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How to Make a Chick-Fil-A Sandwich at Home


Crouton
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We don't have a Chick-Fil-A within hundreds of miles of my house, which some would say is a good thing while others weep. The recent frenzy got me interested in making a good chicken sandwich at home. This recipe http://www.food.com/...-copycat-439307 is very good. Brining the chicken in dill pickle juice is nearly a revelation, at least it was to me, but it makes sense--salt, vinegar, water and spices--all ingredients that go into a brine, but the dill/Kosher/pickle flavor added a salty, tangy flavor twist to this brine.

I marinated boneless, skinless chicken breast overnight in the pickle juice. I was a bit aghast this morning when I pulled the chicken out of the fridge and saw that it looked like over-cooked ceviche--pale white and the texture looked cooked. Not to worry, the chicken was decidely still raw but had picked-up that pickle flavor.

Instead of all flour, I used 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch to insure the skin got crispy. Pressure fryers typically don't produce extra-crispy deep-fried foods, so you need a boost from cornstarch. The pickle brine was plenty salty, so I'd omit the salt called for in the recipe that goes in the flour mixture.

Now I'm lucky to have a thirty year-old, consumer size combination deep fryer/pressure cooker akin to what I've found Chick-Fil-A, (and Colonel Saunders), use on a commercial scale.

The chicken was dipped in beaten whole eggs, dredged in the seasoned flour, then deep-fried for about 2 minutes in canola oil placed heated to 350 in the pot. Then the pressure lid went on and I cooked the chicken for 6 minutes. This is the delicious result with a beautiful golden crispy crust and soft, moist, briny chicken meat-

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I'll be adapting this recipe to regular, bone-in fried chicken.

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That looks beautiful! Where do you get large quantities of pickle brine from? Do you make it yourself? If so, do you have a recipe?

I have some deep frying oil. I can see deep fried chicken on the menu tomorrow night :)

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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That looks beautiful! Where do you get large quantities of pickle brine from? Do you make it yourself? If so, do you have a recipe?

I have some deep frying oil. I can see deep fried chicken on the menu tomorrow night :)

The recipe called for about 1 cup of pickle brine for the chicken. I used two large breasts cut in half lengthwise then in quarters. I just poured the brine out of a bottle of Clausen Kosher Dills. But next time I'll use the natural brine from my favorite brand of Kosher dill pickles which are made locally.

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The following paragraph appears in the website referred to by the original post. Need anything be said? If the author is correct, they seem to be making a bit of extra work for themselves, no?

"Chick-Fil-A's got quite a bit in common with California burger chain In-N-Out burger. Both serve reasonably priced tasty food of a markedly better quality than your typical fast food establishment. Both harbor a cult-like following of zealots. Both hire and retain extremely upbeat and friendly staff—you can't help but feel just a little more gay after stepping into a Chick-Fil-A. And of course, both restaurants were started by families with extremely conservative Christian principles."

I've never had Chick fil-A, but there must be a lot of ways to make a fried chicken sandwich. Bakesale Betty's works for me, but of course that's not exactly fast food, (although they are fast given the line down the street during lunchtime) nor is it available except in the East Bay, but all it takes is a good bread roll you like, your favorite fried chicken and your favorite non-mayo slaw. David, your idea of pickle brine is interesting. You might try going on line and searching out Betty's cole slaw recipe, which really makes a super sandwich.

My daughter is in Atlanta and claims Chick Fil-A is good. Personally I would prefer to see her on the picket line.

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Brining the chicken in pickle juice made a nice contrast to the crisp, sliced dill pickle on the bun. Another reason I suppose why the pickle-brine makes sense.

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Reading this thread inspired me to fry some chicken, but use a pickle brine. This was the result:

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Recipe for the brine:

- 500gm jar of pickled onions, thoroughly blended in a blender

- 100mL white vinegar

- 50gm sugar

- 80gm salt

- 400mL water

... i.e. an 8% brine. I left boneless chicken fillets in the brine for 12 hours, then soaked it in water for an hour. I made up a dredging mixture as per Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home and dredged the chicken in the flour, then buttermilk, then back in the flour. I fried it up at 180C and removed when it was golden, then finished it in an oven at 180C for 10 minutes until my probe thermometer registered 65C.

The result: very good! The pickled onion really permeated the chicken. But - the brine was not quite as good as Thomas Keller's lemon brine.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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