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Fried Chicken--Cook-Off 5


Chris Amirault
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I forgot to mention another change from my olden days and another comment. After I took the pieces out of the buttermilk and coated them with the flour mixture, I let them sit on a high rack for about an hour and a quarter before frying. I believe that is a valuable step. Also, I don't drain on paper towels after frying.

I soaked 2 cut-up 3.5 pounders in 3 cups buttermilk with 1T kosher salt.....  And I purposefully omitted the salt from the flour when dredging to avoid over-salting.
Surely, I should have been that smart and known better than what I did, giving me the overly salty crust.
I drained on a rack over a pan, which worked well for me (as opposed to a paper towel or brown bag drain).
Same here. I did have some sense in that regard. :smile:
.....but crisp crust alone does not a good chicken fry make.

Very good point! -- One easy for me to forget, I love the crust so much. Last night was a lesson in that for me, with the wonderful taste of the chicken meat.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I did Brook's recipe on Saturday night, after coming home from a long night of partyying, we just had a CRAVING for fried chicken, so I was in luck that last week I had stumbled on this thread.

I did the baking soda/cold water thing, for about 20 minutes...

I fried up, chanced it because I didnt have a thermometer, but I was keeping a CLOSE watch...It turned out GREAT...my only quiestion, while the crust was crunchy, and nice, it was not THICK enough for my liking, any suggestions?

Also...one of my biggest problems with frying chicken...

THE SMELL!!!

That entire night, and the day after the house REEKED of frying, I had our big a$$ hood fan on high, the door open, but still, even after lighting incents...it still smelled...

Anyyone have any any suggestions of how to combat that horrid fried stink?

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Actually, I don't mind the smell at all.

And to get an extra crunchy crust, try double dipping next time.

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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Good idea...double dipping...although my mom always taught me not to...but we wont tell :raz:

I enjoy the smell WHILE cooking, but its after, when the oil smell kind of goes stale, and its just wafting around...There has to be something...maybe making some pop corn after...hmmmmmm

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Rachel, I'm doing Brooks's tonight.  The soaking solution is ice water and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.  I have no idea why.

then when it comes out of the water, it gets the egg wash.  I don't recall washing off the brine after, when I did Brooks recipe during my blog, but then again, I have a short memory. 

I'm going to put spices directly onto the chicken and some mixed in with the flour as well.

The egg wash will probably adhere better if you pat the chicken pieces dry, then dust with a little bit of flour mixture (not very much will stick, so it's not the same thing as "double dipping") and then go into the egg wash. This is because wet things like to stick to dry things and vice versa. Dusting the towel-dried chicken pieces with flour makes the surface of the chicken dry before it goes into the egg wash.

--

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The egg wash, for any kind of frying, will adhere better and you will get much better results if it is COLD! Maybe some food scientist can step in here and explain this, but it is absolutely true. When I am frying production style, like I did on Friday night, I will throw some ice into the wash if it starts to warm up.

And as far as double dipping goes, 2 light coats is the way to go. Trying to really crust on the flour will make the surface brittle and uneven and cause the crust to fall away as the chicken is moved around during frying (which you want to keep to a minimum anyway).

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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You don't need to wash it for the recipe that Rachel is referring to. And like Marlene, I have no idea why either. :shock: I just know it works. :laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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My chickens are cut up and I'm ready to marinate. I definitely want to do the buttermilk thing, I mean I bought buttermilk and everything. Think I should add the 2 teaspoons of baking soda to that?

Edit: OK, I've read around some more. I'm going to brine for an hour (water/salt), then rinse. Then buttermilk and hot pepper sauce until tomorrow. I'm going to start brining now. If you have any more advice re: marinating, please post within the next hour. I'll check in again before buttermilking!

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Brooks - why do you include water in your eggwash? I've always made 'egg-wash' just be whisking togethr lots of eggs, and nothing else. Does the addition of the water help everything to adhere better somehow?

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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No. Don't add baking soda to the buttermilk. It will just fizz away. You can't combine the baking soda technique with the buttermilk technique. You gotta pick one.

You can combine the brining with the buttermilk, however. What makes the Martha Stewart recipe so like what Aunt Minnie did, in addition to adding some baking powder to the flour. That does get a little bit of a puff in the crust.

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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The egg wash, for any kind of frying, will adhere better and you will get much better results if it is COLD! Maybe some food scientist can step in here and explain this, but it is absolutely true. When I am frying production style, like I did on Friday night, I will throw some ice into the wash if it starts to warm up.

Just a guess here, but cold egg wash probably has increased viscosity compared to warm. This likely means not so much that the cold egg wash adheres to the chicken better when it's cold, but that the layer of egg wash is thicker once adhered. Related, but not exactly the same thing. Again, just a guess.

--

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Brooks - why do you include water in your eggwash?  I've always made 'egg-wash' just be whisking togethr lots of eggs, and nothing else.  Does the addition of the water help everything to adhere better somehow?

I have always been taught that the addtion of water makes it easier to work with and will prevent you from getting "eggy taste" on your food. It does the job better than pure egg, as well, as you get better coverage on the food unless you are using a ton of eggs to make a deep enough dip. I regularly add stuff to it, hot sauce, etc. for a little different flavor depending on what I am making. I have used eggs with nothing else but Crystal Hot Sauce for the wash on shrimp, lots of times. It really zings things up nicely.

In my college/post college restaurant days I was the kitchen manager at Mike Anderson's Seafood in Baton Rouge for about 5 years. We made our egg wash (in giant tubs) pretty much the same way and I can safely say that, for as far as high production seafood goes, that is the finest, most controlled fying I have ever seen and if it's good enough for Mike, it's good enough for me. He was a tough boss, but he was a nut about food quality and presentation.

Dean is going with the Lil Varmints to MA's today, so perhaps he can give you a report on the accuracy of my statement as to their food quality. He is on dial up though, so it might be next week before he gets to it.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Interesting, I just assumed that the water from the wash suddenly hitting the hot fat in the pan could lead you some pyrotechnics...

I wonder if it is possible to combine the buttermilk brine and egg-wash methods, just cracking and whisking several eggs into your buttermilk before soaking the chicken overnight in it...

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Well. After reading along on this topic for days, I decided it was Time. Fried chicken comes to Amsterdam!

Buttermilk is very common here (lots of people drink it, instead of milk. My husband's standard breakfast is buttermilk with granola) so no problems there. I marinated my chickenthighs for about 6 hours in buttermilk, with some salt and some tabasco added.

Now, while buttermilk is common, cast iron skillets and brown paper bags are not. So I had to improvise a bit. Here's what I did for the flouring: I put the flour (with salt and pepper) in a large plastic container. Chicken in, lid on top, and shake. This worked really well. (Glass of wine in the background, for courage) :laugh:

gallery_21505_358_58513.jpg

For the skillet: I thought that my cast iron wok was the closest thing to the skillets I have seen on this thread. Here are the thighs fryin':

gallery_21505_358_41059.jpg

I have no thermometer to measure the temp of the oil, and it worried me a bit that I would not know when the chicken was done. Then I decided to stick a meat thermometer in. This gave me a feeling of control and I was able to take the chicken out when it was perfectly cooked.

I made two salads to go with the chicken, because I thought (correctly) that I would not want to mess with hot side dishes while cooking the chicken. I made a potato salad with lemon parsley mayo, and a salad of sauteed yellow courgette, avocado, tomato and basil.

gallery_21505_358_42074.jpg

The most important thing.. the chicken tasted fantastic. My husband, who loves chicken, almost ate his fingers :biggrin: (this is a dutch expression). The flesh was really moist and juicy and the crust was very crispy crunchy yummy.

Thanks for giving me the courage to do this, I think this won't be the last piece of chicken that I fried!

edited to add two things:

- I fried in sunfloweroil, because my supermarket was out of peanut oil, and I have no idea what Crisco is or what to substitute for it,

- to prevent greasiness, I did what I always do when I shallow fry or deepfry: when I take the stuff out of the pan, I hold it over the hot oil with tongs for at least half a minute, to let it drip really well.

Edited by Chufi (log)
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I have to admit that I find it amazing that a discussion about fried chicken could go into this much detail and end up involving people from all over the globe (who knew that an iconic dish like fried chicken would have so much general appeal?). Chicken Frying in Japan, all parts of North America, Europe, etc. has, on some level, got to be a really great thing. This has been most enjoyable. Thanks to everyone.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Fried Chicken just seems to appeal to everyone. I also happen to think that Fried Chicken is the best comfort food going, especially served with my other favourite comfort food, mashed potatoes.

I'm big on comfort food these days.

That said, this is exactly the kind of thing that makes us sit up and realize what a global organization we've become.

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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Damn, I knew I shouldn't have revisited this thread again......off to the store for supplies, will be trying the buttermilk method for fried chicken today/tomorrow. 24hrs is too long to wait!!!!

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

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

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I have to admit that I find it amazing that a discussion about fried chicken could go into this much detail and end up involving people from all over the globe (who knew that an iconic dish like fried chicken would have so much general appeal?). Chicken Frying in Japan, all parts of North America, Europe, etc. has, on some level, got to be a really great thing. This has been most enjoyable. Thanks to everyone.

For me the appeal is that this is a dish that I, in my culture, am unfamiliar with, but that people on the other side of the world are really passionate about. I had read about fried chicken in many cookbooks and was always amazed about how a dish that seemed to be relatively simple, could evoke such heated discussions on how to do it 'right'. When food is discussed like that, for me it can go either way: I feel intimidated ("I will never be able to do it right so I'd better not even try") or I get curious what the fuss is about and want to try it for myself!

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Rinsed my chickie and it's now bathing in buttermilk, about 1/4 cup hot sauce and 1-2 tsp salt until tomorrow.

BTW - Tonight we're having bulgogi.

Hey, while we're at it, anyone have advice for frying/serving the chicken liver? Specifically, I'm thinking of the fried chicken livers from Jacques Imo's in NOLA. I'm soaking them (just the two from the chickens I cut up) in milk until tomorrow, then I plan to just dredge them in the same flour mixture as the chicken. But I won't fry until after all the chicken is done because of Jason's paranoid aversion of all things liver, jic one breaks and "contaminates" the oil. :laugh:

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Wow! Who'd a thunk it? The wonderful aroma of fried chicken wafts across the globe.... I agree with Susan that the smell of fry is great, but I can understand why other folks don't want it in their bed sheets for a week. We open two windows on either side of the stove, which seems to work pretty well.

Chufi, your wok idea is a great one! I have a Le Creuset cast iron skillet I was going to use, but I fear that the sides are too small. I think I may get out my wok and make mine in that.

Meanwhile, Rachel asked a question a while back today:

What goes in the flour dredge? If I salt the marinade, does the flour need to be salted, or should the chicken be salted as it comes out of the fry, like other fried foods? If I put seasoning in the flour, will it burn in the oil? Also, someone above used baking soda, why and what does it do to the crust?

Folks can correct me if I'm wrong (and will I'm sure! :raz:), but most flour dredges contain some salt and a LOT of black pepper. However, in my chicken nugget recipe, I add half of my seasoning mix to the pieces and the other half to the flour. That recipe's seasonings change according to what we're feeling like: Cajun, Mexican, curry, whatever. I think that the flour prevents the seasonings from burning -- or it seems that way to me.

I didn't get a chance to get the chicken today, but perhaps tomorrow.... Soon, though!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chufi . . . That is just some gorgeous chicken! That is the color I am after which brings up the "porky chicken question." How big are the typical chickens there? Converting to kilograms, 1.1 - 1.4 should be ideal. 1.6 is pushing it. Here it is not uncommon to see 1.8 - 2.3 sold as fryers. :blink: The thighs I did looked like they came from at least a 2.0 kilogram porker. Therefore, they fry up a bit darker than I like.

Crisco is this stuff. Basically, it is hydrogenated vegetable oil so that it is solid at room temperature and has a long shelf life. The bad part is that, being hydrogenated, it is high in trans fats. They have a new version without the trans fats. I have no idea how they do that. I wouldn't worry about it since it is quite apparent that your sunflower oil did just fine. Now, if you could get your hands on fresh (not hydrogenated) lard, that would be even better. :biggrin:

You brought up a point that I hadn't thought about . . . the cold side dishes. Now that I have thought about it, it makes perfect sense. About the only common hot side I can remember is mashed potatoes. And, those hold over pretty well. I can remember the pot with its lid on sitting in the warm oven.

Fried Chicken has gone global! Same thing happened with the gumbo. Very cool.

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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Chufi . . . That is just some gorgeous chicken!

thanks fifi.. :wub:

How big are the typical chickens there? Converting to kilograms, 1.1 - 1.4 should be ideal. 1.6 is pushing it. Here it is not uncommon to see 1.8 - 2.3 sold as fryers.

well, as you know, everything in Europe is smaller :wink: so I guess that's true for the chickens as well.

My thighs were not very large. Now that sounds weird. But you know what I mean.

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