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Fried Chicken: Cook-Off 5

Chris Amirault

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My wife requested home-fried chicken a couple of days ago. I'd never had really good luck with frying, so checked out this thread before going shopping...

First, a finding that may help some. Several people early in the thread had trouble finding small chickens....I read the discussion there and realized that trying to fry too-large chickens was one of the reasons I'd had trouble getting my chicken cooked through without burning the crust.

So I went to a couple of markets, and saw no chickens under 4 lbs (I only look at the free-range chickens so can't say the mass-factory hens were as uniformly large). At my local co-op the smallest chicken they had at the meat counter was 4.8lb...that was in the "Jr." line! I asked the counter man if he had smaller, and he said no, nobody wants small chickens. But his senior, probably the dept manager, thought for a second and said that the chickens the co-op deli uses to make their prepared foods are quite small.

I asked the counter man to bring me the smallest they had in the deli's cache....he came back with a 2.96 pound chicken. These are still from the same well-known free-range supplier, the mgr said, they just don't package these little guys for retail sale. He sold it to me at the same per-pound price as the "Jr" chickens from the same supplier....probably a good deal for the co-op, but I didn't mind paying a small premium for a special request, and, hey, I'm a co-owner of the co-op anyway. :)

The small chicken fried up very well....6 pieces (I didn't halve the breasts) fit fine in my large dutch oven, which saved splatter compared to when I've used the skillet. And they cooked through while the crust was still at the GBD stage.

That was the good news, other results not so good. First, I did some foolish second-guessing of proven recipes and tried to cut down salt in the marinade and flour; rewarded with very bland chicken.

Second, I wasn't happy with the results of shallow frying. A couple of recipes above mention Crisco 1/2" deep; Alton Brown suggested 1/3" deep on his fried chicken episode of Good Eats. So I tried 1/2" (before adding chicken)....my chicken came out nice and crispy top and bottom, and the meat was cooked through to the bone, but the skin and crust along the sides of all pieces were very underdone and gummy.

Today I talked with some coworkers who've been frying chicken for decades according to methods learned at grandma's elbow, and they said such shallow frying was hopeless - you've got to have at least an inch of fat, or enough to almost cover the parts. Makes sense to me after my experiment.

Can those who adhere to the very-shallow frying method expand on any details in technique that might be essential to success?



Matt T

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i had to keep washing my hands, coming back to the DVD and rewinding before re-attempting. wash and rewind, wash and rewind.
If you're watching video on a laptop (or scrolling through Egullet) while cooking, try covering the keyboard in plastic wrap...just make sure you don't cover any ventilation ports (which on a laptop are sometimes the speakers) when you tuck the plastic under.


Edited by Matt_T (log)


Matt T

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My father is from Rayville, Missouri (pop. 204) and my grandmother and aunts were famous for their fried chicken. Their secret was long cooking times, not the coating. Although considered simple food, this kind of meal would keep my grandma busy in the kitchen all morning, she usually started cooking right after breakfast.

This was our typical "Sunday dinner" (lunch):

Fried Chicken-One chicken (free range) cut into 10 pieces (two wings, two drum sticks, two thighs two breasts and two backs)



-Black pepper

-Vegetable shortening (Crisco) or lard (lard is best)

Season chicken pieces well with salt and pepper then roll them in flour and put them into a cast iron frying pan with 1.5 cm of oil or lard and fry them over medium heat until brown on all sides. Once browned lower the heat cover with a lid and let them simmer very low until the meat is very very tender about 30 minutes, when done place the pieces on paper towels to drain the fat.

Cream Gravy for Fried Chicken

Pour off most of the fat in the pan that you fried the chicken in, allowing about two tablespoons to remain, be sure to leave in any bits of browned flour, add two tablespoons of flour and cook slowly until it begins to take on a light golden color, add 1/3 liter or more of milk and stir frequently bringing the gravy to a rapid boil, it should be quite thin, if not add milk, then boil the gravy over medium heat until the bubbles are are the size of dimes and gravy is a nice consistency.

Mashed potatoes

No recipe, just beat them with some warm milk until they are smooth, put them in a big bowl and top with butter and black pepper.

Creamed Corn

2 Cans of corn (or fresh)



Black Pepper

Sugar to taste (we liked it pretty sweet)

Put corn and some cream in a blender or food processor and blend shortly until the corn is coarsely pured and slightly soupy add cream, salt pepper and sugar to taste and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Creamed corn should be slightly sweet and thick.

Shelly Beans

1 Pound fresh green beans stemmed and cut in half

1 lb of cooked brown beans like pinto or Borlotti (canned works too)

A large handful of left-over shredded smoked pork or bacon

One small onion finely chopped


Black pepper

Vegetable oil

A little water

Fry the onion slowly in the oil over medium heat and when translucent add the pork and beans and a little bit of water, season and cook slowly until the green beans are very tender but still hold their form.

Cole Slaw

8 Cups finely chopped cabbage

1/4 Cup carrot, shredded

1/3 Cup sugar

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1/8 Teaspoon pepper

1/4 Cup milk

1/2 Cup mayonnaise

1/4 Cup buttermilk

1 1/2 tbs. white vinegar

2 1/2 tbs. lemon juice

Shred cabbage and carrots into small pieces. (The food processor is great for this!) In salad bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, milk, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar and lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Add the cabbage and carrots. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 6 to 8

Coconut Cream Pie

1 Pie shell, 9", baked


1/3 Cup sugar, granulated

1/4 Cup cornstarch

1/4 Tablespoon salt

2 Cup milk, whole

1 Can cream of coconut (8oz)

3 Egg yolks; beaten

2 Tablespoon butter/margarine

1 Cup coconut, flaked

2 Tablespoon vanilla


3 Egg whites

1/2 Tablespoon vanilla

1/4 Tablespoon cream of tartar

1/3 Cup sugar, granulated

2 Tablespoon coconut, flaked

For filling, in a med. saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in milk and cream of coconut. Cook and stir over med. heat till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 mins. more. Gradually stir about 1 Cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return all of the mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir till bubbly. Cook and stir 2 mins. more. Remove from heat. Stir in margarine or butter till melted. Stir in the coconut and vanilla. Pour filling into baked pie shell. For meringue, let egg whites stand at room temp for 30 mins. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar on med. speed of an electric mixer till soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, till stiff peaks form. Evenly spread meringue over hot filling; seal to pastry edge. Sprinkle with the coconut. Bake in a 350° oven for 15 mins. Cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 3 to 6 hours before serving.

All of these recipes are from my book The Ex-pat's American Comfort Food Cookbook unpublished, but if you PM me I will send you an free e-copy.

Edited by SWISS_CHEF (log)
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All of these recipes are from my book The Ex-pat's American Comfort Food Cookbook unpublished, but if you PM me I will send you an free e-copy.

I am happy to say that due to popular demand :wink: I have posted the the cookbook here. I hope you enjoy it.

Sorry the first link is bad: try this

Edited by SWISS_CHEF (log)
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Ah, fried chicken. I can think of no other food, really, that inspires more debate over how to do it. Battered vs dredged; marinated vs dry seasoned; brined vs not; deep fried vs shallow fried.....you know the drill lol

I grew up in Georgia with an African-American nanny/cook/housekeeper (don't hate me for my childhood circumstance :-) ). We always looked forward to those times when my parents would go out of town and she would stay overnight with us as those were the times she cooked fried chicken, grits and greens for supper (grits and greens are a whole 'nother subject). I learned from the age of awareness how to make fried chicken just by watching her; perched on a stool...watching and listenening to her stories about growing up on a remote, primitive island in SC. She also taught us how to make and fish with a handline and "fin" crabs so they would not pinch you after caught if you had no basket in which to put them...but I digress..

Catherine's Fried Chicken

(no measurements given as she never measured anything)

AP flour, about 3 cups

generous amount of salt

black pepper (enough so when shaken together you can see the pepper as specks about 1/4 inch apart)

A handful of salt

about a quart of water

A young chicken, cut up (2 each wings, thighs, breasts, legs, backs)but can be nore if desired as long as you increase other components accordingly.

Soak the chicken in a brine of the water and salt for about 2 hours at room temperature. Remove chicken from brine into a seive in the sink to drain.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a brown paper bag (these day, I use a gallon Ziploc) Add the chicken, a couple of pieces at a time, shaking the bag well after each addition. Leave the bag to sit while you get the fat up to temp, approximately 15-20 minutes, shaking the bag from time to time.

about 3" melted fat: lard combined half and half with peanut oil in a 12" cast iron dutch oven with a lid. She never used a thermometer..she could tell when the temp was right by the way the fat "moved". She let it come to temp slowly over medium to medium low heat which took about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the chicken to the hot fat 3-4 pieces at a time, shaking the chicken in the bag before each addition. Place the lid on the dutch oven and fry for about 10-15 minutes on the first side with the lid on. You can remove the lid to see if pieces need to be moved around but do not turn them yet and keep the lid on for the most part. When the chicken is done to the desired browness on the first side, remove the lid and turn the chicken over, frying on the second side until it reaches the desired color. Remove the chicken from the pan to drain on a rack with a brown paper bag under it. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.

As I said, this was always served with grits with plenty of butter stirred in until it was all melted and homogenous, and greens (usually collards) cooked with bacon or fatback.

As I was the one who stayed in the kitchen, soaking up the tutelage of this remarkable woman: my black mother, we were the ones to share the cook's treat...those delicious little pieces of skin she trimmed off when cutting up the chicken, fried to perfection and consumed as readily as her wit and wisdom.

Try it, if you are used to preparing fried chicken a different way. Let us know your results and pass on the legacy of "Catherine's Fried Chicken"



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"Catherine's Fried Chicken" is nearly identical to the method I learned sitting on a stool in my grandma's kitchen. (We had a white housekeeper, who made the world's best sugar cookies. But, chicken was my Grandma's domain.)

The only differences are:

Instead of brining, Grandma just put the chicken pieces in a bowl and salted them well, tossing them around in the bowl every now and then for 30-60 minutes before proceeding. And, she used Crisco for the frying.

I haven't fried chicken in a long while... I think it will be on next weekend's menu! Tonight, I'll have to make due with fresh baby butter beans, squash casserole, beets, tomatoes and some cornbread.

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How delicious that I found this thread about Fried Chicken.

Fried chicken is one of my favorite foods and a few years back I wrote a story about my quest for finding the best fried chicken recipe. You can use this web address to go to the story:


Now let me start by showing you a photo of a recent fried chicken drumstick that I cooked. Beautifully golden, crispy skin enrobing juicy, steaming chicken. Delicious.


Fried chicken is one of those dishes-like bread or chili-that is not defined by one reciple alone. There are of course thousands of recipes for fried chicken

and depending on the cook you talk to, their fried chicken recipe is 'the best.'

I've recently posted reviews on eGullet about dinners at Guy Savoy, Wing Lei and Alex in Las Vegas-three of the top restaurants in America today. And while I enjoy a good measure of caviar and foie gras served amidst the luxury trappings of an elite dining room, I like to come home to a mound of fried chicken. You cannot be a food snob when it comes to fried chicken.

While I would never claim my fried chicken recipe to be 'the best,' it is pretty dang good. And it might surprise you that I use the same basic cooking method that was used by one Kentucky Colonel many years ago.

Yes, I make fried chicken just like Colonel Sanders-that is to say the 'broaster' method of frying chicken under pressure. This is the same basic method that many supermarkets use in their deli departments today to fry chicken.

When I posted my fried chicken photo in the 'Dinner' forum I found a couple of fellow eGulleteer's who also 'broast' chicken.

The basic idea is that the chicken fries for about two minutes in hot oil in the base pot of the pressure cooker. Then you put the lid on, screw down the pressure handles and let the chicken cook under pressure for about 15 minutes. You'll be worried at first that you've created a gurgling bomb of fat and steam that may blow off at any moment. Don't worry, it won't if you buy a pressure cooker that is rated for cooking foods in hot oil under pressure. I bought a 'Fagor' brand pressure cooker about 6 years ago and use it to this day and have never had an accident.

I checked the Fagor website today and they still sell pressure cookers, but I couldn't find reference to their cookers being approved for cooking with hot oil. I'd suggest you call them direct and ask them about their pressure cookers if you are interested in buying one. Mine cost about $150.

As far as the chicken goes, I don't think it matters if you use organic, free-range, antibiotic free or plain supermarket chicken. Use whatever kind of chicken you think tastes best. But don't use a big old stewing chicken. It's tough and probably would be tougher after it was fried.

I like to use smaller frying chickens because they cook quicker and I just like the looks of smaller drumsticks.

I buy whole chickens and cut them up myself. I usually stray from the supermarket method of eight pieces of chicken per bird: two drumsticks, two thighs, two wings and two breasts. I cut each breast in half so I get 4 breast pieces and 10 pieces out of one chicken.

I start by soaking the chicken in salt water. I suppose you could call it a poor man's brine because I don't add peppercorns, bay leaf, sugar or any fancy seasonings to the water. Just salt. And I don't 'brine' the chicken to add flavor so much as I 'soak' the chicken, (as the country folk say), to draw some of the blood out of the chicken. Soaking the chicken also keeps the chicken pieces wet so the coating sticks to the pieces.

I dredge the chicken in a mixture of fry mix, baking powder, salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. The addition of baking powder is what helps the chicken get crispy on the outside.

I usually dredge the chicken, chill it, then dredge it a second time before frying. This is also a technique commercial cooks use to fry crispy chicken. After the first dredging in the flour mix, put the chicken pieces on a cookie rack over a cookie sheet. Put the chicken in the refrigerator for an hour. The flour will look a bit gummy on the chicken pieces, but don't worry. Dredge the chicken a second time so it has another blanket of coating and then it's ready to fry.

I add about 3 inches of canola oil to the bottom of my pressure cooker pot. I like canola oil because it is tasteless and doesn't interfere with the taste of the chicken. Some cooks use peanut oil for deep-frying because it has a high smoke point. But I don't like the strong flavor of peanut oil with fried chicken. Old time cooks often use Crisco or pure lard to fry chicken in a cast iron skillet-a good method to be sure, but in my opinion not as good as 'broasting' chicken.

I let the oil get to 350 degrees and then in go the chicken pieces. I let the pieces of chicken fry about 3 minutes to seal in the juice and crispy the skin, then on goes the pressure lid. You have to make sure the pressure valve is in the proper position to allow steam and pressure to escape during the short 15 minute cooking time.

I pull the valve up to the full up position when the chicken is done to let the steam escape. Then slowly take the lid off. Remove the chicken pieces and put them on a cookie sheet to drain. Don't put the fried chicken pieces on brown paper, paper napkins or a towel to drain. You don't want the pieces of chicken to come into direct contact with a piece of paper or cotton. If it does, the bottom of the chicken will be soggy. Putting the chicken on a rack to drain allows air to circulate around the entire surface of the chicken piece, keeping it crisp.

Pressure-cooked chicken, ala 'broasted' chicken, is extrememly hot when it comes out of the pot. I let the chicken pieces rest at least 20 minutes before serving them. If you eat the chicken straight out of the pressure cooker you'll get burned with any steam the chicken releases.

And my fried chicken is delicious, and still a bit crispy, when it is served cold. Don't wrap the chicken is plastic wrap, don't cover it in a Tupperware container. If you are lucky enough to have fried chicken that wasn't eaten at dinner, just put the pieces on a plate and put the plate of chicken in the fridge. Let it cool overnight. It is delicious for breakfast!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't believe I never followed up here after my last attempt. It didn't turn out well at all - far too dark, undercooked on the inside, and greasy. My temperature control was horrible on that electric stove.

Earlier this week I decided I'd try yet again, now that I have better equipment. The temperature control on this gas stove is better, and it's easier to gauge the oil's temperature with my new infrared thermometer. Yesterday I splurged on two nice chickens at Whole Foods, though they're a bit big (3.8 and 4.0 pounds). I cut them up and soaked them in seasoned buttermilk overnight.

I'm planning on frying most of the chicken pieces tonight for dinner, so for lunch I "practiced" on two wings. My problems have always been that the crust got very dark way before the meat was done, so I figured the wings, with their large surface-to-mass ratio, could help me see if that was going to be a problem tonight.


(New camera, by the way)

The wings reached 165+ in the time it took the crust to get as dark as I'm comfortable with. I'm afraid the other pieces will take too long too cook through. Also, the crust is thinner than I like. My breading process is to drain the chicken from the buttermilk for several minutes, shake on a mixture of spices, dredge in flour, knock off the excess, and let sit for a couple minutes. The crust is crispy on the most subtle level, as if the skin were barely coated in flour when fried. I'm looking for something much more crunchy. I'm afraid double-breading would either produce a soft bready crust, or introduce far too much sugar from the buttermilk and cause the crust to get dark even faster. Do you have any recommendations for me?

Edit: I forgot to mention that I was frying in canola oil, somewhere between 330 and 360. I don't trust my thermometers enough to quote an exact number, but my infrared thermometer gives me a temperature about 20 degrees above what my digital (meat) thermometer immersed in the oil gives me. The infrared thermometer read between 365 and 380 while the chicken was frying. I'm afraid of a greasy result if I bring the oil temperature down.

Edited by Restorer (log)

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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Tonight's fried chicken was a success, finally. I was able to keep a good eye on the temperature, and control it well with gas. It's all down to the equipment. To enhance the crust, I didn't drain the buttermilk from the chicken for more than a few seconds, and after the first dredge in flour I let it set for 5 minutes, then dredged again and let it sit another 5 minutes. They fried until the first side was just past golden brown, but not yet mahogany - probably about 8 to 10 minutes for the drumsticks and slightly longer for the thighs.


The crust was nice and crunchy while the chicken stayed hot, but after sitting for 15 minutes it was a little softer in places. The taste was right on.

For anyone looking for details on the cooking methods, here's a bit of a recipe. I fried in a 12" cast iron skillet in about half an inch of canola oil. I brought the oil up to 350 or hotter to start, then maintained it at 325 while the chicken cooked. All the chicken made it to 150 internal temperature before coming out of the oil (so it probably gained another 5 degrees or more as it rested). The whole chickens were all-natural air chilled chickens from the Whole Foods meat case, 3.8 and 4.0 pounds. The pieces were soaked in buttermilk overnight with plenty of salt, tabasco, garlic and onion powders, and black pepper. They were removed from the buttermilk one at a time, let drip for a few seconds, then dredged in flour. They sat on a rack until the flour coating had moistened, then got dredged in flour again, and the excess knocked off. The drumsticks and remaining wing were fried in one batch, and the thighs in the next batch.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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As I’m busy recovering from a compound fracture in one leg/ankle and simple fracture in the other, some weeks to spend at the computer and so have been reviewing current - and excavating past threads, and will put up various comments and so forth.

As for fried chicken, my father’s family is from the South [Carolina} and so ‘southern’ fried chicken was a central part of the family cuisine, which came down from my grandmother and her family - simple, rich and yummy & tastes just as good here in Africa:

Road-Runner Southern Fried Chickens & the Fixins


- One of our African Road-Runners

Melt about ½ cup of butter in a heavy cast-iron pan

Mix some flour, salt and pepper in a paper bag

Wash and dry [partly] chicken

Shake a few pieces of chicken in the flour at a time

Place chicken in the melted butter on a low-medium heat

Simmer, turning, as required but not covered, until done

Once done, use drippings to make gravy:

Flour - salt - pepper cooked in the drippings till browned

Add milk a little at a time, and cook to consistency you want


Cook long-grain rice in this way:

Wash and put about 1 cup in boiling water with salt

Continue at a rolling boil until the ends of the rice begin to separate

Put rice in a metal colander and rinse well under cold water

Put colander over a pot of boiling water and steam rice, covered, till done

*Don’t* throw away water in which rice is boiled - save to use as a starch for your clothes!

Make biscuits:

Preheat oven to 350 or so

Melt about ¼ - ½ cup butter in a cake pan

Make your favorite biscuit recipe - cut or do as drop biscuits

Place biscuits in the pan - best if they are all touching

Bake till done.

Make collards

Clean and chop up a large bunch of collards

Put in a pot with a large chunk of fatback or a lot of bacon

Salt & Pepper

Simmer until done and broth is cooked down

‘Pot liker’ is good so don’t throw away

Voila - a super-fat, super-delicious and easy southern home dish.


Burundi AFRICA

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For those who have trouble getting the nice brown caramel color of a great fried chicken, Ky hubby suggests that you should not cook the chicken too fast, that would result in some burnt spots. His technique is to cook it over medium to high heat and then back down the heat once the color of the skin starts turning light brown. You need to really watch the chicken fry and see if the heat needs to be turned up or down.

Edited by Domestic Goddess (log)

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

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  • 5 months later...

Reading this entire thread with my face still numb from a visit to the dentist was not the best idea in the world. Torture really since I was at least a couple hours away from being able to taste let alone enjoy food.

I dismembered a chicken and have same marinating in butter milk a little salt and a generous dollop of chili garlic "sauce" (more of a paste really) from the same folks who make the red rooster sauce.

I'm looking forward to frying this up tomorrow; will be my first attempt at (southern) fried chicken - I make chicken schnitzel all the time but have never tried this.

Should be fun.


--formerly known as 6ppc--

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How delicious that I found this thread about Fried Chicken.



Hi David..I enjoyed the article..I was wondering if you changed your method for frying chicken..in the article the chicken is dipped in a batter and here you say cook it after the second dredge. Do you prefer the second method better? Your picture is killer.

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I soak my chicken pieces (cut exactly the way that David Ross describes, into 10 pieces) overnight. I use a mixture of buttermilk and Crystal hot sauce. I then drain the pieces, and toss them in a mixture of AP flour, S & P. I let them air dry for 20-30 minutes, then into 360F peanut oil. We had a Chicken Fest last weekend (for 18).

When I make fried chicken for a crowd, I use my turkey fryer (you can see it in the background) and set up an assembly line:


As the first batches come out of the oil, I hold them in a 200F oven until the rest is done:


Ready to eat:


Nothing goes with fried chicken like a mess of collards and a pan of mac and cheese:


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demiglace, if I were on death row, that would be my last meal. Fried chicken (with buttermilk and Crystal!), mac & cheese, and collards! Especially if you had some salt pork in there when you cooked those collards.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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I'm taking my first stab at fried chicken tomorrow night. The breasts and legs from two birds, plus a bunch of additional drumsticks are soaking in buttermilk at this very moment.

Wish me luck!

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demiglace, if I were on death row, that would be my last meal.  Fried chicken (with buttermilk and Crystal!), mac & cheese, and collards!  Especially if you had some salt pork in there when you cooked those collards.

I hear what you're saying :biggrin: Kbjesq did a great job with that chicken dinner!

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demiglace, if I were on death row, that would be my last meal.  Fried chicken (with buttermilk and Crystal!), mac & cheese, and collards!  Especially if you had some salt pork in there when you cooked those collards.

I hear what you're saying :biggrin: Kbjesq did a great job with that chicken dinner!

Well, thanks guys . . . but that's not entirely true. I did NOT post a photo of my biscuits, which were almost worthy of a spot on the anti-dinner thread! :shock:

Long Live Fried Chicken!

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My biscuits look like hockey pucks, so I would never criticize. Anyway, nice job Kbjesq!

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Late as ever!

Have got 6 Poussin in the freezer, am going to fry them this weekend using my new found knowledge.

However a butchery question, they are small and I want to know how to remove the breast bone and keep both breasts attached either side to that main keel cartilage. Which I will then dredge and fry?

Can anyone point me at photo's of how to do this (I can't see any) or give a good description?

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I rarely fry anything, but this thread is making me pretty interested in doing some chicken. There doesn't seem to be consensus on the buttermilk soak...but it sounds like a good idea. Also, what types of oil seem to be favored? Lard is out for me. Would you want a different oil if you deep-fry vs. shallow fry? Do most of you prefer the taste of peanut oil to corn oil when it comes to fried chicken?

I notice that several folks are sheepish about frying skinless, boneless chicken. If I died and went to heaven I would eat lots of chicken skin and plenty of bacon, but I really can't do that in this life--at least not very often. (And what, by the way, is a chicken tender? Is it just a kid-sized piece of white meat?)

About the highest best use for larger pieces of boneless, skinless fried chicken hit the East Bay several years ago in the form of Betty's Bakesale, a small shop that sells pastries and a few sandwiches. Word spread and lines were long for Betty's fried chicken sandwich. It's simple and fabulous. It looks like she cuts a half breast into approx 3 or maybe 4 lengthwise pieces. I believe she does a buttermilk soak, but I'm not sure. On a french type roll she places several hunks of just-fried chicken, tops it with a generous heap of spicy non-mayonnaise slaw, adds the top half of bread and that's it. Frequently she sells out by noon. Before I went gaga over this sandwich I had never heard or thought about a fried chicken sandwich. I'm guessing there are plenty of you who have, though!

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The buttermilk soak is something that's nice when time allows, but in terms of the tenderizing effect on chicken tenders....well, I'm not sure a cut of meat can get any more tender. :wink: The chicken tenderloin is actually a section of the breast meat that is closest to the keel bone on a chicken. When I'm cutting up a whole chicken, if I'm good, I can run the knife right along that bone and come up with a whole breast. If not, that tender can get coaxed out with a little more knife work.

I rarely fry myself either, Katie Meadow, but the best tip I know is to fry in a decent amount of oil that is hot enough. I shallow fry in a cast iron skillet and I use canola oil (I find it neutral tasting, though I know some people find heated canola oil to put out an off flavor).

Personally, I would pre-salt/spice the chicken ahead of time to let it marinate, then do a roll in seasoned flour, a dip in hot sauce/buttermilk, and another roll in seasoned flour. (shaking off excess after each dry/wet coating).Let the chicken sit for at least 15 minutes for crust formation, then shallow fry in oil that sizzles and bubbles moderately as soon as the chicken hits the oil (with heat maintained at that level through the fry), turning once, until deeply golden on both sides. Place on a wire rack to cool and let the crust set for at least 5 minutes before eating.

With bone-in chicken, there can be a challenge of cooking the chicken through without burning the buttermilk/flour coating (I think this has to do with the lactose in the buttermilk promoting browning?)....but the tenders should cook up quickly enough for that not to be an issue.

There's also the oven-frying method, of course....but perhaps that would be out of place on this thread, and I'm not sure how much fat it would save. Sometimes I find that the way heat is transferred to oven-fried foods allows for more oil absorption in the crust. Maybe my methodology is off.....

By the way, that sandwich sounds delicious!

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This all sounds plumb scrum-diddly-umptious!! :wub:

I just got in on the last page of this thread, but when I have time to read it all, there will be some G.R.I.T.S. honors going out all over the world.

Looks like you'll all have to line up like a Moonie wedding. This is too splendid for words---good cooks all.

P.S. How many black skillets involved?

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I tried the buttermilk overnight soak. Dusted with seasoned flour(in a leaky paper bag :blink: ) and used what oil I had...a mix of canola,olive,grapeseed and lard. I really liked the results..I think I will spice up the next batch a little more but all in all it worked well. The chicken isn't greasy and has a lovely crunch to it. Thanks to all for the imput..it really helped.


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