frying chicken... dutch oven or cast-iron skillet?
It's my first time frying a chicken... I've lived in South Carolina for three years now and it's about time! I'm good for the recipe, but I want to know if I should use my 12 inch skillet or my 5qt round dutch oven. I'm a little scared of kitchen fires and thought the dutch oven would be better for keeping the oil in but I don't know if it's ok to deep fry in one. Any thoughts?
how deep is your skillet? I've never made fried chicken but I would imagine that a 3-4" deep frying pan would be ideal because you'd want to spread the chicken out evenly in the pan without stacking and would have to balance the needs for containing the oil and chicken while still being able to access the chicken for turning. I' probably have 1" of oil in the pan. I think a dutch oven would be too deep,
What you are describing is commonly called a 'chicken fryer'
is the Lodge preseasoned 5qt model. But if you look at the Lodge 'dutch ovens' (not their camp ovens) you'll see that the dimensions are similar. In fact the obvious difference is in the handle style. The lid of chicken fryer might also be domed a bit more.
The question is really are you pan frying or deep frying? Use the skillet if you want to put about 3/4 in. of oil in, and fry maybe 4 or 5 pieces at once on one side, then flip and finish. Use the dutch if you want to fill it 1/2 full with oil -- quarts -- and throw 3 or 4 pieces into it to submerge to fry.
You can certainly pan fry chicken in a dutch oven. I've done it. Indeed, with the dutch oven you'll get less mess than with a frying pan or even with the somewhat deeper chicken fryer, which is what I usually use.
For deep frying chicken you want a deep container, so a dutch oven should do fine. Cooking chicken in a fry pan is not considered deep frying, though it will produce tasty results with less oil. With deep frying, I presume you know you want a thermometer to make sure the oil's hot enough to avoid really greasy stuff.. Either way, why not check out recipes on a place like Epicurious.or Food Network?
When AB did fried chicken, he did it in a CI skillet with shortening I believe. He used the skillet and some oil deep enough to cover the pieces about half way. This way the chicken can rest on the bottom and develop some nice colour.
I've done it both ways with great success.
I guess what I'm saying, either should produce great chicken. The skillet will also be good to make gravy if you so choose though.