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Fried Chicken--Cook-Off 5


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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'!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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.

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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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.

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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.

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 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"
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<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.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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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.

Dear Food: I hate myself for loving you.

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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.

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:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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:

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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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:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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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

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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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.

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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Mix SR Flour

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

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:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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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.

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...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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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:

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

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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

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

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and I still haven't gotten to the curry..... :blink:

It is on the menu for later this week though.

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.

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!

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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.

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

tracey 

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:

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