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What do you think fried chicken is?

Sounds like a stupid question, but I am beginning to doubt my definition. I consider "Fried Chicken" to be a cut up chicken, bones and all, that is then battered/breaded and fried. Right? Well on my local board I am asking for recs for the best fried chicken, but I keep getting responses that refer me to chicken fried chicken. I don't consider that, or fried chicken tenders, chicken crisps or chicken planks, to be in the same ballpark. But I could be wrong. So what do y'all say?

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  1. Living in a county that is known as the fried chicken capital of Illinois I think I know a little about fried chicken. Out here it is served/ordered the following ways:

    1/4 dark
    1/4 light
    1/2 dark
    1/2 light
    1/2 mixed

    2 Replies
    1. re: swsidejim

      Which county is that? I might like to visit next time I go to IL.

      1. re: racer x

        LaSalle County about 70 miles sw of Chicago. Pretty much every bar and restaurant has fried chicken on the menu.

    2. Hi danhole!

      First - what's chicken fried chicken? I know what chicken fried steak is...

      To me, fried chicken is just like yours - cut up chicken, with skin and bones, battered and fried in oil/bacon grease till crispy and done. O'course then you gotta make gravy with the crispy bits in the skillet, and mashed potatoes, and green beans with a ham hock...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Cookiefiend

        Hey cookie,

        Chicken fried chicken is a thin boneless chicken breast battered and fried. So think of a chicken fried steak that substitutes chicken for beef. Not fried chicken in my opinion.

        And you are so right, got to have gravy and mashed potatoes! Fry that chicken up and make gravy. Good stuff.

        1. re: danhole

          I think I see fried chicken in my future...

          1. re: danhole

            Make sure that you realize that chicken fried chicken has the same coating as chicken fried steak -- which is NOT your usual flour/egg/breadcrumb thing. That would be chicken cutlet, perhaps Milanese, but I'll call is plain.

            Fried chicken is definitely something cooked with bone-in pieces. No confusion should be possible.

          2. re: Cookiefiend

            Cookiefiend,
            When you fry your chicken in bacon grease, how much bacon grease do you use? I've never made chicken this way and would love to try it.
            Thanks!
            Chrissy

            1. re: ChrissyMc

              ChrissyMc -

              Just enough to flavor the oil - if I can smell it, it's enough.

              :-)

          3. Fried chicken is a whole bone-in chicken that has been cut into 6-7 pieces, and it dipped in a egg wash and then battered, and then fried in hot fat. It should be served with mashed or french friend potatoes, and slaw.

            23 Replies
              1. re: mickandnolly

                You must have some sort of liquid to keep the breading to stick, so buttermilk can substitute.

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  Rather than a messy egg wash, I like to marinade my chicken in messy buttermilk for fifteen minutes to half an hour, then dredge in seasoned flour and fry. The buttermilk tenderizes it a bit (not that a young chicken needs tenderizing, but it does taste nice!), then dredging it in flour makes for a really crispy crunchy crust. If you enjoy extremes, dip it in the buttermilk and dredge a second time for a really thick crunchy yet tender crust. I like it better than egg wash.

                  The same method using evaporated milk instead of buttermilk also works. And both milks with the dredging method make fantastic onion rings!

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    I don't like using an egg wash because the breading seems to be tougher when I do. I want tender, crispy coating. I haven't used the buttermilk, yet, but I do use plain old milk.

                    1. re: danhole

                      I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised by the buttermilk. Really good fried chicken!

                    2. re: Caroline1

                      I agree with using buttermilk, however I put the chicken into the buttermilk in the fridge the night before, so it gets almost 24 hours to soak in it. It gives the chicken an excellent flavor. Then I mix into the flour a bit of black pepper, chipotle powder and garlic powder before I dredge the chicken in it.

                      1. re: cigarmedic4

                        For me, I don't plan that far ahead too often. Well, unless I'm entertaining, and I can't remember how many decades since I've served fried chicken to guests. Who needs a grease spattered kitchen with guests due any minute, right? What Ihave discovered is that taking a piece of chicken, the thigh for instance, and boning it, laying it out flat, then accordion cutting it so you can stretch it out in the buttermilk will tenderize it as much or more than a 24 hour soak, then I stick it back together with a toothpick or bamboo skewer, dip it in seasoned flour, again in buttermilk, then seasoned flour and into the hot peanut oil she goes! Pull out the toothpick/skewer and introduce your mouth to a celebration!

                        Oh. For an "acordion cut," you cut it almost through on one side, then turn it over and cut it almost through on the other side, but with the cuts going in between those of the first side. You could fry it without folding it back up, but I like the flavor and texture you get when the chicken cooks with buttermilk in between the cuts.

                        And while I have the buttermilk and seasoned flour at the ready, I do onion rings. Incredible onion rings! They go really well with the chicken.

                        1. re: cigarmedic4

                          Another positive is that some buttermilk has active bacteria (real, old-fashioned buttermilk most likely), that helps break down the tissue, as well as flavoring the chicken - double bonus in my book.

                          Recipe sounds good too,

                          Hunt

                  2. re: Kelli2006

                    OK jfood will bite...how do you cut a chicken into 7 pieces? :-))

                    1. re: jfood

                      The bird can be cut into 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, plus the back, or the legs and thighs can be kept whole and the winglet can be included.

                      1. re: Kelli2006

                        Thanks K. It was the back that was the missing link that does not come as a pair.

                        Jfood does 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wing sets, and each breast quarter cut into 2 pieces for a 10-piece complete set.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Same here. With these new monster sized- birds, the breasts are so large that you need to cut them in half. It used to be that you could cut a three pounder into eight pieces and avoid splitting the breast, but with todays 4 1/2-5 lb. average, you need to split the breast pieces. BTW, I only use the backs for chicken stock.

                          1. re: RGC1982

                            I'm originally from Illinois, too - downstate, Clark County - and we always not only cooked the back, we did it in two pieces, rib end and tail end. The thighs were always cut off at the pelvic joint. The breast was also cut in two laterally, the front wishbone piece and the rear portion with the large chunks either side of the keelbone/cartilage.

                            My mother's family were mostly German Mennonites, and fried their chicken with a very crisp coating. My paternal grandma's chicken, though, was always a bit on the soggy side, because she never made it to be eaten hot at the table, but always lukewarm at a picnic. So it went into a covered basket immediately. I adored it, however - there was always a little bacon grease in her frying fat, and the coating had a wonderful black-pepper flavor. I've been trying to duplicate it ever since, without much luck.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Thanks guys. Jfood has never heard of fryingthe back as a separate piece. He usually uses with the "inner bag" to make a gravy.

                              1. re: jfood

                                Well, the great thing about frying the backs is then you get to enjoy the 'oysters," those little round tender morsels that sit in a bone pocket right next to the ball joint of the hip. Boiling is the worst way to cook them!

                          2. re: jfood

                            Instead of cutting the breasts across, I remove the supremes and save them for a dish in which they''re poached in butter or another cooking method that won't dry them out the way frying does. Fried supremes of chicken are lke a mouth full of crackers with no soup!

                            The thing I miss most about store bought chickens (besides not getting the giblets most of the time) is no necks...! I LOVE fried chicken necks. My mother and I used to share it in the kitchen before the meal went to the dining room. DEEEEElicious!

                          3. re: Kelli2006

                            There was a time before chickens were commercialized that chickens were small, were allowed to run free, at green grass and bugs and breathed fresh air and drank clean water. They grew slowly and had a lot of flavor. The size for frying, called "fryers," were 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. Most homes didn't own a band saw so they did not start out by running a band saw down the back of the chicken. Instead, they first cut out the wish bone, then cut off the wings, then the drum sticks, then the thighs. Then they cut the breasts (already smaller by removal of the wishbone) into 4 pieces. That totaled 11 pieces without using the backbone. By today's standards, that chicken was expensive. It began to change after World War II, with mass production of chickens, hormones to speed up growth, and early to market made them less expensive (farmers don't have to feed them as long to reach maturity.) In the process, they lost taste. It's faster to cut them into 8 standard pieces, but you get bigger breasts and no wishbone. And the chickens are much bigger. They're also a lot less expensive. Cook's Illustrated a few years ago (May, 1994 issue) illustrated how in an article called "Cutting up a bird, country stye.")

                            1. re: Potomac Bob

                              Potomac Bob,

                              I just had a real AHA moment reading your post. My DH goes on and on about how delicious his grandma's fried chicken was. I never had a chance to learn her technique, but she did teach me how to make killer gravy before she passed on. So over the years his mother tried to replicate this recipe and never did. I got close because of the seasoned flour and double dipping technique that I described elsewhere in this thread, but now I think you have found the answer.

                              When they were little grandma and grandpa raised their own chickens, in the backyard, and when it was time for chicken, well, you just went outside and got one! That is probably the "secret" ingredient! Fresh, untouched meat. No wonder nothing else tastes the same. Maybe it's time to get a few chickens!

                              1. re: danhole

                                Danhole, I thought I was being pretty hardcore when we decided to render our own lard to fry our chicken - if you get a few chickens, you win the hardcore award! I wonder what our downtown Montreal neighbours will think if we start raising chickens on our rooftop terrace....

                                1. re: danhole

                                  danhole,
                                  grandma's fried chicken wasn't complicated. it didn't need countless herbs and spices. The absolute must is a good tender, tasteful chicken to start with. When you eat it, it should taste of chicken, not spices. Most restaurant chicken is deep-fried at a high temperature, which gives it a crisp, hard crust and dry meat. If fried in shallow fat (my grandma used pure lard flavored with a spoonful of bacon fat, but the type of fat is less important than the method) in a heavy cast-iron skillet, tightly covered so the juices stay in the meat, you can get a crisp crust that becomes so tender it'll almost melt when it gets in your mouth. It takes time. About 30 to 35 minutes of frying. (gives you enough time to make a salad - and batch of biscuits you can smother in gravy). This chicken requires a final crisping. Do that by taking the lid off the chicken and let it cook in the open for a few minutes after the chicken is done. Serve it straight from the skillet. Grandma used lard flavored with bacon. My mother used melted vegetable shortening. My wife uses canola oil. On occasion, once every cupla years, we buy one of those expensive little chickens they sell at fancy food stores and fry it using pure lard flavored with bacon fat. It's really good, but not as good as grandma's, probably because grandma's chicken was really, really fresh, and the freshest chicken you could possibly buy at a store is, by the time it's processed, packaged and shipped, at least a few days old.

                                  1. re: Potomac Bob

                                    Bob, thanks for the advice. I do use a cast iron skillet and the flour is seasoned with plain old salt and pepper, because he swears that what grandma did. Not too much, just a bit. Do you turn it over halfway through? That's what I do. I need to do the bacon fat addition to the oil. Maybe that's part of her magic. Unfortunately I never even got to taste her fried chicken, but it must have been something very special, because the whole family still talks about it after 30+ years. I do think the fresh, fresh, chicken is a big part.

                            2. re: jfood

                              With a very shap knife and a good eye for portions...

                              I *think* I'm with you on this one. Fried chicken is chicken that is fried. The exact portions and cuts and batters/dips are the chef's choice. Still, it seems that many folk are a bit anal on what parts are required to be "fried chicken." Guess I have never had "fried chicken," by many standards.

                              Hunt

                          4. Fried chicken are pieces of chicken, skin on and on the bone that are dredged and fried. One whole chicken will be broken down will yield 2 breasts, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 2 wings.

                            The dredging/battering and method of frying whether deep fried or pan fried are subject to local interpretations. Anything not resembling one of the 4 types of pieces listed above or are boneless or skinless should not be referred to as "fried chicken" rather fried chicken cutlets, nuggets, tenders, etc.

                            1. Four basic must haves:

                              1 - Cut chicken with bne still attached
                              2 - Binding ingredient (buttermilk/egg/flour, etc)
                              3 - Breading
                              4 - Oil

                              Fried chicken is not baked, not grilled, not braised, not poached. Please see first word of name.

                              Like jfood's philosophy on pizza, please leave tradition in this dish.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: jfood

                                You mean you never subscribed to Shake N Bake as an alternative? Just kidding. I agree. Leave it alone. And for goodness' sake, leave the skin on and the bones in.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  I agree. For me the key is soaking in buttermilk then dredging in flour. Kinda sad that people would consider chicken tenders real fried chicken.

                                  1. re: Docsknotinn

                                    I agree....the key is to soak the chicken pcs. in buttermilk, and use a paper bag to coat the chicken.

                                2. Be careful with the word "breading." My friend (whose family is from the South) used to feel sorry for me because I grew up with fried chicken coated in bread crumbs. She says that you must have flour in a proper fried chicken, preferably shaken in a paper bag -- never bread crumbs.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                    I was about to say the same thing. My momma did her fried chicken by flouring only. Paper bag method. No egg, no buttermilk, no bread crumbs, nothing else. Salt and pepper added in the skillet. Covered the whole time. She got a great crust.

                                    I've been experimenting lately. I do several hours of buttermilk, maybe adding some fish sauce, paprika, salt, etc. Then coat with a flour and cornmeal mixture, and some other spices, let set for a while to dry (increases crispiness), then pan fry in, what else, lard. I've been getting a hefty and crispy crust.

                                    I was intrigued with jfood's comments about cutting up the bird. Lately the chickens I've been finding in the store are just too big to fry properly (what's up with that?). So I'm sometimes cutting into 12 pieces--four pieces of breast, four of thigh, 2 drumsticks, and two wings. The back can add another depending on how I cut it out.

                                    1. re: johnb

                                      " Lately the chickens I've been finding in the store are just too big to fry properly (what's up with that?)."

                                      Johnnb, I had the same problem recently. No small chickens in the stores! If the pieces are too big, they don't cook completely in the time it takes for the skin to get crispy and brown.

                                      But I am torn. I love the classic fried chicken pieces, and am very familiar with the anatomy of the pieces. I also have a special way of eating every piece (Yup, crazy type A food habits again...skin is always last, with lots of gravy!! eep.) Cutting them into half pieces would disrupt my chicken eating ritual. What to do!

                                      Out of curiosity, how do you split the thighs and breasts into half? Longitudinally? And for the thigh, what do you do with the top bone, the one that has the lovely hunk of chicken meat in the small hollow? Do you just split the bones?

                                      I am also a fan of the buttermilk soak, and have been won over to the ways of salt brining the chicken prior to the buttermilk soak. The brining results in a very nicely seasoned moist piece of chicken.

                                      1. re: moh

                                        Like jfood I cut the breast into 4 pieces about the way you'd think--just cut each split half into two crossways, trying to keep them as equal as possible, so you wind up with four more-or-less square-ish pieces of breast meat. As to the thighs, I cut through the joint where the leg bone connected to the...backbone, and the backbone connected to the....stop me please! Anyway you end up with two pieces that are triangular shaped, one with backbone and one with leg bone. Not so bad really. You generally end up with more meat on the leg bone piece tho, no matter how hard you try.

                                        That lovely hunk of meat, by the way, is called the "oyster" by those in the know, and they, correctly I think, consider it the best meat on the chicken. When I cook turkey for T'giving, I present myself with one, sometimes two, of those while carving the bird in the kitchen, as my little reward to myself for all my hard work. I amazes me how few people know about that little morsel.

                                        1. re: moh

                                          I think these oversized chickens are "juiced", like pro athletes, HGH or steroids, just kidding. I think it's how they're raised, they just sit on their fannys and get fat, cause this is America abd bigger is better. My Kroger used to carry Uncle Buddy's "all-natural" chicken but now they only carry boneless, skinless. I have found the smaller bone and skin breasts at a store that has a largely Jewish client base, unfortunately it is 30 minutes away and requires a special trip.

                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                            They're juiced alright, with water. Puffs 'em up real good for sale.

                                      2. re: Miss Needle

                                        Agree with danhole's definition.
                                        I grew up with fried chicken that was seasoned then coated in flour (not bread crumbs or complex batters), the only binding agent being any water left from washing the pieces off with tap water. Simple and pretty darn good.

                                      3. I've posted a few "fried chicken" articles, mostly trying to dredge up possibilites for a recipe that I experienced decades ago. Being "from" the Deep South, I have experienced my share of "fried chicken." Also, as my wife is the chef in the family, and also from the Deep South, she's helped alot.

                                        To me, "fried chicken," is basically chicken, that is battered and fried. The frying can be in a deep fryer, or in a cast-iron skillet, or even in a pressure cooker with some form of fat, grease, oil. The chicken pieces can be whatever one likes. I'm more a white meat fan, but wife favors dark. To us, the bone-in, or skin-on is extra, and is not necessary. It can have both, but is not required.

                                        Personally, I have no problem with "chicken fried chicken," or with various chicken parts. That said, I'm not a fan of "wings," and cannot fathom the draw.

                                        In our household, we are usually doing breasts and thighs, and more often without skin, except when we're attempting to recreate a special recipe.

                                        Now, this is just one perspective from a couple of "Southerners."

                                        Hunt

                                        25 Replies
                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          Bill, I also have no problem with chicken fried chicken, strips, tenders or any piece if chicken that has been fried. My problem is that my DH wants fried chicken, good old, skin on, moistened, seasoned flour and fried in vegetable oil. When I make it at home I actually dip in flour, let it sit and then spray with a water bottle (fine mist) and dip again. I comes out very good. Next time I am going to try the buttermilk marinade.I think it is a PITA to make, though, so I don't do it often. That is why I ask people where to find good fried chicken and am constantly amazed at how many think if it any form of chicken and it has a breading then that counts. I can see that most of the people on this thread don't agree, so I'm not the only one!

                                          1. re: danhole

                                            Ah, that "misting" sounds interesting. In my thread on Alamo Fried Chicken from Biloxi, MS, there were many good comments to help us try and duplicate a recipe, that my poor wife never got to try.

                                            I think I'll borrow your idea and see how this works with some of the other tips.

                                            Thanks,

                                            Hunt

                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              BH

                                              The best onion rings jfood has ever eaten had this "double" breading concept. They breaded then threw in the oil for a few seconds then back into the breading then back into the oil to finish cooking.

                                              Not the healthiest, but boy are they good.

                                              1. re: jfood

                                                I cannot imagine that the words "onion rings," and "healthy," could ever appear in the same sentence.

                                                Where were these onion rings? I love 'em, when done well, but that is not too often nowadays.

                                                Hunt

                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                  Hunt

                                                  if you see healthy and onion rings in a sentence, you better also see the word "not" somehwere, agreed.

                                                  The rings in question resided at Nauset Beach in East Orleans, MA on cape cod. There was a food shack on the boardwalk that you walk-over the dunes to go from the parking lot to the sand. They were also "string" rings versus the fatter ones seen elsewhere.

                                                  They are the "10" to which jfood compares all other onion rings. None have come close.

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Jfood, why the past tense? Are you saying this place no longer exists? I am this close to jumping in the car and trying to find this place, just waiting on your word...

                                                    Onion rings have a special place in my universe. And it seems no one makes them fresh anymore, they just use those frozen abominations...

                                                    1. re: moh

                                                      past tense because it has been a couple of years.

                                                      Try posting on the NE or Boston boards to see if they are still there. today there may not have a line given the weather.

                                                    2. re: jfood

                                                      Jfood,

                                                      Thanks for the H/U. Do not think we have a MA trip in the works, but my wife often surprises me. If we get in that direction, I'll keep an eye peeled. Being on the Cape, I would assume that this might be seasonal, is that right?

                                                      Appreciated, as always,

                                                      Hunt

                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                        if you do plan, jfood would suggest posting on the Boston or NE boards to check. Given the average age at the place is 19 h ewould guess seasonal as well.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          Will do, and will report back there, should be be so fortunate.

                                                          Thanks for the info,

                                                          Hunt

                                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                  Here's another idea. This is verbatim quote from a CH thread in 2004, mostly on the subject of pressure fried chicken.

                                                  My father was famous for his fried chicken. Used a cast iron pan, used 1/2 inch shortening (before oil was invented)put in the chicken when shortening hot, browned on both sides, and (here's the trick) added a bit of water, turned the heat down as low as he could get, and covered with a tight lid. The chicken steamed for 5-10 minutes, removed lid, let chicken crisp up. It was the steaming, pressure or not, that was the secret.

                                                  New Posts | Permalink | Report | Reply

                                                  Jim H. Aug 30, 2004

                                                  I've been meaning to try this technique, but never got around to it. Has anybody tried anything like this?

                                                  1. re: johnb

                                                    Yes - fried chicken made in a pressure cooker is AWESOME.

                                                    1. re: johnb

                                                      That's how my mom cooked her fried chicken. Even though it was coated with breadcrumbs, it was delicious! The meat was really juic

                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                        Interesting technique. One thing that I have been struggling with was the fact that this place, Alamo Fried Chicken, was a commercial operation. Seems that it took some minutes, to get your order, so there could have been some "home cooking" going on in the back, but they normally had a line out the door. Still, wife has two cast-iron skillets (one from 3 generations of cooks, and the other from 5), so we might try this too.

                                                        Thanks,

                                                        Hunt

                                                    2. re: danhole

                                                      Dani - the buttermilk marinade is really easy -- its just buttermilk -- and makes the chicken VERY tender. Overnight is long enough. Also helps the flour stick to the pieces better before frying.

                                                      That said, is it going to make your chicken taste like grandma's? Probably not. I think the NOTION of this fried chicken is, well, just that. Im sure its nostalgia, more than anything else, that makes grandma's fried chicken seem so good. Yes, the fresh chicken 40 years ago was different than what you buy today, but there is still quality, grass-fed free range chicken out there. I am always pleasantly surprised by the chicken I get at Central Market and how noticeably better it tastes than the $1.99/lb bulk pac special from Kroger. There really IS a difference.

                                                      1. re: Cheflambo

                                                        Mary, I just don't use buttermilk. I hate to get a carton of it and end up throwing half away. Maybe I'll share one with you! I'll have to try the CM chicken and see. Other than that, do you know of a local source for fresh chicken? Still tempted to get a coop, but not sure about the neighborhood cats.

                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                          You can freeze leftover buttermilk : )

                                                          1. re: Calipoutine

                                                            Really?? Wow! Thanks a lot for that tidbit.

                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                              You can also just plain drink it. If you like yoghurt there's no reason you shouldn't like buttermilk. It too is a cultured product, and not so bad for you. Similar to kefir. I really don 't understand why more people don't seem to like it--maybe the name puts them off???. Best really cold. You can also use it make something very similar to lassi if you want. Just add sugar or whatever style of lassi moves you.

                                                              1. re: johnb

                                                                I have to admit that I have never had a drink of buttermilk. My mother in law loves it, but I never tried it. I do sort of like yogurt, so I may give that a try. So, what is lassi?

                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                  OT of course, but..........

                                                                  Lassi:

                                                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lassi

                                                                  Found in just about every Indian restaurant these days. Very refreshing.

                                                                2. re: johnb

                                                                  I am one, who loves it in food, but do not enjoy drinking it, though I love yoghurt - go figure. Growing up, both parents loved buttermilk, so there was always a carton, or two (actually, for much of my life, these were glass bottles delivered to the front porch on Sat. AM) in the 'fridge. I never developed the taste. It was also used in many dishes, and I like those.

                                                                  On those Saturday mornings, I'd always rush to bring in the bottles, and would sneak open the whole milk, to scoop the cream from the cardboard lid. I know my mother wondered if the whole milk recipe had changes, as there was no cream anymore on the lid, and atop the milk. I'm sure she suspected the dairy of substituting skim-milk, but that therm had not yet been invented.

                                                                  OK - I'm getting too far from the fried chicken topic, and apologize - sorry.

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: johnb

                                                                    I love lassi (sweet lassi), but buttermilk is just too sour to drink.

                                                                  2. re: danhole

                                                                    you can also make a wicked-simple "ranch style" buttermilk salad dressing. just put some sea salt and chopped garlic in a bowl and crush together, then add buttermilk, with a little sour cream and a little mayo (more of each of those if you like a very thick dressing), & whisk. add s&p, fresh herbs if you got 'em, esp chives; if you don't have fresh, use crushed dried tarragon and perhaps some chipotle. ime you can't really mess up the seasoning, except by using too much salt, in which case pour in more buttermilk. waaaaay better than that horrible gloopy shelf-stable crap from the grocery store. :)

                                                                    ETA: the dressing goes *great* on the picnic salad to go with the fried chx btw

                                                              2. re: Cheflambo

                                                                Fried chicken is such a rare treat for me, but I'm a buttermilk believer, for sure, although my parents never make it that way. They just season and flour the chicken.

                                                                I soak my chix overnight in buttermilk, with a hefty dose of paprika and other spices. About two hours before I fry, I add salt. Then, I double dip in buttermilk and Wondra flour (I'm surprised no one else mentioned it; it's a must for me) and fry in peanut oil (also a must).

                                                                And, yes--to me, real fried chicken has to have bones.

                                                          2. Here is an interesting recipe I found on Roadfood, from a carryout in Henderson Ky. I've been working variations from this lately for my chicken.

                                                            http://www.roadfood.com/Recipes/Recip...

                                                            Several ingredients in both the marinade and the coating seem to be there to bring in umami, which I think is the key to their approach.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: johnb

                                                              Goodness johnb -

                                                              Now I remember why we were so fond of making trips across the river to Henderson!

                                                              Thanks for the link.

                                                              1. re: Cookiefiend

                                                                Cookie

                                                                Since you're clearly into fried chicken, have you ever tried the "Chicken Place" in Ireland, Ind., and if so how does it compare with Bon Ton?

                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                  No I haven't!

                                                                  I've been all over Evansville and many places around E-Ville, and the Indianapolis area...

                                                                  Sorry!

                                                              2. re: johnb

                                                                I have copied that recipe. thank you

                                                                  1. re: ORLYFACTOR

                                                                    yeah great texture for a churn type operation, except one's pores will ooze the odor the next day.

                                                                    good biscuits (that I'm sure are packed with transfat).

                                                                    eh, once a year.

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      "good biscuits (that I'm sure are packed with transfat)"

                                                                      Hill food, my understanding is that a homemade biscuit made with homemade rendered lard from fresh lard should have very little transfat. So it can be considered a health food!

                                                                      1. re: moh

                                                                        Yeah, Biskits as health food! I love it! BTW, Ezells is our go to, they pressure fry a cajun spice chix that rocks, can't do it better myself and I cook for a living.

                                                                  2. My Son owns a Restaurant in Ga. and buys onlly 2 1/2 lb. chickens He fries them in pressure fryer after using a buttermik soak, plain flour, salt, black pepperand not one other thing.
                                                                    The chickens are always fresh, never frozen. he serves several hunderd dinners every day and its a southern thing. Pressure fryers cook great chicken, always done always uniform. Folks drive 50 mils to eat his recipie.

                                                                    1. Agreed that the contributors to your local board appear to be missing the fried chicken boat. Bone-in and skin-on are non-negotiable requirements.

                                                                      Coating, on the other hand, can range from the non-existent (there's a place in Oldenburg, IN that makes great fried chicken with just salt, pepper, and paprika) to a thick layer of batter. And then there's the question of frying method. Pan frying (with lots of chicken surface area sticking out above the top of the oil) is the traditional favorite, but deep frying and pressure frying (broasting) work, too.

                                                                      I like a 3 to 3.5 pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces (the wishbone, 2 wing/breasts, 2 lower breasts, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and the back), dredged in seasoned flour, and pan fried in a deep cast-iron skillet (aka "chicken fryer"). Mashed potatoes on the side, with gravy that includes the bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan. Oh, yeah...

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                        So pressure frying and broasting are the same thing? I thought the average joe couldn't get a broaster, that they are only available for commercial places. I have never had a broasted chicken but I have heard they are delicious.

                                                                        Alan, what do you mean by the wishbone, when you describe how you cut your chicken? Others have referenced this and I am not getting it. Thanks.

                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                          You can buy a true pressure fryer for home use from Fagor. They are fairly expensive. The "Broaster" company claims that it is both the use of secret seasonings plus pressure frying that creates the special "broasted chicken" and that therefore pressure frying and "broasting" are not the same thing.

                                                                          I know some people swear by pressure frying, but it can be dangerous. I think that is why the Wearever "chicken bucket" is no longer sold (although you can buy old ones on ebay).

                                                                          Also regarding cutting chicken for frying, there is an interesting article in the last issue of Saveur magazine: "When preparing a chicken for frying, cook Tom Sheron of the Hollyhock Hill restaurant in Indianapolis halves the breast crosswise instead of lengthwise, leaving the wishbone intact. "It's the way fried chicken used to be cut," he says." (The Hollyhock Hill fried chicken recipe is available on the Saveur website, for free)

                                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                                            Broasting is a commercial process where chicken is soaked in a proprietary marinade and coated in a proprietary batter, then pressure-fried. So it's a subset of pressure-frying.

                                                                            As far as the wishbone, I think it's the product of an old-fashioned way of cutting up a chicken; you don't see it in restaurants or grocery stores. Regardless, you get it by cutting through the gap where where the v-end of the wishbone meets the keelbone, then removing the wishbone along with the lobes of meat that lie along it, cutting through the gaps where where the tips of the wishbone connect to the shoulders. It's a medium-sized piece of breast meat with a fair amount of skin and a v-shaped bone that the kids can wish on (at least until they get to be teenagers and are too cool for that stuff any more).

                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                              So, from what you and kbjesq are saying I either just cut the top of the breast off, leaving the wishbone intact, or I cut it along the wishbone and end up with a "V" shapee piece. Right?

                                                                              I don't think I will even give a pressure fryer a second thought. I have a pressure cooker that I have only used once and it scares me to death!

                                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                                Pressure frying is not something that the home cook really ought to get involved in. If something goes wrong, one could have a really serious disaster on one's hands.

                                                                                I understand the reason pressure frying works well for chicken is that it keeps the moisture in (due to the pressure) and as such the skin stays nice and crisp/intact. Simple deep frying lets the moisture out, and it can dislodge the skin/crust on the way, not to mention result in less juicy chicken. Pan frying solves the moisture escape problem because part of the piece is always out of the oil, thus giving the moisture an escape route.

                                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                                  If you cut along the wishbone, you have to leave enough meat below it to make it worthwhile, so it's more heart-shaped than a v-shaped, but you get the idea.

                                                                                  Pressure-frying sounds like it might work well, but it seems like the primary advantage would be the time savings. Important when you're running a chicken shack, but maybe not so much at home--fried chicken isn't the first thing that springs to mind when I have to put dinner on the table quickly. I love my pressure cookers, and use them almost daily, but dropping $300 for another one just to have prssure-frying as an option? Not likely.