yay!

#23 Chris Amirault

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 05:45 PM

I have never made fried chicken before, but I do make karaage, the Japanese version.  :biggrin:

View Post

But that is fried chicken! Make it! Oooh! Please!
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#24 helenjp

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 05:55 PM

I started looking into US fried chicken after learning to make Japanese kara-age.

I use yogurt or even milk instead of buttermilk. Marinaded overnight it makes for a wonderful texture, but I think the chicken doesn't keep as well???

I'll be following along...have no idea how to make fried chicken in a skillet, because I've only ever deepfried it.

#25 edsel

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 06:07 PM

I have a nasty rusty old cast iron pan that I got at a garage sale guess I have to clean it now.
tracey  View Post

There's no better inspiration for cleaning up a cast-iron frying pan than fried chicken! Scour that pan. Have it sand-blasted if necessary! Season it well and enjoy it for years to come. I believe that it was Andiesenji who told us about inheriting a cast-iron pan from her grandmother, who in turn inherited it from her grandmother. A rusty old pan turns into an heirloom when treated with respect. :smile:

#26 Eden

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 08:18 PM

Yay fried chicken!
one answer, and a couple quesions:

brown paper sacks? like the ones the ones from a supermarket?
Those are REALLY hard to find in Japan.... :sad:
What does this do? can it be skipped?

It's just a way to distribute the flour mix over the chicken quickly & evenly rather than rolling the chix pieces around itn a pie plate or the like.

In addition to the ziplocks mentioned above you can use a large tupperware type container, and shake about in that instead. And if it's clear you get the advantage of seeing how well you've coated your chix as you go. basically you just need something you can shake about, without throwing flour all over your kitchen, that will fit pieces of chicken in it nicely.



I've only made fried chicken once and the recipe was for the shallow fried version, but a friend who was helping & has made fried chicken many many times over-rode the recipce and had me deep fry instead. Tasted great! I don't specifically remember ever having the pan fried version to notice the difference, so that's what I want to try for this round (EG cook-offs are all about expanding your horizons, right?)

My first question is how long will buttermilk keep? since I happen to have some in the fridge leftover from making mom's Buttermilk Pie :wub: and I don't expect to get to this immediately...

And second question - does it really have to be a cast iron skillet? If so why? I have lovely big deep le creuset dutch ovens that I would probably use to help control the heat/contain the grease etc, or my LeC fry pan, though it's not super deep. [I was traumatized by Cast Iron as a child :raz: so I don't own a cast iron skillet, but I could probably borrow one if I really needed to...]
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#27 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 08:29 PM

Doesn't anyone ever get asked, "paper or plastic?" when they are checking out at the market? We can still get paper pretty much everywhere, even Wal Mart will offer if you have frozen food.

Anyway, a doubled grocery bag makes a great insulator, and it is what all batch fried food I grew up eating (fish, chicken, hush puppies, whatever) was immediatly placed in.

They allow the food to stay warm, but allow steam to escape , so that the crust doesn't get soggy. See? There's a reason for all of the paper bag talk.

That chicken recipe is good, the one that Marlene posted. Really good. Better than Dave's.

Of course, I've never had Dave's, But that's not really important. Mine's better.
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#28 torakris

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 08:33 PM

Yay fried chicken! 
one answer, and a couple quesions:

brown paper sacks? like the ones the ones from a supermarket?
Those are REALLY hard to find in Japan.... :sad:
What does this do? can it be skipped?

It's just a way to distribute the flour mix over the chicken quickly & evenly rather than rolling the chix pieces around itn a pie plate or the like.

In addition to the ziplocks mentioned above you can use a large tupperware type container, and shake about in that instead. And if it's clear you get the advantage of seeing how well you've coated your chix as you go. basically you just need something you can shake about, without throwing flour all over your kitchen, that will fit pieces of chicken in it nicely.

View Post



But what is the brown bag for after the chicken is cooked?
Way up thread Marlene said:

Place cooked chicken in doubled brown paper sacks with the bottoms lined with paper towels.

EDIT:
I see Brooks was answering my question while I was slowly pecking at my keyboard..... :blink:

Edited by torakris, 13 March 2005 - 08:34 PM.

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#29 Jake

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 08:34 PM

Doesn't anyone ever get asked, "paper or plastic?" when they are checking out at the market? We can still get paper pretty much everywhere, even Wal Mart will offer  if you have frozen food.

Anyway, a doubled grocery bag makes a great insulator, and it is what all batch fried food I grew up eating (fish, chicken, hush puppies, whatever) was immediatly placed in.

They allow the food to stay warm, but allow steam to escape , so that the crust doesn't get soggy. See? There's a reason for all of the paper bag talk.

That chicken recipe is good, the one that Marlene posted. Really good. Better than Dave's.

Of course, I've never had Dave's, But that's not really important. Mine's better.

View Post


Well then, kind sir, please post your recipe!!!!

btw, in Canada you cannot get paper bags anywhere, except the liquor store -- the size of a wine bottle. Guess that's why the gov't wants to send trash to the good old US of A! :hmmm:

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#30 torakris

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 08:36 PM

Kristin, I think that the "fried chicken" concept for this cook-along is intentionally broad. I feel that you should come up with a tasty  "fried chicken" variant appropriate  to your circumstance. (No trips to Costco necessary). If that means skinless, boneless chicken coated in Panko, I don't think anyone will feel offended in the least! In my (admittedly limited) experience, the chicken available in Japan is very flavorful - probably a major step up from what I can find in my local IGA. Find some nice chicken meat and treat it to your best coating / frying technique. Your best Italo-American-Jananese-NorthEastOhio effort! :laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh: Yay!

View Post


:biggrin:

but I want to eat the real stuff!!! :raz:

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