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jhlurie

The Fried Chicken Debate: Deep Fried or Pan Fried?

54 posts in this topic

When I was young, and my grandparents lived on a farm in Nebraska, I spent most of every summer with them.

Sunday after church, grandma would put on a house dress, and I'd put on shorts and a gingham shirt, and we'd kill and clean a chicken.

She'd get out the flour, salt, pepper, a can of crisco, some lard (rendered by Dorothy, her sister-in-law; one farm down), and fry a chicken in the cast iron skillet she got from her mother who got it from her mother (which is now MINE :biggrin: ). I'd cut the potatoes and eggs and onions for yellow potato salad (made with miracle whip, yellow mustard and a splash of vinegar.

If it was late enough in the summer, we'd have a plate of sliced tomatoes, but we always had either fresh picked peas or green beans.

If the bugs weren't bad, we'd sit on the back stoop and eat. She always had ice cream (several different flavors) in the upright freezer in cake cones for dessert.

I just love summer.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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For the record, I don't think there's anything wrong with liking KFC or Popeye's.  For me, its just a matter of degree.  Your mouth may be happy with KFC in it, but it might be VERY happy with Stroud's.

Or not.  I'm not going to put down anyone for liking fast food chicken.  It's those "best" labels I'll occasionally question, and maybe at most I'd ask if its really "like" more than "love" for some of those fast food choices.

The fact of the matter is that Popeye's chicken is better than most fried chicken from independent establishments. It is the McDonald's fries of chicken: always good, technically proficient, and in general an improvement over the local standalone competition. That certainly doesn't make it the best, though -- a good shallow-fried homemade specimen will beat Popeye's anyday.

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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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When I was young, and my grandparents lived on a farm in Nebraska, I spent most of every summer with them.

Sunday after church, grandma would put on a house dress, and I'd put on shorts and a gingham shirt, and we'd kill and clean a chicken.

She'd get out the flour, salt, pepper, a can of crisco, some lard (rendered by Dorothy, her sister-in-law; one farm down), and fry a chicken in the cast iron skillet she got from her mother who got it from her mother (which is now MINE  :biggrin: ).  I'd cut the potatoes and eggs and onions for yellow potato salad (made with miracle whip, yellow mustard and a splash of vinegar.

If it was late enough in the summer, we'd have a plate of sliced tomatoes, but we always had either fresh picked peas or green beans.

If the bugs weren't bad, we'd sit on the back stoop and eat.  She always had ice cream (several different flavors) in the upright freezer in cake cones for dessert.

I just love summer.

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.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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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.

i really don't believe that. and i don't believe that you believe it either. popeye's, for example, is excellent cold, and 2 days later it still remains crispy. i can't imagine you can say much more about "shallow-fried", especially considering there are a thousand people making it a thousand different ways.

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


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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).

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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.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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.


Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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?


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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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.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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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:


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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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:

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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"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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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...


Those who do not remember the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

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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.spectrumnaturals.com/organicshortening.html


"Tis no man. Tis a remorseless eating machine."

-Captain McAllister of The Frying Dutchmen, on Homer Simpson

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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!


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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