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Chris Amirault

Fried Chicken--Cook-Off 5

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Way to go, Linda and Susan! Nice!

Susan, fried chicken has long been picnic food for me, too. Obviously, since it's been several years since I've made fried chicken, recently it's been take-out for our fried chicken picnics. When I was a kid, every picnic that I can remember was fried chicken that my mom made along with her potato salad, hard-boiled or deviled eggs, and sliced tomatoes. She was not big on variety, but the chicken sure was big on flavor AND the heavenly smell... her fried chicken picnics is an aroma I can vividly recall!

BTW, is there a hoped-for deadline for making the dishes in the cook-off? I probably won't have the opportunity to do it until Sunday at the earliest. I have decided to brine in buttermilk, which neither my mom nor my ex-mother-in-law did (somehow, it will feel real good to venture out like that), and I can imagine making potato salad to go with it. :smile:


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Wow! The photos look amazing! After reading the considerable posts about soaking in buttermilk I am tempted to try a comparison. It isn't the way my great-granny did it and I've always gone for the adage 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' but I'm tempted.

As for the buttermilk soak, I've been wondering why. I mean, why buttermilk? Is it because old hens were used and needed to be tenderized? Does the lactic acid have something to do with breaking down the tough flesh? Or is it because buttermilk was plentiful and milk from the farms was often sold?

Does anyone know?


If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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Note to all neophyte chicken fryers:

Cold fried chicken is one of the superior late night treats of all times. It is to be eaten while standing and leaning over the kitchen sink so the crust does not explode all over the place and leave evidence that you were doing some late night snacking.

For some reason it's even better if you are standing around barefoot in your nightclothes .

I'll be back later with more helpful hints.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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ok Brooks ante up. Lets see your fried chicken. Come on. you can do it.


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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Now, brooks, don't you really want to do it over a napkin or a plate so that you can also scarf all of the exploding bits? Have your kids had the same lecture about not picking on pieces they aren't going to eat?


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I might fry some this week. I have been getting home from work too late and too tired, but maybe Friday night would be fun.

And as for my children, I do the same thing that my mom did for us growing up-I fry, everytime, one fryer (cut it up myself from a whole one, cheaper and better that way) and a mixture of extra legs and thighs. I get the livers (sometimes I buy them and do them on their own, talk about cheap satisfaction) and my wife, the bone cruncher, gets gizzards and necks. Not much goes to waste.

I like frying chicken during the week occasionally, lots of it, as it makes a great lunch at work.


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

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

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Fifi and Snowangel, very enjoyable pics and posts. Seeing them made me run to the kitchen and eat a piece of cold leftover chicken (and I must say it was very tasty). It really is nice to be able to peek into people's kitchens to see what and how it gets done in other homes.

Peanutgirl, I can't wait to see how your chicken turns out.


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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This thread just reminded me to go take my chicken out of the brine and into the buttermilk!


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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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???

would a goat yoghurt work do you think? I'm thinking of inviting over some friends to be guinea pigs but one of them is allergic to the wonder that is cow-milk :sad: so I would make her a few special pieces...


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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OK. I been an gone an done it. Now I'm too tired to post photos, will add those tomorrow (after all, I was trying to complete my tax return while frying 4 different types of chicken...finally found the darn tax certificate in my DS2's calligraphy homework...coulda rested there undisturbed till doomsday if he'd been left in charge :hmmm: ). So now that I'm back from the 24 hour post office :biggrin: ...

#1 Kara-age

I made this more carefully than usual, looking at the notes on the thread Torakris referenced earlier here. Oh, but it was so good. Boys gobbled it up, but claimed their tummies weren't up to southern-fried...I thought, having 11 & 13 year old boys, that I could trial an unlimited amount of fried chicken without problems, but I *would* pick the day everybody has a cold with a slight tummy upset :wacko: .

Kara-age is deep-fried immediately after it is floured, no egg involved. It was lighter to eat than any of the southern-fried versions.

#2 Dorothy's chicken.

Water/baking powder 24 hour marinade, egg-water dip, seasoned flour with leavening. Fried with cover. This was far and away the crunchiest, but possibly (not sure) the batter also seemed the oiliest (but maybe it was only the tax return on a funny tummy, a terribly indigestible combination...).

#3 Yogurt/sour-milk, mild seasonings

Salted yogurt and soured milk 24-hour marinade, seasoned flour (no leavening), sat for 1 hour plus, fried with cover. I messed up. I let the temperature get too high...breast meat was very dry...pieces had dark discoloration. Oops. :blush: Buttermilk marinade needs a slightly lower temp than Dorothy's chicken.

#3 Yogurt/sour-milk with grated onion, highly seasoned

Salted yogurt and soured milk with at least 1 tab finely grated onion and mustard powder in 24-hour marinade, seasoned flour (no leavening) with paprika, oregano, cumin, coriander, turmeric (I was in a hurry, no finessing sorry). Sat for 1 hour plus, fried with cover. Yeeess! I lowered the temperature a bit, kept a sharp eye on it. Flavor wonderful but mellow, texture good, crisp but not shatteringly so.

Points.

Salt

I'm not sure how much salt I added to the marinade...maybe 1 tsp per cup, but possibly only 1/2 tsp per cup. Added 1 tsp salt per cup of flour, and this was not excessively salty. I was wondering why salt was an issue, because Japanese kara-age is not that salty, but I wonder if the rather greasy (though crisp) southern-fried coating just needs more salt to set it off??

Temperature

I didn't use a thermometer, but think Dorothy's chicken did need around 350deg, the buttermilk a tad lower.

Covering

This was a big surprise to me..."lid" and "fry" just didn't go together in my mind!! However, previous shallow frying has resulted in bullet-like objects, so I'm convinced.

Coating

I was most surprised at how "battered" the results appeared. I expect this is partly because the pan is covered, so some steaming takes place. I was expecting (from previous experience) the plain milk marinade version to be quite tasty, but the overcooking destroyed the delicate yogurt taste, and it was bland as well as dry(later: much less dry when cold despite overcooking...that milky marinade must be effective). Version #3 was much better - didn't taste the oregano, but the onion and mustard and spices in the batter were fine. I used a "weak" cake flour (mixed with potato starch for the kara-age).

Oil

I used canola oil for both deep and shallow frying.


Edited by helenjp (log)

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Eden, I think goat yogurt would work fine. In retrospect, I think that the time my chicken went off in the marinade, I was using straight milk -- now I know to use soured milk or yogurt (or buttermilk of course), and a bit of salt doesn't hurt either, of course!

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Thanks, Helen, for the exhaustive report, and going the extra three miles to test so many versions!

Your comment about the buttermilk chicken requiring a lower temp was interesting.

I think within the next couple of weeks, Brook's recipe will be on the menu here!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I have a sort of basic question: how does everyone determine when their fried chicken is done? Do you take a piece out and stab it w/ the food thermometer or are you using a set amount of time after which you take it out?

I'm also trying to decide if I want to shallow fry in my current cast iron frying pan or if I should get a deeper pot (it just seems intuitively safer).

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That is a terrific exercise, Helen.

I was somewhat concerned when you said that the "Southern" style was greasier. Usually, my eaters are shocked at the lack of grease. Then later I noticed that you were using oil. I have to agree. I remember using oil one time on the buttermilk recipe thinking that it wouldn't make any difference. Boy, was I wrong. The next time my eaters wanted fried chicken, I sent them to the store for Crisco.

Then that reminded me of another difference in my batch that I didn't think anymore about. While I wouldn't call it greasy, it wasn't as "dry" as I expected. Remember that I used that new Crisco without the trans fats. Now I am beginning to wonder about that.

I am thinking that the lower temperature for the buttermilk coating is probably right on. Some time ago, when I finally got it right, and with smaller chicken, I am sure I lowered the temperature. My chicken almost always looked just like the Martha Stewart picture. Unfortunately, I wasn't using a thermometer at the time. I was going by how it looked. Comparing that to what I was seeing yesterday, I would guess at about 325, more or less. But then, yesterday I was also using that new fat. Damn!

I am with you Susan. I will definitely be trying Dorothy's chicken. I am intensely curious.

Just a note to participants. One of the wonderful things about this internet business is that, even months from now, this thread (and any of the Cook Offs for that matter) can be bumped back up and added to. So, if you are all "fried out" for now but try something later, please add. You are never "too late."


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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Okay, after reading everyones posts I am convinced I need to do this again, using the buttermilk marinade and Crisco for comparison. Seriously, it is probably just an excuse to have more fried chicken this weekend. I shall endeavour to get the camera back before the second experiment, as well as making sure we're not having company the next day. The whole house smelled like oil!


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

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

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katbert, I sort of went by the times on each side in each recipe to determine doness. And, mine was getting so dark, it just had to come out, and I figured that those thicker thighs, if they weren't quite done, would continue to raise in temp as they spent some time in the oven, but I suppose a meat thermometer is really the way to go. Somewhere up thread, fifi mentioned the temp at which she pulls the chicken. And, don't forget that if you do the buttermilk one, lower the temp of the crisco to 325.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Damn, those leftovers are great! I had a leftover back and part of a leg for lunch today. I must heartily advocate frying the backs as well. All of those nooks and crannies, and a bit of meat, too.

I think this is going to be my key to feeding the family on a night when we drive to the cabin. We usually leave mid to late afternoon, after a heavy snack, and everyone is hungry when we get there. Perfect, and since we'll be leaving for days, no problem with the smell!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Is anyone getting the impression that Susan really likes the backs? :biggrin:

I'm about to start the flouring process for mine. Pics later tonight


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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Is anyone getting the impression that Susan really likes the backs? :biggrin:

I'm about to start the flouring process for mine.  Pics later tonight

Can't wait! Perhaps you should send samples!! :raz:


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

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

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Is anyone getting the impression that Susan really likes the backs? :biggrin:

Wonder if I can find a mutant chicken with two backs!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Fifi, thanks for the comment on the oil. Glad to know, because I wondered myself if it was related to the "greasiness". It wasn't very greasy, there was no oil gushing out etc., but it was definitely heavier than the kara-age. I guess that's why kara-age was developed, because it suits oil-frying. The buttermilk/ airdried flour was a better choice for oil than Dorothy's recipe.

Interestingly, the frying smell didn't bother me at all when I deepfried the kara-age. But as soon as I started the shallow-frying the smell became overpowering... :huh: wonder why?

I must take a look for some frying fat here, because I have the same thoughts about frying donuts in oil...last I saw, the biggest pack of "shortening" was the size of a butter stick! :laugh:

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Quick question. Can I hold fried chicken in the oven for any length of time? covered or uncovered? With Don working ungodly hours lately, I'd like to keep some of this warm for him.


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 question, Marlene. Aunt Minnie would put it on trays in a barely warm oven. As I remember, she put a paper bag down on a baking sheet and just loosely lay one on top of it. We all liked our chicken just warm, not "piping hot." But I have no idea how long you could hold it like that, but I am pretty sure a couple of hours wouldn't hurt anything.

I rewarmed a thigh for lunch today in my DeLongi convection oven set to convection and 250 for about 20 minutes and that worked really well. It didn't seem any different than freshly cooked. I like it cold but was curious as to how the DeLongi would do.


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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Today Alton Brown's Good Eats is all about buttermilk soaked fried chicken! I wish I'd known ahead of time so I could've taped it. I'm watching it now, and it's very educational.


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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