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Old 10-10-2006, 02:52 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
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. >No, No No please don't throw that grease out- strain it, scraping pan, reserving about 4 T grease and with scrapings-, flour, either water or milk, season to taste, w/salt pepper , (I use poultry seas.) I can eat fried chicken once a week !! My comfort food!!<
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.
Hope you find the method and taste you are looking for!!!
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:16 PM   #32
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I usually buy my lard at Wal-Mart.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:23 PM   #33
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I wasn't going to make a beurre blanc, I was going to make a white sauce with chicken stock and milk. Cook some celery and onion in rendered chicken fat, sprinkle on the flour and make a blonde roux, then whisk in 50% chicken stock and 50% whole milk. Add some thyme/garlic/parsley and simmer to thicken a bit, then strain and serve. It's a combination veloute/bechamel.

You guys have me thinking again. I have all that crisco left in the pan out there. I'm gonna' give it a quick taste (just a pea sized piece, not an ice-cream cone full haha). I'm not worried about ruining my pan (it's bullet-proof cast iron!), it's just that 1/2" of crisco with some flour bits just didn't seem like much to base a sauce off from. I'll go taste it to see how much flavor transferred into the fat...

Oh, and solid fats definetly make a difference with room temp/cold foods. I just ate a drumstick and with the fat having solidified in the crust it melts in your mouth giving a wonderful artery-clogging mouth-feel! Yum!
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:36 PM   #34
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ChefJune, I still cut up a chicken the way my grandmother did and Mom does, the 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings, the back cut (across) in half to make 2 pieces and the breast cut (across) in 2 pieces. We don't cut down the middle of the breast as eating around the wishbone, letting dry a bit makes for happy grandkids later!!!! Most times now I save the back peices for soup; although my hubby does love those fried!!! My fav is the wings!!
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:52 PM   #35
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I pulled some pure rendered chicken fat from the 'fridge and did a taste test between that and the crisco remaining in the pan.

To be completely honest, I tasted very little flavor in the crisco other than a little aroma of toasted flour. My homemade schmaltz pretty much blows it's doors off in the flavor/aroma department.

I'm going to save a bit of the crisco and make two sauces tomorrow. One with the pan crisco and one with the rendered chicken fat I keep.
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I definetly let the flour hydrate iteself on the chicken (I didn't have any problems with hunks falling off in the crisco). I actually floured the chicken then slowly melted the crisco and brought it up to 325F. I reckon it had a good 30-45min by the time I got around to it. "Reckon". I can't believe that just flowed from my mind to my fingertips. Must be all the talk about southern food.
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jennyema - Thanks for the tip on where to get Lard! I'll have to try a Stop and Shop. I went to a Hannaford and Big Y and couldn't find any.
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I'm going to divide the breast into four pieces this time, but I'm going to butterfly each half rather than cut them into four thick chunks. My theory is that I will get better buttermilk penetration, and a better ratio of crispy crust to meat. So you guys fry the wings too? I just saved mine in my stock bag along with the carcass following Alton Brown. Tomorrow I'll give all 10 pieces a try. Two wings, four breast pieces, two thighs, two drumsticks. The thighs were kinda awkward to eat with the bone structure. I may try one thigh boneless and one with bones tomorrow. Going to give my deep fryer (w/Canola Oil) a shot tomorrow and compare the results to pan-frying with a solid fat like Crisco. If it loses that special something I'll go back to the Lodge.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:57 PM   #36
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I love it. The "Simple" recipes are the ones people are most passionate about.
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:10 PM   #37
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Quote:
I just saved mine in my stock bag along with the carcass following Alton Brown. Tomorrow I'll give all 10 pieces a try. Two wings, four breast pieces, two thighs, two drumsticks.
Don't discount the lower back. It makes a great piece to gnaw on, with the tenders and the tail.... AND, imo, the wishbone is by far the choicest piece of white meat!
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Old 10-10-2006, 05:34 PM   #38
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Wings may be the best part of a fried chicken. Much more skin to meat ratio and hence crispy good.
White sauce--on fried chicken? I don't think so. Use your schmaltz if you want but gravy is gravy!! It doesn't go on the chicken anyway--on the potatoes that are served with it.
I think I would cook the chicken at a bit higher temp than 325* and I don't really think there is much to be gained by approaching the temp slowly.
I have never deep fried chicken. I'm not sure home units are up to the task to be honest.
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Old 10-10-2006, 06:14 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen
It doesn't go on the chicken anyway--on the potatoes that are served with it.
LOL - everytime I read this I was mostly thinking for the mashed potatoes but I still saw, in my mind, chicken-fried steak, which can have the milk gravy on it - but yea, I would never put gravy on fried chicken!!!!

And I am ALL with you on the reasoning behind the wings being the best part! I also like the lower part of the breast (I don't know how else to describe it) - the part with all the bone attached to it!! (and don't forget it's little tale - I love that too!)
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:44 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven S
I am curious about this tip above: I havent tried it but the science of it is troubling me, if the chicken is totally covered in lard/crisco/oil/fat, then how would the skin be affected whether the lid is on or off? just curious...

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Nick... I read this tip online, havent used it but you may want to try it on your trial runs...

"Use baking powder in the batter; it causes the coating to puff up in the hot oil, making it extra crunchy."
I think most home-made fried chicken is pan- or shallow-fried, meaning that covering it causes the side not in the oil to get steamed. I find the baking powder makes the crust separate from the chicken and fall off in big chunks at each bite. FWIW.


***Sorry, didn't see that most of this had been said before.***
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