Use a small chicken (2 1/2 - 3#)--easier to cook thoroughly without overcooking the skin.
Soak in buttermilk several hours or overnight.
Dredge in well seasoned flour (salt, seasoned salt, celery salt, pepper, garlic granules, paprika)
Add some cornstarch to dredge mix for crispier skin
Try to turn only once
Cook at 335-350
Do not overcrowd pan
I pretty much use Pen's recipe with plain salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder only. I soak the chicken overnight, dredge it in the morning and let it sit all day with the flour and seasonings or reverse the process and soak during the day, let it sit all night in the coating and then fry sometime the next day. The coating turns into a paste and adheres to the skin. This seals the skin and meat making for a very moist interior. Letting the coating sit on the chicken for at least six hours while it chills is an important part of my recipe.
Use whole, bone in chicken pieces, cooking only three or four pieces at a time. I cannot give a time because it depends on the piece...wing, thigh, leg, all take different times. You should remove the pieces before they become dark as they will appear more dark after they are out of the pan. You can bake them in the oven for an additional time at 350 degrees if you are unsure about doneness using an instant read thermometer to check. I fry mine until the pieces reach 160 degrees. The temp will continue to rise due to carry over heat and 165 is adequate for poultry.
Glenda, I buy the chickens whole and cut them up myself. Definitely use bone-in, skin on for frying if you want authentic Southern fried chicken. As Marypop said, time depends on the individual pieces. Meat will pull away from the bone a bit and juices will run clear, although I don't recommend piercing.
If you are using a large chicken, cover skillet after pieces have browned, lower heat a bit and let steam a while. then uncover and crisp it up. This will get the inside cooked without overcooking the skin.
Marypop, I've never let the coating set. Can't wait to try that!
Pennzer. though I can't say I'm privy to any special fried chicken recipe I do know the big box chicken joints coat their chicken way in advance, place the chickens on flat sheets and refrigerate, letting the coating "set". The exterior of the chicken will look like its been battered but...I have issues with battered chicken. I'm referring to chicken dunked in egg. Though the chicken is moist the crust always tastes soggy to me. If you dunk in buttermilk, then coat, the coating is crisp and the chicken moist. It's the best of all chicken worlds. BTW, I make my own buttermilk which is fat free. If I need to buy a new starter I also buy fat free. I've used full fat buttermilk. It doesn't make a difference.
Glenda, just a note on the whys and wherefores of buttermilk. Because it's a cultured milk product containing live bacteria the enzymes created by the bacteria act as a natural tenderizer for the meat. Even fat free buttermilk clings to the chicken and allows for the coating to stick. The result is very tender meat, a mysterious tang and a perfect crunchy coating.
Did anyone mention a cast iron fry pan or Dutch oven? I switched from pan to Dutch oven because a pan makes for a big mess of grease on the stove. There is no other way to make fried chicken IMO than with cast iron. Forget the deep fryer. Southern fried chicken needs to meet an iron pan. Iron adds flavor to the chicken. I've seen folks fry chicken in stainless skillets. The result is burned chicken.
Marypop, kudos to you for making your own buttermilk. I always enjoy your posts--you are a kitchen goddess. I barely know where to find buttermilk at the grocers. I do use low fat because, as you explained, it's just the bacteria you want--you don't need to be adding any fat to that skin. And I completely agree about battering being undesirable. A great test for good fried chicken is to see if you can bite into it without the skin pulling off. Most restaurant and carry-out chicken does not pass this test. Mine does. :))
Now, here's where I get kicked off the thread: I use an electric skillet for frying chicken. It's not a deep fryer--just a 12" electric skillet. When I'm having a big feed, I have two of them going and cook as many as 6 chickens. This is not to say that's better than CI. I just have no patience with CI, and I especially like having the temperature control and even cooking with the electric appliance. OK, I hear y'all (boo, hiss!)
I do have a couple of enameled CI Dutch (French?) ovens that I love for soups, stews, chili and oven braising. Does that redeem me?
Thank you for the compliments, Pennzer. Oh shucks (blushing here). Buttermilk is easy. You can keep a culture going indefinitely. As for fried chicken in an electric skillet; I swear I won't tell but...ahem...it does say up there you're from Texas, right?
I am a patient person, bringing the CI Dutch oven to temp slowly with a clip on thermometer. Once you know your stove heat level, either gas or electric, you can return to that each time. I like CI because the heat stays so even. Problems occur when the CI gets cranked up on high and the oil overheats.
I have enameled cast iron too. TV chefs are always frying in them. Don't do it if you care what the pan looks like down the line. I ruined the bottom of my Le Creuset Dutch oven from repeated frying. The enamel crazed and looks like the bottom of an old coffee cup now.
There is a certain technique or skill to cooking with cast iron that takes a bit of time and patience to get the hang of but the iron imparts a flavor that is, in itself, a secret ingredient. This is also a secret of Chinese cooking. The iron in the steel wok is what gives that special flavor, nit just the stir fry technique or the sauces. If you don't have a wok, but want to make good Chinese food at home, use a CI skillet.
Other than not liking the crazing your vessels, how did you like frying in your Le Creuset? Mine are still pristine, but I read recently that the discoloration that develops over time is harmless and is just a sign of a well used pot. Would the LC be a good wok substitute? I would love to do some wok things but never have. Do you have any good beginner recipes to share?
So sorry, Pennzer. I'd never say anything hurtful on purpose. I like Le Creuset a lot. There are many advantages including that you can give up your gym membership from lifting it. Maybe the cost of the gym membership is a wash considering the cost of Le Creuset. There are other brands out there that are a bit less expensive and of comparable quality. Costco has a brand name one that is getting excellent reviews. I'm aware the crazing is not supposed to effect performance but it seems any ceramic that would develop hairline cracks in the finish would become increasingly damaged with high temperature use. Just my thoughts.
Ceramic coated cookware is not good for Chinese food because, as stated above, the flavor imparted from steel or iron will not be there. It is however good for general stir fry dishes. Are you requesting Chinese food recipes? Though I've recorded a number of technical notes, along with amounts, for many cuisines I would not exactly call them recipes. I've mentioned spending much childhood time in the kitchen of a well known Miami Chinese restaurant. My mom was director of food services for high-end hotels and restaurants and also had a background in food preparation. Dad owned a wholesale produce business. He furnished all the area restaurants and hotels. That's how they met. You might say I cut my teeth on food. lol My kitchen style is very different from the one I grew up with though. If you are interested in anything specific, just DM.
Just kiddin' about being hurt, MP. I LOL'd when I read the remark about Texas.
Yes, I would like notes/recipes for Chinese dishes--something that doesn't require any ingredients that can't be found at the local grocers. We don't have an Asian shop here. I love Asian sauces and seasonings and would like to be able to make a couple of dishes that feature them. DM would be OK--but starting a new thread would be even better.
Sorry, Glenda, to get your thread off topic. Eager to hear how your next fried chicken venture goes.
Thanks everyone! I will give each of your suggestions a try and see how my family likes them! Every time I try a new recipe, I have everyone around the table rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, and I write their number on the recipe's page along with the date. Then at a glance I know how good everyone thought it was. I make a lot of Paula Deen's recipes so all the ratings are written right in her cookbooks. :)
Maypop, I have a question for you regarding the buttermilk... I don't like buttermilk at all. (Sorry) Will it give the chicken a bite or flavor that I will not like?? Or does the buttermilk taste disappear when fried?
Also, what do you all prefer to fry your chicken in: vegetable oil, lard, Crisco, etc.????
I ONLY use cast iron. My grannies cooked with cast iron, so did my mom, I do, and so do our daughters. They DO make a huge difference in the taste, IMO, and the iron you get from them is good for you. :) In our family, the cast iron skillets, griddles, Dutch ovens, etc., get handed down from generation to generation. ...I've never met a true Southerner that didn't cook with cast iron. ;) ...I'm from Kentucky with my ancestors coming from the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Old Virginia...way back before the founding of our nation. We ALL have cooked with cast iron! lol ;)
The enzymes in the buttermilk actually tenderize, moisten and sweeten the chicken. There should be no detectable flavor. I fry with peanut oil because it is on hand. I do a lot of Asian cooking. Any oil with a high smoke point. Glenda, you sure are a long way from home. How does a southerner survive up there? Cheese curds?
Ahhhh, ok, I'll try the buttermilk. My Dad loves buttermilk so I'll have him finish the carton for me. ;)
I have always felt like I was a "long way from home"... Mom and Dad were both born and raised in Eastern Kentucky in the heart of Appalachia. Coal mining was/is the only industry in that area so instead of working in the mines like both my Papaws did, Dad came north to get a job in the auto industry, like so many other Southerners did back in the 1950's and 60's. So while I was born in Kentucky and all our family is down south and that's where I always spent our vacations, my folks raised my sister and I here in Michigan. Nevertheless, I hate living in the north and miss the South terribly. ...My husband, daughters, sons-in-laws, and I have decided that if the economy turns around and things get better, we're packing up the grandbabies and moving south! ...I won't leave our grandbabies though, so as long as they are here in Michigan, I'm staying too. ;) I guess the words to Alison Krauss' song, "Heartstrings", are right...
"Heartstrings hold tighter than the roots of a live oak tree
Holdin' through tornado winds
Tougher than timber, stronger than steel
They'll guide me back southward again
They'll guide me back southward again"
It usually comes in half pints and that should get you through one recipe. I use the same method for making fried fish. With fish I use half cornmeal (not self-rising 'cause I think the baking soda makes it bitter), salt and pepper, cayenne and garlic powder. Dip the fish or soak it no more than two hours (longer soaking will over-tenderize the fish making it soft), dredge the fish in the mix and let it "set up" in the fridge, on cookie sheets, with a light plastic wrap covering, for at least an hour or all day. If you intend to save for future use you can pop the sheets into the freezer and let the fillets freeze for several hours. Then just slide the fillets off and you have made your own fillets for frying with no preservatives and ingredients you have selected. Add any herbs to the mix such as dried oregano or thyme, fresh dill or use Old Bay seasoning if you'd like. I even add curry powder or my own chili powder mix sometimes.
I loved the song. Sounds like you need to come on down. :) Loretta Lynn already did "Coal Miner's Daughter" maybe you could do "Car Builders Daughter"?
That sounds delicious!! I can't wait to try your fish recipe! Awesome! I love items you can freeze and have it ready to go in just a minute!
Glad you liked the song. :) I'm a BIG Alison Krauss & Union Station (AKUS) fan! Bluegrass is a part of my heritage - my Dad played in a bluegrass square dance band back in the late 40's/early 50's in Eastern Kentucky. ….Funny you mentioned Loretta Lynn; my folks grew up with Loretta and her siblings; the Webb family (Loretta is a Webb) lived in Butcher Holler and my folks lived just below them in Wolf Pen Holler in Van Lear, Kentucky. Loretta's Daddy and both of my Papaws worked together in the coal mines in Van Lear. If you ever make a trip to see her old home place in Van Lear (I'm posting a picture of it), it will most likely be her brother, Herman Webb, who will show you around. He's a sweet, sweet man. Every time I see him, he tells me the story about how he gave my Mom a puppy once. I just smile and listen; I love that story. :) That whole coal mining community was very close; more like a family in many ways. Mom and Dad have told me countless stories about growing up there. Priceless! ...Yep, I was born a coal miners' granddaughter...and was raised a "Car Builder's Daughter"! ;)
2 chicken wings
2 chicken breast halves, cut in half crosswise
2 chicken thighs
2 chicken legs
2 cups + 6 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons sea salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 - 5 cups vegetable shortening or peanut oil
1. Whisk together 2 cups buttermilk and 2 tablespoons salt in large bowl until salt is dissolved. Add chicken pieces to bowl and stir to coat; cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Don't let chicken soak much longer or it will become too salty.)
2. Whisk 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder together in large bowl. Add 6 tablespoons buttermilk; with your fingers rub flour mixture and buttermilk together until buttermilk is evenly incorporated into flour and mixture resembles coarse wet sand. Working in batches of two, drop chicken pieces into flour mixture and turn to thoroughly coat, gently pressing flour mixture onto chicken. Shake excess flour from each piece of chicken and transfer to wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet for at least 10 minutes.
3. Heat oil (it should measure 3/4 inch deep) in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with 11-inch diameter over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Place chicken pieces, skin-side down, in oil, cover, and fry until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove lid after 4 minutes and lift chicken pieces to check for even browning; rearrange if some pieces are browning faster than others. (At this point, oil should be about 300 degrees. Adjust burner, if necessary, to regulate temperature of oil.) Turn chicken pieces over and continue to fry, uncovered, until chicken pieces are deep golden brown on second side, 6 to 8 minutes longer. (At this point, to keep chicken from browning too quickly, adjust burner to maintain oil temperature of about 315 degrees.)
4. When the first batch of chicken is fried, transfer it to a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and place it in a 200°F. oven to drain and keep warm while you fry the next batch.
Thanks so much!! What a treat to have so many recipes to try for a classic family dish! They all sound delicious! ...My DH, friends and I are currently in the final 4 weeks of the building of our church's new building which is keeping us busy with 12-14 hour days but as soon as I get a chance, I'll try each one!! ...Makes me hungry just thinking about it!! lol ...I love fried chicken! :)
I know I'm coming into the game late, but I have a lodge CI wok (huge) that is wonderful for frying! Contains the mess as much as you can expect and the angle lets me pull up to the side so everything cooks pretty much at the same pace.
I recently learned my grandmother (now deceased) owned a fried chicken stand (it was before my time). My mother worked there as a teenager. When I asked her how it was made, all she could remember was it was made with buttermilk and my grandmother insisted on real cake flour. Any ideas what 'real' cake flour is, or was in the 50's?
i use buttermilk too...but I mix a package of the dry original ranch dressing mix with the buttermilk and then marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours. I pour off the marinade and lightly pat it to soak up some of the buttermilk...season with salt, pepper, paprika and then coat with flour and fry.
cocolulu, I believe real cake flour is considered to be Swandown cake flour. I believer it has cornstarch mixed in the flour - but I could very well be wrong. Anyway, I know when I was a young girl, my mom always used Swansdown when making a cake.
Cake flour is much more finely milled than regular flour, is soft wheat as opposed to the hard wheat used in bread baking and for general use, and has about 6-7% protein which is low for flour. Most all purpose flours have at least 9% and as much as 12 % protein. High quality cake flour should have nothing added. It's a personal preference, but I don't care for cake flour outside of baking cakes and pastries.
Shoe, hard wheat flour is high in protein and soft wheat is relatively low. It's the protein that makes the gluten strands and thus what you need for yeast risen baked goods. All purpose is a combo of hard and soft for a compromised "best of both worlds" situation. Check your protein content on the bread flour. It will probably be between 10%-12%. Compare AP or cake flour if you have some.
The circus is over in FL.. Made it back to Atlanta on Friday and up to Maypop yesterday. The garden looks AWESOME. I'll be in touch.
Zooty, Thanks so much! I bet that's it!
I'm going to look for some. This is going to be fun. My mother will have to taste test, but it'll be nice if I can recreate a bit of the past from grandma :0) Thanks again.