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Fried Chicken


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One of my former GF's (there are so many ;-) is an excellent cook and recently tried a different method for fried chicken prep. She had always used a traditional southern method that was kicked up a notch with some additional dry seasonings. It involved dipping in milk, then flour and frying in clean deep oil - very simple. She has now tried the buttermilk and cracker crumb method and found the coating to be very tenuous - it kept falling off and she returned to the original method mid-stream.

What i haven't noticed anyone mention is the prep for the chicken. I had a woman friend in Kentucky who was raised as an active cook from a young age. Her method involved thoroughly washing the chicken parts the previous evening, salting them and setting aside covered until cooking time. They would then be washed a second time and thoroughly patted dry before milk dip, seasoning and dredging in flour. Cooking was in a large cast iron skillet or pot to ensure maximum retention of heat in the oil. I asked about the salting and she advised that it was to draw the blood and excess moisture out from the chicken. Anyone have experience with this or thoughts on the validity of this method? I'm wondering if it's just a holdover from the days of her youth when the chicken had been killed and plucked just before arriving in the kitchen (she grew up on a farm).

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What i haven't noticed anyone mention is the prep for the chicken. I had a woman friend in Kentucky who was raised as an active cook from a young age. Her method involved thoroughly washing the chicken parts the previous evening, salting them and setting aside covered until cooking time. They would then be washed a second time and thoroughly patted dry before milk dip, seasoning and dredging in flour. I asked about the salting and she advised that it was to draw the blood and excess moisture out from the chicken.

I've soaked chicken in lemon water to get rid of the excess blood. It all depends on how much prep time I'm afforded...

I've never tried the milk or buttermilk soak tho...

:hmmm:

Iris

GROWWWWWLLLLL!!

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What i haven't noticed anyone mention is the prep for the chicken.
Oh, yes I did, Phaelon56. :sad: Guess you didn't notice in all my other verbiage. :wink:
Cut up the bird into pieces of relatively close size/density.

Brine (I like to add lemon juice and Tabasco to the salt water.).

Since I grew up on kosher chickens, I never knew the need to brine. But even the best non-kosher chickens benefit from brining. Basically what your Kentucky friend was doing was "kashering." Not the exact prescribed method, but the same general idea.

Wilfrid: poutine is a (French-?)Canadian delicacy of fries, brown gravy, and cheese curd. I've never had the, um, pleasure to actually eat it, but I've got some friends who swear by it. And of course others who swear AT it.

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Sounds smashing, Suzanne.  Actually, it could be quite nice.  :smile:

It is French Canadian in origin, and I'm one of those who swear AT it. Ugh.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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One of the ways in which I make fried chicken is to poach the pieces in buttermilk with peppercorns. Remove them, refrigerate on a rack until ready for use. Then double dip in seasoned flour and egg, fry. This way I only need to get a good crust and don't have to think about cooking the flesh through.

Sometimes on the other hand I brine then double dip.

Sometimes I use cornmeal and panko in the flour.

"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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I asked about the salting and she advised that it was to draw the blood and excess moisture out from the chicken.

I've soaked chicken in lemon water to get rid of the excess blood.

Excess blood? Where do you people get your chickens? :shock:

And what would "excess moisture" be? Is dry chicken preferable? :huh:

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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Yes, chicken should be dry. It can be given a spritz of lemon juice in the oven, but it should be dry going in except for oil, butter etc. And certainly very dry when being dropped into 360 degree fat. :shock:

"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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Dry on the surface, yes. But an overnight salting will draw moisture from the flesh. This is what I don't understand, unless the salt is in the form of a brine. And in this case, your objective would be to add moisture, not remove it.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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A slightly different version(oven fried) that my mom made to bring on a picnic.

cut up chicken sqaked in buttermilk

coated in cornflake crummbs seasoned with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, and cayanne powder.

baked(oven fried) in her mothers well oiled roasting pan.

I can still taste that chicken today. Great cold the next day.

I'm a NYC expat. Since coming to the darkside, as many of my freinds have said, I've found that most good things in NYC are made in NJ.

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Dry on the surface, yes. But an overnight salting will draw moisture from the flesh. This is what I don't understand, unless the salt is in the form of a brine. And in this case, your objective would be to add moisture, not remove it.

David, brining flavours the flesh and draws moisture.The flesh is tenderized because of the breakdown of proteins, not the addition of moisture.

"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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  • 8 months later...

How do you make your fried chicken? If I have enough time, I brine the bird, then soak it in buttermilk for a couple of hours, dip in lots of very lightly seasoned flour, and fry in an iron skillet in vegetable shortening.

What do you cook yours in?

How do you pre-treat it?

What do you use as a crust?

White or dark??????

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Brine: yes, with water, salt, lemon or lime juice, hot sauce (lots of all)

Buttermilk: never. I guess I still harbor a few kosher sensibilities, which prevent me from mixing any milk product with poultry.

Coating: basically all-purpose flour with lots of Old Bay and/or Goya adobo mixed in. Extra ground black pepper. Sometimes other flours, e.g. chickpea, as well (in which case then possibly a bit of ground fenugreek and curry powder, either Indian or Jamaican). I like spicy. I leave lots of the brine on the chix so the flour sticks. No batter, no crumbs.

Frying medium: canola oil, sometimes with some cheap tasteless olive oil that I need to get rid of. And if I've filtered it to reuse, some chicken fat as well.

Frying container: either my AllClad Chef Pan (kind of like a wok with a flat bottom and handles) or my new 12" cast iron skillet.

White or dark: what are you, crazy? Take a chicken, cut it up: 2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 pieces of breast, and cut the backbone in half. The last is the best part, of course.

Is this "Southern fried?" I don't know. I don't care. I like it. :laugh:

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Is this "Southern fried?"  I don't know.  I don't care.  I like it.  :laugh:

OK then, here's my recipe. Gas up the car, put the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Circle" cds in my cd player, drive to Charlotte NC picking up Varmit on the way, and get to Price's Chicken Coop before they close for the evening.

Edit: This recipe only works Tuesday thru Saturday

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I never brine for fried chicken and I always leave the skin on. Usually I soak the chicken for 3 - 4 hours in whole milk and a dash of Cholula or occasionally in buttermilk (no hot sauce), and then dredge in all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne. I cook it in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet in vegetable shortening plus a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease until I get a shatteringly-crisp dark mahogony crust. In cutting up the chicken, I only get three pieces from the breast, one of which is the pulleybone (wishbone).

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

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Brine: yes, water and salt only, for about an hour, then rinse. After reading Suzanne's technique, I might try adding Tabasco in the future. However, my understanding of capsicum is that the molecules are not very water-soluble, and I would bet that not much is getting inside the meat. Since she doesn't do a post-brine rinse, the pepper sauce hangs around. I'm going to have to try this.

Dairy: overnight, in low-fat buttermilk. Some sort of colloidal thing goes on that helps the liquid cling to the skin. This doesn't happen as well with the full-fat version. I think that Suzanne's lemon brine probably results in the same tang as the buttermilk soak.

Drain the chicken, but do not rinse. Season with sweet paprika, black pepper, granulated garlic and onion, dried thyme and cayenne. Seasoning at this point, before coating, ensures that the spices and herb don't burn. Fried chicken, and a few Cajun recipes, is the only reason I have garlic and onion powders in my larder.

Coating: a dredge in all-purpose flour, then allow to dry for about 15 minutes.

Frying medium: usually about 1/2-inch of vegetable shortening, with a tablespoon or so of rendered, filtered bacon fat. Like Suzanne, if I've got something else around -- for instance, duck or chicken fat, or lard -- I'll mix fats gleefully.

At 325 to 350 F to start, it takes about 12 minutes per side. If it's for immediate serving, I cover it while the first side cooks. This gives you a great exterior crunch and a soft, dumpling-like texture just underneath -- something you have to experience to appreciate. However, this doesn't do so well for next-day picnics, because the undercoat leaches through the crust. So if it's for later, I leave the lid off the whole time.

Cookware: cast-iron, almost without exception. Since maintaining the fat temperature is important, cast-iron works because of how well it holds heat. It occurs to me that this sort of frying (with relatively deep fat) would be a good application for a large, fully-clad saute pan, like All-Clad or Cuisinart Multi-Clad.

Don't forget the spatter screen.

As for it being Southern: from my reading, the technique of liquid dip/coat in starch/fry in fat is essentially Southern, and wasn't known much outside the South until around 1870, when cookbooks started to mention the technique. These early notes often reference not just the South, but specifically "Negro cooks." One might deduce that the African-American diaspora following the Civil War played some part in all this.

In American Cookery, James Beard mentions an Austrian techique that is nearly identical, but he makes no attempt to reconcile it with American history.

Finally, Suzanne: if memory serves, our 12-inch fryers were separated at birth. Mine has been treated strictly according to the FG protocol: clean only with stainless steel pad and water. It's doing great; it is exemplary among my cast-iron pieces. How's yours?

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi all, I'm new here, enjoy all the posts, and am certain someone can help with this problem.

I don't fry chicken often, but when I do I have a problem getting pieces cooked through without getting the crust too dark. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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325 degrees is all you need to know.  When the crust is dark, the meat is cooked.

Correct. This time and temperature combination works perfectly (though I always check a thigh with a temperature probe).

And 325 is probably lower than you think -- it's just below medium on my electric range. Just be sure to let the pan and the fat come all the way to temperature before putting the chicken in.

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

Eat more chicken skin.

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With most fried foods, if it's going to overcolor before it's done in the center, you can drop it in a hot oven to bake until it finishes. I've salvaged all sorts of fried foods that I inadvertedly fried at too high a temperature this way: hush puppies, egg rolls that I should have defrosted before frying, etc.

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