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Old 10-10-2006, 11:45 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunka
I have never deep fried chicken; always do as Barb L does. When you keep a lid on the cast iron skillet, it not only frys but kind of steams the chicken for a softer crust. It doesn't matter if you soak the chicken in brine, buttermilk or not. Just something I was taught by my Mom and Grandmother and I have even done it both ways for my own satisfaction and knowledge.
thanks shunka, makes perfect sense since pan-frying entails part of the chicken is always exposed to the air and a lid would trap the steam and moisture in the space between the oil and the lid
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:37 PM   #22
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I've used the baking powder in the flour - yes it works. I would always brine or marinate my chicken in buttermilk for frying.

Under normal circumstances I don't do a lot of classic fried chicken, but when I do I prefer lard to crisco. Crisco is hydroginated - unless you get the green can which has no trans fats.

Funny, when we were getting ready to fix carnitas the first time it called for lard - homemade lard! DH went to the mercado and bought all the stuff for the dinner - including the pork fat. We put the pork fat in a huge baking pan and put it in the oven at 200 overnight. You could not believe how good the house smelled!! When all the fat was reduced to little crispy cracklins we strained the fat into container and had our own homemade lard. We got so hooked on the carnitas that I never got to try using it for a pie crust.
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:50 PM   #23
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Wow! Lots of comments! I'll have to read through them in a minute.

Cooked off my first batch. I filled a 12" cast iron skillet 1/3 of the way with Crisco, and brought it to 325F.

I drained the buttermilk/mustard mixture off the pieces, hit them with salt and pepper, and coated the pieces with simple flour. I placed the breast halves and legs on the outside radius of the pan, and put the thighs in the middle. Had to play with the heat to maintain my 325F (I used a simple spatter guard on top like Alton Brown uses which yields a crispy/crunchy crust). After the bottom and edges were a deep golden brown I flipped the pieces once, and cooked that side until it was golden brown. Removed to a rack over some papertowels to drain where I lightly seasoned the crust with some Kosher salt.

First things first, there is no way I would bother making a pan sauce. I have a well-seasoned pan, and the only things left in the pan were melted crisco and a few flecks of flour. I think a separately prepared veloute'/bechamel using chicken stock and milk fortified with some pepper/herbs/garlic and thickened with roux made from rendered chicken fat would be much better and practical.

The drumsticks were fantastic. The thighs were awkward to eat. The breasts were way too thick compared to the crust they had when compared to the meat/crust ratio of the legs/thighs. Alton Brown says the bottom deep-brown spot where the pieces rest on the bottom of the pan is viewed as the best part by many in the south. Personally I would have liked to have a uniform crust that a deep fryer would have given it. I'd also have more fat to dampen the temperature swings, along with an automatic thermostat.

I'm really not sure how much a difference soaking with buttermilk vs not soaking makes. I'm going to marinate 1/2 a chicken today in the same marinade (minus the tarragon which seemed pointless), and then reserve 1/2 the chicken plain. Tomorrow I'm going to try deep frying the pieces in my big 1gal GE basket unit rather than pan-frying.

I think I'll try something else too. Butterflied chicken breasts and thighs that have been boned. Then everything can be eaten with a fork except the drumsticks which are great to chow by hand. Everything will also have relatively equal thickness for that perfect ratio of crust to meat. Then simply serve the chicken/milk gravy over top the pieces.

Gotta' read the posts here and then get some errands done.
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Old 10-10-2006, 01:07 PM   #24
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Quote:
I picked up three 3.5-4lb birds and broke one down yesterday afternoon into six pieces (drumsticks/thighs/breasts).
That's a curious number of pieces. Most chefs cut chicken into 8 pieces, (or four, if they're being over-generous).

I learned from my Farm-wife aunts how to cut up chicken, and I cut it into 10 pieces.

For me, cutting the wing as a separate piece, and leaving the breast as a too-large hunk has never made sense. I start by cutting the wishbone (the upper-central breast) and then divide the remaining breast down the middle. Cutting the bone across on the diagonal below the wing makes two fairly evenly sized pieces of chicken. I also separate the lower back from the thighs.
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Old 10-10-2006, 01:28 PM   #25
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I would agree about the number of pieces. Two wings, 2 drum sticks, 2 thighs and at least 2 breats. Country style would cut the back away from the breast meat for another two pieces. And also cut the wishbone away from the front of the breast--called the pully bone in the South.
I usually cut the breasts in half again to make all the pieces more nearly the same.
As for not having anything left in the bottom of the pan to make gravy, that is not exactly the point. The grease is now flavored with the chicken. You make the roux with that, brown the flour a bit and have a lovely gravy. You don't need to have "cribblin's" left in the bottom, and certainly not any crust.
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Old 10-10-2006, 01:35 PM   #26
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You have got to try the milk gravy using the pan drippings or any way you want to make a roux. You've got that wonderful flavored oil - use it! Beurre Blanc is NOT the same as a nice pan gravy made with a roux.

It almost sounds like you think you are going to ruin your pan? I can't really tell.

If you do choose to make the gravy in a separate pan be sure and use the oil from the frying chicken to make it - at least you are transferring some of the flavor.

It's been a long time since I've made a milk gravy but I remember putting a tiny amount of rubbed sage in it and you can buy a jar of McCormick's (I think) fried chicken seasoning, I use some of that (and I also use it in my flour I dredge in along with thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder), salt and pepper of course, lots of pepper. The sage was a nice addition though.

One time when I fried chicken I used equal parts of beer and flour - let it sit on the counter for 3 hours (this is a must). The chicken was SOOOOOOO crisp and the meat was soooooooooooo tender (that batter really sealed around the chicken and steamed it) that when I bit into the thigh I pulled all the meat off the bone having, in my hand, a chicken taco with the crust being the taco part. I can actually say that maybe it was a tad too crispy? But it was good nonetheless.
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:05 PM   #27
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the people are rising and have now spoken... there is some passion behind fried chicken!!

I have seen several recipes which call for "resting" the pieces on a wire rack for a couple hours after having applied the coating.

Also curious about double-dredging - that is, after marinating in buttermilk, coating with seasoned flour, shake off excess, dip in buttermilk once again, and once again into the seasoned flour, shake off excess, then fry... would this lead to "extra-crispy"??

I am expecting someone to point out now how much they enjoy their fried chicken cold out of the refrigerator - Tyler Florence's book actually has this recipe, regular fried chicken, then refrigerate, then enjoy cold!!
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:06 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
I've never bought Lard before. It comes in sticks kinda like butter?.
They sell it at Stop and Shop.
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:16 PM   #29
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And it is good to let the coating rest.
Baking powder (just a smidge, honest) will make it puff a bit.
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Old 10-10-2006, 02:43 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema
They sell it at Stop and Shop.
I would probably search out an ethnic store, or a farmer's market for a fresher source.

and tho I LOVE cold fried chicken, I cannot imagine making it strictly to eat cold!
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