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Perfect Fried Chicken

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Postby greeney2 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:27 pm

Maybe this is something we can all agree on and not argue about! Who doesn't love Fried Chicken? I wish we had more real chicken places in Los Angeles. Wing Zero mentioned a place but its a bit far from me. Seems like our only options are the chain places, KFC, Popeyes, etc. I'm sure the south probably is full of great fried chicken places, the home cooked family reciepe kinds of places. We do not have too many out here for some reason. Knotts Berry Farm is known for their home-cooked chicken house, and its good, but i would not call it outstanding leaving me saying "That was the best I ever had". Thats the kind of places I wish we had in California for chicken, but we just do not have them. At least near me anyways. This artical caught my eye, may give you some tips and teach a few things.

6 Steps to Perfect Fried Chicken
By bon appétit magazine

PostsBy bon appétit magazine | Game Time Guide – Wed, Jan 25, 2012 7:27 PM ESTEmail
Conde Nast Digital StudioLet's put the debates to rest. Perfect fried chicken--golden brown, with a flaky-crisp crust and juicy meat--is easily accomplished at home. Here's how to achieve irresistible goodness every time, from the ultimate spice rub to a delicate dredge. (And yes, the pan you use matters, too.)

Hunter Lewis, Bon Appetit

We could go on for days singing chicken-fried hallelujahs to comfort food's holy grail, but sentimentality won't get you a crunchy, superbly seasoned bird. Our guide to the right ingredients, technique, and tools will. So put on your apron, grab a cast-iron skillet and a cold one (lemonade, sweet tea, beer-your call), and let's start frying.

1. The Bird: Think Smaller
Fried chicken was traditionally a spring dish in the South, and the young chickens used were dainty compared with today's hefty birds. To approximate those pared-down poultry, cut a three- to four-pounder into ten pieces, or use the equivalent weight in thighs, drumsticks, and breasts. (If you fry anything larger than four pounds, the crust will burn before the meat has cooked through.) Promote even cooking by halving the breasts, then cutting them crosswise. Antibiotic- and hormone-free or organic chickens are worth the expense. It's not like frying is an everyday affair, so start with a good bird.

2. The Rub: Keep It Kosher
When it comes to seasoning your bird, Linton Hopkins, chef at Atlanta's Restaurant Eugene, says to break with tradition and forget about the buttermilk brine: "The danger of brining in buttermilk is that you never get the skin crisp enough." Embrace the overnight dry rub instead. Kosher salt is the key: It keeps the meat juicy and carries the flavors of the spices to the bone. Our rub recipe goes spice-rack retro and calls for onion and garlic powders, which give the chicken an almost bacony meatiness.

See Also: 11 Ways to Cook Short Ribs

3. The Dredge: Do Not Double Dip!
Now that the interior of your bird is seasoned, it's time to address the surface. A good wash and dredge--that marriage of wet and dry ingredients--should complement, not bury, the skin. The loose buttermilk-egg wash imparts rich color and encourages the flour mixture to cling. A single dip accentuates the skin's texture as the fat renders and the skin becomes crackling. This thin shell will fry up as a delicate layer: No fried chicken should suffer the indignity of a bulky overcoat with padded shoulders.

1) Let the seasoned chicken come to room temperature. It won't cool the oil as much when it hits the skillet, and it will cook more evenly. Meanwhile, set up your dredging station from left to right.

2) A quick dip into buttermilk and egg sets up the chicken for a golden, craggy crust. Designate one hand as your wet-dip hand so you don't turn yourself into a papier-mâché project.

3) Using your dry hand, roll the chicken pieces in a blend of flour and cornstarch (the latter helps the flour adhere and promotes a good crust), then knock off any excess by tapping the chicken against the edge of the dish. "You want a rumor of flour," says Scott Peacock, former chef of Decatur, Georgia's Watershed restaurant and co-author with the late Edna Lewis of The Gift of Southern Cooking.

4) Gently lower the pieces into 350° oil.

4. The Fat: Solve the Peanut Riddle
Vegetable oil and shortening work just fine, but we love peanut oil, and we're not alone. Dense, with a slightly earthy flavor and a high smoke point, peanut oil is "the lard of oils," says Scott Peacock. Frying in peanut oil produces a lovely, mahogany-brown crust.

Careful frying in shallow oil will render the fat from the skin, resulting in a coveted crust. But an excess of oil that remains while the chicken cools can translate to a greasy finish. The solution? Use tongs to lift each piece out of the oil and hold it at an angle for a good three seconds while the fat drips back into the pan. Transfer it to a rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet so air can circulate and keep it from getting soggy. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before digging in. Finally, if you don't have a deep-fry thermometer, don't worry. The oil will shimmer slightly when it's hot enough, and a piece of bread should bubble on contact and brown quickly.

5. The Skillet: Cast a Little Black Magic
A cast-iron skillet--inexpensive and basically indestructible--is the prized frying vessel for a reason. It retains heat better than most pans, which helps regulate the oil temperature and ensures even frying. If you don't own one already, this recipe should provide ample motivation.

6. The Finish: Give 'Em More to Love
This chicken doesn't need any embellishments, but these sure won't hurt.

Rosemary Honey
Tie 3 rosemary sprigs together with kitchen twine and use as a brush to slather this fragrant honey over everything from biscuits to chicken.

Bring 1/2 cup honey, 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, 1 rosemary sprig, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes before serving. Dip the rosemary brush into the honey and use to drizzle over the chicken.

Sichuan-Spiced Dipping Salt
A little of this Chinese-style spiced salt goes a long way. Serve it in small bowls for dipping, or sprinkle it over fried chicken.

Combine 2 Tbsp. each of Sichuan peppercorns, cumin seeds, and kosher salt in a small skillet over medium heat. Heat, stirring often, until spices are toasted and very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool. Finely grind mixture in a spice mill or in a mortar with a pestle.

Related: Bon Appetit's Favorite Chili Recipes

Pepper Vinegar
Southern cooks use their chile-infused vinegar to add a tart, floral kick to dishes like chicken or greens. You can also use it to wake up salad dressings. Customize it by adding bourbon or fruit liqueur and using your favorite chiles.

Combine 2 cups distilled white vinegar, 2 dried chiles de árbol, and 2 Scotch bonnet chiles (or any of your favorite dried or fresh chiles), quartered lengthwise, in a 1-pint jar. Seal and shake. Let sit at room temperature for 1 week before using.

A Couple Extras:

Your No-Fuss Fried Chicken Toolbox
Bowl: Choose one large enough to hold all the chicken pieces and that has room for tossing with the spice rub. An airtight container works, too.

Tongs: Long-handled tongs give you the reach you need to turn the chicken pieces as they cook. Frequent flipping encourages even browning.

Skillet: A 10"-12" cast-iron pan is just right for this recipe. If cooking more than one bird, use the same pan and work in several batches.

Thermometer: Take the guesswork out of frying with a deep-fry thermometer. The chicken will cool the oil; adjust the flame as needed.

Rack & Pan: Wire cooling racks aren't just for cookies. The rack allows air to move around the pieces as they cool. The sheet pan catches any drips.

Leftover Chicken? It May Be Even Better Than the Real Thing
Cold fried chicken is more than a slice of pizza you found in the fridge: It's a dish unto itself. Growing up, all of the chicken I ate at Southern picnics, tailgates, and church potlucks taught me how to read a drumstick.

I learned that a recipe's merit shouldn't be judged by how the chicken is right out of the skillet but by how it tastes the next day, after time spent cooling. Is the meat still juicy and flavorful? Is the crust fused to the skin, yielding the slightest crunch and toothsome tug? Was the grease drained properly? Answer yes to all, and you've done good.
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Postby _Billy_ » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:04 am

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Postby Guest » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:33 am

Yep, cast-iron is definitely the way to go.
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Postby bluesman » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:02 am

cast iron is to far to drive... :wave: :whistle: :whistle:
KFC is so much closer,,, :crazy: :shh:

SPECIAL SAUCE PELASE..

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Postby greeney2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:50 am

If you live in the south, or anyplace that is known for Home Fried Chicken, how is KFC and other chains regarded? I like morst of them, KFC, Popeyes, Pioneer, I just would like to see a real home cooked chicken place. My first time to Knotts Berry Farm I thought its good, but not all that good compared to KFC. Second time I realized their chicken pieces seemed to be a bigger/better chicken. Pollo Loco out here I also like because its grilled, but obvious they use small chicken pieces, so they probably buy a cheaper priced small chicken for their end product. Swansons TV dinners are good too, but the pieces are tiny to fit the box.
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Postby Cole_Trickle » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:10 pm

KFC was a novelty that never died, the rest are just chasing the dream.............Society has lent them a huge helping hand by living such a fast paced, eat on the run, lifestyle.

You can't compare KFC or any other to real fried chicken. For 1--KFC's is prepared in a pressure cooker type fryer...................ours round these parts--deep fryers or plain old iron skillets...

True Southerners eat all except the bones.........everything!

Anyway we've some of the best just a few minutes away, one can be walked to, only it's not nearly as good since it changed hands.............

Fried Chicken, Mashed pots, and coleslaw .............milk gravy! Probably why there's not a KFC within 25 miles of these joints......... :lol:

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Postby Guest » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:18 pm

greeney2 wrote:If you live in the south, or anyplace that is known for Home Fried Chicken, how is KFC and other chains regarded? I like morst of them, KFC, Popeyes, Pioneer, I just would like to see a real home cooked chicken place. My first time to Knotts Berry Farm I thought its good, but not all that good compared to KFC. Second time I realized their chicken pieces seemed to be a bigger/better chicken. Pollo Loco out here I also like because its grilled, but obvious they use small chicken pieces, so they probably buy a cheaper priced small chicken for their end product. Swansons TV dinners are good too, but the pieces are tiny to fit the box.


Cole touched on this rather nicely as these places are received well based on convenience and in order of which tastes the best. None of them compare to real fried chicken though, especially since some of their recipes are often inspired by people who aren't Southern.
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Postby frrostedman » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:37 am

Goodness gracious, fried chicken doesn't have to be so complicated.

Make a simple batter with egg, water, and flour. Dunk the chicken pieces in it and deep fry them in a deep skillet. Salt and pepper it real good when it's done, and voila you've got kick ass Southern Fried chicken. The best I ever had was cooked exactly that way.
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Postby bionic » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:42 am

bluesman wrote:cast iron is to far to drive... :wave: :whistle: :whistle:
KFC is so much closer,,, :crazy: :shh:

SPECIAL SAUCE PELASE..

bluz

hee, hee
yep

or Churches chicken, Popeyes chicken, or heck... El Pollo Loco's chicken
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Postby greeney2 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:25 am

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy all most of the chain chickens, we just do not have places that really cook it real home sytle like other places do.

One of the things I bought for neighbor christmas gifts this year was things from Bass Pro Shop, bought several people big bags of their BPS beef jerky, but also something I thought would be fun was their Bass Pro shop, "Uncle Bucks" fish batter mix for my fisherman neighbor. Bought some of the other batter mixs, plus pancake mix, and cobbler mix for my son and daughter. Looked like they might be good to try, so going to try my hand at fried chicken with it myself. You dip the chicken or fish in either vinegar or milk, than shake it in a baggy with the dry batter mix, than deep fry or skillet fry it. We actually never fry food ever, if I cook chicken its either BBQ on the grill or in the broiler, and usually only skinless boneless breast. Doing actual fried chicken, we have never done before, believe it or not.
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