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Old 06-28-2005, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htc
I thought that the hot oil (if hot enough) would act as a sealer and seal all the juice and liquid in...Can anyone give me more detail on this, or correct me if I'm wrong?
The way I see it, the hot oil acts more as a catalyst with the breading on the chicken. The skin does an excellent job of supporting the breading as the breading does not stick to the meat very well.

So you end up having weak spots (non-skinned areas) on your chicken pieces. If you deep fry, it is not too much of a problem. But if you pan fry, a total sealing coat cannot be established at once, and you risk puncturing the sealing coat with tongs during the sealing process.

You are right with what you thought IMO. But the first step is the breading the chicken right.

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Old 06-28-2005, 10:21 PM   #12
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When you put a piece of chicken into hot oil, the heat causes the moisture in the chicken to turn to steam and escape into the oil. That's what causes all that bubbling when you put a piece of meat into hot oil. As long as there is moisture in the chicken, the vaporizing action of the steam pushing out keeps the oil from getting pulled into the chicken.

Continuing the cooking a bit longer at a slightly lower temperature will draw out more moisture without wrecking the outer layer of chicken.

To pick up on an earlier point, the chicken should be fried with a batter or breading coating rather than naked.

Also, I don't agree that the frying seals breaded chicken. In fact, if the chicken is cooked to the point where the moisture is cooked out, the oil will be absorbed into the coating to create a greasy piece of fried chicken.
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:49 PM   #13
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Welcome to DC, maddarlo Andy!

Obviously you're not deep frying ... or you wouldn't have a pan full of juices, and "boiling" wouldn't be a problem - the juices from the chicken would rise to the top of the oil and evaporate. I'm guessing your pan frying, not stir frying, with just a minimal amount of oil (2-3 tablespoons at most) to keep the chicken from sticking to the pan. I can see a couple of places you could be having problems.

1. Pan temperature too low.
2. Over-crowding the pan.
3. Slicing the breast before you cook it is allowing the juices to escape easier - especially if thin cut against the grain.
4. IF your chicken is being injected with broth or anything else it HAS to be listed on the label on the package if you live in the USA - under ingredients which is usually right below the nutritional information. Read the label to find out.

Fixes might include:

1. Make sure the pan is hot enough to sear the meat when you add it. DON'T turn it until you see juices start to appear on the top of the pieces.
2. Don't over-crowd the pan - leave about an inch between pieces.
3. Cook the breast whole and slice after allowing to rest 5-10 minutes after cooking.

Dredging the pieces in flour, or battering, will also help keep the juices in somewhat - if that is a texture you want. But, as Andy M noted - that only works if you do it right.

As abjcooking said - knowing exactly what you are doing would be a great help in helping you find a solution.
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Old 06-29-2005, 11:20 AM   #14
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:26 PM   #15
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Wow! Thank you all so, so much! What great, helpful people! I'm truly touched!

Yeah, I was shallow frying with maybe three tablespoons of hot oil. I think, as Michael said, I may well have been overcrowding the pan though because I put about four sliced chicken breasts in, so there's no way that there's an inch between pieces!

I was cutting against the grain as well. Should I be cutting WITH the grain? Never knew that! And shall try the flour and egg as well. Will let you know how I get on.

Thanks so much again,

Andy
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:51 PM   #16
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I found that this is the best breading for chicken. There are many versions so if you have a favorite please share.

After letting the chicken sit in buttermilk for awhile I add a little hot sauce to the buttermilk with the chicken in it. Let it sit for a little. Take out and pat dry. Now dredge in a 1/2 flour 1/2 cornstarch mixture (add any seasonings you want to the flour mixture). Now dip it back into the buttermilk and then back into the flour mixture. (Yes, it can get messy, but it's worth the clean up) This way you are double breading it and you will get a nice crispy crust. Put in oil and fry without overcrowding.

Tip:
I have also heard advise that if you don't get the oil too hot that you keep it around 360?, but definitly not too cold, I believe the chicken will cook slow enough for the crust to stick to the skin of the chicken and it won't fall off too easily.

Let the chicken cool before putting it into any bag. If not the chicken will steam and the crust will start falling off. Let cool and stick into a brown paper bag to travel with it.
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:24 PM   #17
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frying and sauteing

Hello,
I learned from Sara Moulton, from Sara's Secrets (FoodNetwork) that when frying and sauteing, you should be careful not to crowd the pan...if there's too much too much in the pan, your meats and veggies steam instead of frying or sauteing. That is a great tip, and I have followed that lesson since, and had crispier chicken, and better sautees.
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Old 06-30-2005, 05:41 AM   #18
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Heloise clippings (1959 ), "Putting crust on chicken”

The original Heloise offered some good advice on frying chicken:

Quote:
Remove the skin from the chicken if your husband does not like it. Soak the chicken in water. I add salt if I am using frozen chicken, but you may not want to. When the chicken is thoroughly thawed and warm, remove it from the water, and quickly put it in a bed of flour. Nothing else! Leave it there for a few seconds.

Remove the chicken, after it's floured on all sides, and lay it on a piece of waxed paper. Leave it there for at least thirty minutes. This will form a seal, and looks as though you had put glue on the chicken. It will not look too appetizing. Never mind. This is exactly what you want. It is *most important* to let the chicken sit thirty minutes after flouring. This odd-looking batter (and it won't look like batter at all, but a real mess ) will form a coating on the chicken that I find seals in the juices, and keeps the grease *out* when frying. Really it does.

One day, all my neighbors came in and we fried over fifty chicken breasts in different kinds of oils, grease, and shortenings. We used deep fryers, stainless steel, aluminum, and an old cast iron skillet. The comparisons were amazing. All agreed that nothing could beat that old cast iron skillet. Seems as if the heat spreads slowly through the cast iron. Place your chicken in hot shortening about one inch deep and *immediately* put the lid on! Have the fire on medium heat. Never cook chicken too fast. It gets brown on the outside before the inside gets a chance to cook. When the chicken is golden brown on one side, turn each piece over *once* We found that turning chicken pieces over more than once made it greasy.

When the chicken is done (especially if you are frying a lot of it ) place it in a pressure cooker (with the grate in ) to keep it warm until you are finished frying all of it. As you remove it from your frying pan, place it in a big Dutch over, or the pressure cooker, and *then and only* then, salt it.

You will find that you have the most beautiful crust on your chicken that you have ever seen on home-fried chicken! You will not know that the skin has been removed. Most people remove the skin to get rid of fat particles - That's the reason I do.

And ladies, I am going to let you in on a secret that we discovered at that neighborhood chicken-fry. Now that it's tried and tested, I will pass it on.

We found that when using shortening to fry chicken if you put a few drops of yellow cake-coloring in the shortening after the shortening heats, it will give your chicken the most beautiful color you have ever seen! Truly! It's a golden yellow, and looks as if it has been fried in pure butter! Cake coloring is cheap. Buy some and try it. Get the small bottles with different colors. The cost about twenty-five cents for four colors, and can be used for many things.

As I said, my neighbors and I tried all the batter recipes, egg dips, buttermilk, etc ... and none was as good as plain old water soak, dipping quickly in pure flour, and set aside for thirty minutes. Don't shake the water off the chicken before dipping it into the flour. You need this to form the "seal" to keep the juices in and the grease out. And don't ask me what we did with all that fried chicken. All the neighbors had chicken for dinner, lunches the next day, and right now we are sick of chicken. But we sure found out there were differences in methods of chicken-frying!"

There, that ought to do it for you! And so nostalgic, too! I've done this, and just about the same thing with cubed steaks and pork chops - Heloise and all her neighbors were right :)
Tom
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Old 07-01-2005, 01:03 PM   #19
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Michael in FTW has hit the nail on the head yet again. When you fry something in hot oil, a very thin layer of outer skin should be all that's affected. The oil should be about 360 degrees. At that temp., the oil is hot enough to heat the outer coating, be it batter, or the outermost layer of meat tissue, sufficiently to cause the moiture to heat and evaporate. Then, it is replaced with a thin bit of oil. That's what creates the crispy outer layer. In addition, the heat causes teh muscle tissue to contract and bind together, forming a barrier against more moisture loss. Of course there will still be some.

My MOL taught me a virtually foolproof method for making pan-fried chicken. It always gives me superior results. Preheat the oven to 360 degrees.Take the chicken and dredge it first in egg-wash, then in seasoned flour. Shake off the extra flour and fry in two to three inches of oil until lightly browned (about four minutes per side). Cook only two pieces at a time to avoid cooling the oil. Place the partially cooked chicken on a foil-lined cookie-sheet. When all of the chicken is "fried" and on the cookie sheet, bake for 40 minutes. Remove and serve immediately with sides. Your chicken will be so juicy, and yet with a lightly crisped crust, that it will litteraly squirt you when you bight it.

I have also had great success with frying chicken in just hot oil until done. But this comes out better with boneless chicken. Just follow the above technique, but leave in the oil for about 6 minutes per side. This works fine if you're cooking for two or three people, but I wouldn't want to do it for a crowd. It would take forever, unless you have a very large deep-fryer, or realy big frying-pan with lots of available BTU's to heat it.

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Old 07-01-2005, 03:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddarlo
I was cutting against the grain as well. Should I be cutting WITH the grain? Never knew that!
I didn't say that!! I was just speculating on what you were doing - and how you had cut it. I have several dishes where I cut the breasts thin (1/2 inch or so) at a 45-degree angle and cook them on the cut sides.

The main thing is to have the pan and oil hot enough so that it sizzles instantly when you put the chicken into th pan, and don't overcrowd the pan.
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