you want that all from the same chicken?

And you don't stop. It really is fantastic and wonderful that our social calendar was so happy to see us when we returned from the States. The damn thing just about bowled us down Hobbes-style when we got home, and then it proceeded to cover our faces with sloppy wet kisses for the next 10 days straight. Yesterday was the briefest of respites, and now here we go again...

The Vulgar Boatman has secured access to a cruising vessel on the morrow, and a party of six of us shall embark on an extremely modest dinner cruise, setting sail for destinations unknown, etc. It should be fun. Continuing our immersion in all things Southern, The Piggle and I have decided to make fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits. Along with the much-lauded corn salad, some homemade pickles, and who knows what else.

This is a good news/bad news kind of situation. Bad news: I've never made fried chicken before. Good news: eGullet has a six-page thread on how to make fried chicken. I'll be putting a recipe together based on my notes from that thread, and will place it right here for safekeeping. My recipe has also started to take on some characteristics of Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis's recipe from here.


fried chicken.


16 drumsticks
1 liter buttermilk
4 tbsp Tabasco
3 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
an onion, sliced

2 cups flour
4 tbsp corn starch
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne

1 liter peanut oil for frying


Marinate overnight with buttermilk, onion, salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Drain. Let chicken come almost to room temperature. Dredge in seasoned flour and let dry for 3o minutes. Fry in 325-365F oil for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Apparently if your chicken is blackening or cooking too quickly you could transfer those pieces to a warmed oven to finish cooking.


Zora said...

things crispier. And if you feel like overkill, I recommend frying in a lard-butter-veg oil mix.

And add a bunch of salt to the buttermilk soak--it doesn't technically work like brining, because the fat in the buttermilk impedes the moisture-absorbing process, but the salt still flavors the chicken.

Also be sure to let your chicken warm up to near room temp before frying. Otherwise the outside gets done, but the inside is still all gross and pink. Also, I've found that, even so, you have to get the crust fairly dark before the inside is done--darker than your average Popeye's.

Once you get rolling, don't sweat the oil temp--you kind of end up regulating it naturally as you move the chicken pieces in and out. I think it helps to have it a little bit lower than 365 anyway.

Oh, _and_ use a few skillets, if you have them. Frying takes longer than you think.

There--I think I've summarized one whole chapter of my cookbook! Although with the cookbook, you'd get the flow chart that starts with the question "Are you insane?"

Zora said...

Hmm. First line of my comment disappeared. Shd read "Add a bit of cornstarch to the flour mix to make things crispier."

MEM said...

O, Zora...thanks for the comprehensive dump!

Salt in the buttermilk: done, maybe 2-3 tbsp for a liter of buttermilk, which seemed like a lot, but.

350 is what I've seen everywhere for frying temp, but there was some chatter in the eG thread about a little higher being good.

Since this is being fried a few hours before eating, I don't think I need a multiple-skillet attack...but I do wonder: is there anything I can do to retain as much crispness as possible before I get to the boat?

I imagine just leaving the pieces uncovered as long as possible is about as good as I can do....

MEM said...

Let me ask you this: have you ever tried a dual-prong dredge? I wouldn't do two dredges in flour, but someone was suggesting one dredge in a flour/water slurry, letting it dry, then dredging in flour. I think.

MEM said...

Ehhhhhhhhh...I have a couple other questions: how much corn starch? And how highly-seasoned is your flour coating? I'm mostly worried about saltiness.

Klary Koopmans said...

... and nectarine ginger cake for dessert.
can´t wait to see who the fellow cruisers are.

Zora said...

Sorry--totally dropped the ball on following up! But it appears you managed just fine. I don't think there is too much you can do to maintain crispiness after the first hour or so, unfortunately. I just like cold fried chicken as a different phenomenon.

Re: cornstarch, about 2 tablespoons per cup of flour?

And, whoa, have never tried a two-stage dredge! That's kind of hardcore. We never really are that organized to dredge so far ahead. And we leave so much buttermilk on the chicken when we dredge that it makes a slightly goopy mass just naturally with the flour. I guess if we were to let that dry out a bit, it would be able to take on a little more flour...

We do _a lot_ of salt in the buttermilk (like 1/3 cup in 1 quart), and a normal amount (a big pinch per 2 cups flour) in the dredge. Figure we're not wiping a lot of the buttermilk off. Then we sprinkle a teeny bit of salt on the chicken before serving.

MEM said...

No prob, thanks for the eventual reconnect...

It did turn out fine. Your saltiness sounds like my saltiness.

The double-dredge is something I saw on the eG thread...someone did a first dip in a flour/water slurry, and a second dip in a traditional seasoned flour...his chicken looked gorgeous.

I could imagine the slurry filling in the nooks and crannies nicely, but it was such a underdocumented technique that I figured I'd go with the traditional approach.

Again, the only things I'd really do differently would be 1) buy better chicken 2) double my black pepper (maybe this is a Southern thing, but as soon as I started adding more of it, it started tasting like what I was going for, and 3) seriously increasing my Tabasco. It was completely undetectable with the amount I initially used.

thanks again for the tips! sorry you missed the boat ride....

Klary Koopmans said...

do you remember which biscuit recipe you used? am making niscuits for the first time this weekend and am intimidated.

MEM said...

A niscuit, a nasket...

I think she used the Edna Lewis/Scott Peacock recipe from Gourmet, but with butter instead of lard? It might make sense, based on the comments on that recipe: Mara's didn't really rise either.

If it were me, i might try Homesick Texan's: http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2007/04/everythings-better-with-biscuits.html