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Fried Chicken--Cook-Off 5


Chris Amirault
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I think you're overthinking this just a little. You're working on theory, but have you actually tasted real fried chicken? How about fried chicken without skin? Nevermind about all the moisture loss and heat diffusion...how about what it tastes like? Skin is a whole other component, that people eat. Yes it gets crispy under the batter. The batter clings to it and forms a crispy crunchy jacket.

When I hear "fried chicken", it calls to mind a certain product, the Southern US style. If you're going for something different, then okay. But, I see you're thinking of flour and buttermilk and all, so I assume you're aiming for Southern Fried Chicken. That product is leagues away from a boneless, skinless, chunk of brined and sous-vided chicken. What you're concocting sounds alright, tasty, but not "fried chicken". Did you find that "Cook off" thread I mentioned?

Edited by Lilija (log)
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I think you're overthinking this just a little.  You're working on theory, but have you actually tasted real fried chicken?  How about fried chicken without skin?  Nevermind about all the moisture loss and heat diffusion...how about what it tastes like?  Skin is a whole other component, that people eat.  Yes it gets crispy under the batter.  The batter clings to it and forms a crispy crunchy jacket.

When I hear "fried chicken", it calls to mind a certain product, the Southern US style.  If you're going for something different, then okay.  But, I see you're thinking of flour and buttermilk and all, so I assume you're aiming for Southern Fried Chicken.  That product is leagues away from a boneless, skinless, chunk of brined and sous-vided chicken.  What you're concocting sounds alright, tasty, but not "fried chicken".  Did you find that "Cook off" thread I mentioned?

I completely agree with this ..after making wonderful fried chicken for about 30 years I am thinking as well that you are overthinking or (giving you the benifit of doubt) trying for something else other than what we think of as fried chicken?

intact chicken is what real fried chicken are all about removing the skin and bone gives you as Lilija says "nuggets"

I dont even get the idea of sous-vided chicken? why????

find the thread it is all about making fantastic fried chicken!

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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thanks SeaGal, hummingbirdkiss and Lilija, reading through the thread now...

I live in Hong Kong and so have never tasted a 'proper' southern styled fried chicken, but I took your advice and stopped over thinking by starting the process!

Last night bought 2 imported USA "free range" legs, 2 local (China) "running" (same as free range i think) and just for comparison's sake 2 frozen brazil ones too.

Created a brine solution of salt, honey, garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, zest and juice of lemon. Seperated thighs from legs (not removing bone or skin haha) and brined since last night 1am...

Issues not decided, most posts on the thread says 3.5 lb chickens are ideal, but since I only have the legs, what % of a chicken's weight is in the legs, i.e. if i weigh the legs can I estimate the weight of the chicken? If weight > 3.5 then I might sous vide it first (play safe don't want to serve raw / burnt chicken), if <= fry raw....

Also, after removing chicken from brine, gently washing and drying, whether to soak in buttermilk for some time or simply double dredging it before frying.

Also, some used baking power or self raising flour in the mix, not sure whether I'll do that.

Also garlic, onion and cayenne pepper, add to the flour or rub on chicken first then do the dredging...

thanks again!

oh, say I fry at 8pm, if my GF gets home late at 11.30pm (she's a chef at L'Atelier and Robuchon is in Hong Kong this week!) should i fridge it for those 3 hours or leave it room temp?

~ Sher * =]

. . . . .I HEART FOOD. . . . .

Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy. - Anon

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salt pepper and red chile you have enough flavor in the brine ..nothing else if this is your first taste make it simple! ...no baking powder either..just flour .. ..pat the pieces dry and then I single dip ..but if you want to double dip ..dust with flour then dip in the eggwash and dust again ..some folks dry the chicken ..I dont ..

I dust with seasoned flour and fry until crispy and brown

chicken should be room temp when frying and I either deep fry

or crowd a deep iron skillet turning one time when the bottom is perfectly cooked lid on for a few min of cooking

can not wait to hear how it turns out

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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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:

I'm sure I'm replying late & haven't even read all the posts in this thread, but the paper bag thing started in the 1950's. Before that, everyone breaded their chicken in a bowl or on a plate or whatever container worked for them. I think the thing with the paper bag was the chicken wasn't floured as heavily using the bag - and it was one less container to have to hand wash (most of us didn't have dishwashers back then). I can't get the same lightly floured result using a ziploc but I sometimes use one. Other times I bread my chicken in a 13 x 9 pyrex dish or something similar.

OK, here's how my grandmother fried her chicken. She was from OK, and her mother was from MO. She would cut up one whole chicken and dredge it in flour that was heavily salted and also heavily peppered. She swore that Watkins' pepper was the very best to use when frying chicken. She put the chicken in a plastic bag in the refrigerator overnight after it was breaded. Usually it was a plastic bread wrapper she had saved and washed. I have no idea what she did before plastic bags arrived on the scene. I suspect she just breaded and fried the chicken. I know that when I was little she still had an icebox instead of a refrigerator.

Leaving the breaded chicken in a bag in the frig overnight is the key to crispy chicken. She also would use nothing but Wesson Oil to fry her chicken in. Over the years I've tried many other substances to fry chicken in, but she was right. Wesson corn oil does seem to work well. These days I use canola oil for health purposes.

She fried the chicken in a cast iron skillet in about 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of oil. She stood over it and nursed it along, usually with a two tined fork, turning it as needed. I use tongs. She also salted and heavily peppered the chicken again while it was frying in the skillet. Most of the pepper was sprinkled onto the bony side of the chicken pieces.

One day when I was in junior high and was taking home economics class, I put it all together and asked my grandmother if it might be possible to finish cooking the chicken in the oven. She had been standing over the stove frying chicken for her extended far too long and I was desperate to find a way to help her get off her feet. And, no, she wouldn't let me take her place. We decided to line a shallow pyrex pan with 3 layers of paper towels, put the browned chicken into that pan in a single layer and put it into a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. It worked! She was satisfied with the finished product and was able to sit down for a bit. And, that's the way I've fried my chicken ever since.

Yes, I've tried the buttermilk soak, and a million other ways of frying chicken, but if I want my granny's fried chicken, I go back to her simple way of doing it.

Linda

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Just wanted to add a funny story I heard yesterday while visiting with family. My mother and uncle were thnking back on the wonderful fried chicken my grandmother used to make. A few Sundays every month, she would fry chicken after church and serve it with what seemed like gallons of purplehull peas, mashed potaoes and gravy.

My mom never fried much, but periodicly through the years tried to get her fried chicken to taste like her moms—to no avail. Finally, they were in the kitchen together once when my mom was frying chicken and lamenting to my grandmother that she had to be missisng something because her fried chicken never tasted like my gramma's.

My grandmother watched her for a few minutes and then said she was missing something—patience. :raz:

Nobody fried chicken like my gramma did. The stuff dreams are made of.

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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Just wanted to add a funny story I heard yesterday while visiting with family. My mother and uncle were thnking back on the wonderful fried chicken my grandmother used to make. A few Sundays every month, she would fry chicken after church and serve it with what seemed like gallons of purplehull peas, mashed potaoes and gravy.

My mom never fried much, but periodicly through the years tried to get her fried chicken to taste like her moms—to no avail. Finally, they were in the kitchen together once when my mom was frying chicken and lamenting to my grandmother that she had to be missisng something because her fried chicken never tasted like my gramma's.

My grandmother watched her for a few minutes and then said she was missing something—patience.  :raz:

Nobody fried chicken like my gramma did. The stuff dreams are made of.

Absoulutely, patience! What a great story. Watching my grandmother stand at the stove caring for the chicken as it cooked was watching patience personified.

Linda

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  • 4 months later...

I want to make Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich which tupac(many numbers) has posted about elsewhere. The recipe calls for a buttermilk soak. Japan, however, does not have buttermilk.

My choices:

1) Use milk soured with vinegar

2) Use Saeco buttermilk powder

3) Use regular milk

4) Skip the soaking altogether and find some other way to get the coating to stick

I would prefer number 1, 3, or 4, as I only have so much precious buttermilk powder. But if number 4 is preferable, should I use egg? If I double dip, as the recipe suggests for making a thicker crust, should I double dip in egg twice, or find something else for the second dip?

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I want to make Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich which tupac(many numbers) has posted about elsewhere.  The recipe calls for a buttermilk soak.  Japan, however, does not have buttermilk.

My choices:

1)  Use milk soured with vinegar

2)  Use Saeco buttermilk powder

3)  Use regular milk

4)  Skip the soaking altogether and find some other way to get the coating to stick

I would prefer number 1, 3, or 4, as I only have so much precious buttermilk powder.  But if number 4 is preferable, should I use egg?  If I double dip, as the recipe suggests for making a thicker crust, should I double dip in egg twice, or find something else for the second dip?

Is yogurt available where you are? That might also give you the combination of tanginess and dairy.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Okay, so . . .

A few quick questions after having read through most of the posts, which is taking forever, and I'm short on time, and that's frustrating, and someone should invent a 30-hour-day with the additional six hours being strictly for reading eGullet . . .

Dredging: flour first? Egg wash first? What's your preference?

Salt brine AND then a buttermilk bath for a while (or overnight) or one or the other?

Bone-in chicken - is this really that much more trickier than no-bone chicken when trying to obtain a good crust and a cooked interior. If so, what are some quick one-liner techniques to make bone-in easier?

Thanks much.

(I also tried searching for the following in one search but just couldn't nail this down: dredge "flour first" "egg wash first"

Thanks again,

Edited by Starkman (log)
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Okay, so . . .

A few quick questions after having read through most of the posts, which is taking forever, and I'm short on time, and that's frustrating, and someone should invent a 30-hour-day with the additional six hours being strictly for reading eGullet . . .

Dredging: flour first? Egg wash first? What's your preference?

Salt brine AND then a buttermilk bath for a while (or overnight) or one or the other?

Bone-in chicken - is this really that much more trickier than no-bone chicken when trying to obtain a good crust and a cooked interior. If so, what are some quick one-liner techniques to make bone-in easier?

Thanks much.

(I also tried searching for the following in one search but just couldn't nail this down: dredge "flour first" "egg wash first"

Thanks again,

First off, there's a very basic difference between a buttermilk brined chicken (you put salt into the buttermilk) that's dredged in flour than one that is in an egg wash before the flour dredge. Back up on page 10, Marlene talks about this.

My family much preferred the shattering crisp crunch of the buttermilk/flour mix than the egg wash/flour dredge. Also, you'll note up-topic that we found that the temps for the buttermilk method should be lower.

And, way back when when fifi and I were experimenting with this and talking about it over the phone as we were doing it we noted that once the chicken was in, it helped to put a lid on the pan to help raise the temp back to what it should be. Our grandmother's and great aunts always did this, and we didn't figure it out until we were frying the chicken.

The oil is important. Canola need not apply. Fifi and I found that a combo of crisco and bacon grease, or peanut oil were the best of all.

Now, as to the bone-in. If you watch the temp, and are doing the buttermilk, and keep it at 350, you'll be fine. And, if you don't cut up your own chicken, you're just not going to have any backs, which is the reason I fry chicken. They are mine. There is some meat, but lots of skin, and lots of nooks and crannies for crusty goodness.

And, oh me oh my, if you're buying boneless stuff, you're paying someone way too much to keep some of the best parts of the chicken! Should you want boneless pieces, bone them yourself and start a bone bag for stock. But, gnawing chicken off the bone is a VERY good thing!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Is yogurt available where you are? That might also give you the combination of tanginess and dairy.

MelissaH

I have yoghurt! Would you suggest mixing it milk or water, or just use yoghurt straight up?

I'd probably try it straight up, since that's what I seem to remember Indian-style marinades doing. You may need to actually wipe it off the chicken pieces afterward, rather than just letting it "drain" off.

If I were going to thin it, I think I'd probably use milk. Is this an excuse to try not just one batch, but two?

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Is yogurt available where you are? That might also give you the combination of tanginess and dairy.

MelissaH

I have yoghurt! Would you suggest mixing it milk or water, or just use yoghurt straight up?

I sometimes use yogurt for my fried chicken. I let it sit for a couple of hours in the yogurt, which I spike with Sriracha for a little spice (enough to make the yogurt pink so that you know its there). Like buttermilk, it denatures (I'm not sure this is the proper word...) the protein a bit, making it more tender. Then, I just strip the excess yogurt off with my hands before flouring with flour seasoned with Old Bay seasoning (at least twice before shallow frying, preferably in real lard). The yogurt works just as well as buttermilk, I think. This is the way my mom makes it--never misses.

nunc est bibendum...

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  • 3 months later...

Has anybody ever experimented with using both brining and marinading (with buttermilk) for their chicken?

I imagine it would have to be done in two separate steps, as salt does not dissolve well in cold liquids and I don't think it's a good idea to heat up buttermilk. Perhaps pickling salt would do the job, but I don't have any of that.

Does anybody think that the additional moisture uptake makes a difference?

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Has anybody ever experimented with using both brining and marinading (with buttermilk) for their chicken?

I imagine it would have to be done in two separate steps, as salt does not dissolve well in cold liquids and I don't think it's a good idea to heat up buttermilk. Perhaps pickling salt would do the job, but I don't have any of that.

Does anybody think that the additional moisture uptake makes a difference?

Your bump to the thread inspired me to cook 7lbs of legs this weekend. I always associated fried Chicken with nicer weather, but it tastes just as good when it is 10 below outside.

I only soak in buttermilk. I think doing the brining is another step that would add too much misture to the chiken. I salt and pepper the chicken all over and then take a good sized onion, some cloves of fresh garlic and some hot sauce (I used Franks this time) throw it in a blender with some buttermilk and let it grind the veggies to nothing. I soak ovenight, run through some seasoned flour and shallow fry in lard and Crisco. It always comes wonderful.

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Wow, 19 pages of fried chicken! I make it maybe 5 times a year, like this:

1. poach a whole chicken

2. let it cool, then break it down into manageable chunks.

3. dip chunks in a sticky liquid like buttermilk or egg/water. Yogurt works, too.

4. coat wet chunks in the dry batter. This time it was flour, cornmeal, graham cracker crumbs, crushed granola, herbs de provence and garlic salt.

5. shallow fry in canola.

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I used to shallow fry first, then bake until cooked through. I switched to the pre-poach technique because you get a terrific chicken stock from the poaching liquid and it makes for moist lower-fat chicken. If this were a bigger bird, I would've broken it down before the poach.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Chicken went into flour/water batter on the left, then into plain flour on the right.

I just tried this. Using the flour/water mix then dipping it into plain flour makes the crunchiest fried chicken I've ever had. It's also the best make-ahead fried chicken because it keeps the crunch even after it's been in the fridge for a day. Thanks for showing us this. It's great.

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Chicken went into flour/water batter on the left, then into plain flour on the right.

I just tried this. Using the flour/water mix then dipping it into plain flour makes the crunchiest fried chicken I've ever had. It's also the best make-ahead fried chicken because it keeps the crunch even after it's been in the fridge for a day. Thanks for showing us this. It's great.

Glad it worked for you. Did you season the chicken, the wet slurry or the flour?

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The first time I made it I just seasoned the flour, but it needed more. I use kosher chicken, so it's already salted but the bulk of the coating comes from the slurry, I think, so the next batch I seasoned the slurry and the flour.

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  • 5 months later...

Right, not sure how "July 4th" fried chicken is but woke up this morning and decided to do a meal from your side of the atlantic tonight.

I read through most of this thread and went shopping. decided to do the recipe from martha stewart but had to cheat a bit and only had the chicken in the buttermilk for about 2 hours (I'm so bad at planning ahead with food!).

I used 50:50 vegetable shortening (Trex) and Beef dripping and intended it to be a semi-shallow fry approach but really it was deep-frying. I cooked it at about 350F for 10 minutes or so which left the dark meat amazingly juicy and tender, white meat was a bit far gone for me after about 8 minutes in the second batch. The coating was amazingly crisp, a bit overly dark for me and could have been better seasoned, also it had a bit of a taste of burnt flour about it - does this all sound like I should try a lower temperature next time?

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Right, not sure how "July 4th" fried chicken is but woke up this morning and decided to do a meal from your side of the atlantic tonight. 

I read through most of this thread and went shopping.  decided to do the recipe from martha stewart but had to cheat a bit and only had the chicken in the buttermilk for about 2 hours (I'm so bad at planning ahead with food!).

I used 50:50 vegetable shortening (Trex) and Beef dripping and intended it to be a semi-shallow fry approach but really it was deep-frying. I cooked it at about 350F for 10 minutes or so which left the dark meat amazingly juicy and tender, white meat was a bit far gone for me after about 8 minutes in the second batch.  The coating was amazingly crisp, a bit overly dark for me and could have been better seasoned, also it had a bit of a taste of burnt flour about it - does this all sound like I should try a lower temperature next time?

Because of cooking differences across various parts of chickens, frying a bird all the way through until cooked is often going to result in the inconsistencies that you reported.

It was this issue amongst others such as speed that led Harland Sanders to come up with his patented technique of deep frying the bird in a industrial form of pressure cooker. As they say in the specials "don't try this as home" so we really need an alternative that creates a similarly moist but well crunched result.

I'm with Peter the Eater on this one and use an Asian technique of double cooking the chicken. First gently poach the chicken until it is cooked: you can use aromatics at this stage to flavour the flesh. Cut the bird into serving pieces and then dredge these in flour, then egg, then seasoned breadcrumbs (I use the Japanese Panko crumbs). Put these ingredients on separate plates and work consistently across in this order (this reduces the chance of the dry ingredients turning to a soggy mess). You then deep fry (at the temperature you used) to add texture and colour to the surface rather than to cook the bird through. Remove the pieces when they are coloured to your liking, drain and blot on kitchen paper and serve.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have to confess that I have never been able to get fried chicken right. Can it be done in an oven and, if so, how? Any pointers would be gratefully received, also what spices do you recommend?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have read this thread now over the past four days and tonight after work I finally decided to make my fried chicken. Last night I put it in a soak of acidulated milk, salt, and Frank's Red Hot. I left it in my fridge for about 24 hours. I got home and started cooking about 10:00 pm.

I made homemade biscuits, mashed potatoes and cream gravy to go with it.

Photos to come soon as I just joined eGullet and this is my first post. Now I have to figure out Image gullet.

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I figured out Image Gullet an as promised here are all the mouth watering photos.

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Here is the chicken dredged for the first time and awaiting second dredge.

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Here is the chicken as it fried.

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Here is the finished fried chicken (Ignore the chef's treat please, Hey don't blame me, it was midnight and I hadn't ate since about 3:00pm.)

gallery_65471_6741_52373.jpg

Here is the milk gravy I made. I used the extra flour from the dredge and added plenty of recently discovered Sriachi sauce I had never tried before eGullet so it really was orange, not a camera problem, also the smoked paprika and chile powder from the dredge helped out in the color issue.

gallery_65471_6741_158270.jpg

Here are the biscuits I made from scratch.

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Finally, here is the finished plate. I will admit to using instant mashed potatoes, but only because I have no potatoes on hand and really was focused more on the chicken, gravy, and biscuits.

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Also, since I am posting all this gorgeous chicken I will post my pic of the jerk chicken I made several days ago and packed for lunch today.

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Finally, since I was in the kitchen sweating anyway and decided to marinade some teriyaki chicken yesterday, I also cooked that too. Here is a pic of it halfway through.

Edited by anthonylee86 (log)
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