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Sep 29, 2008 01:26 PM

Thomas Keller's Fried Chicken

His recipe was in a recent Bon Appetit and I've eaten the fried chicken twice at Ad Hoc, his restaurant in Yountville, CA.
I'm thinking of attempting it. You first brine it for 24 hrs. Calls for brining whole chicken then cutting it up before battering and frying. I don't know how to cut one up and don't want to tackle this on my own.
Would it be ok to brine an already cut up chicken?

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  1. Although I have no real scientific or culinary basis for this....I think it'd be fine to brine the already cut up chicken. Maybe you should brine it for a couple of hours fewer.....Good luck.

    1. I have brined chicken parts with success but they only need 1hour rather than 4 hours for a whole chicken.
      Could you share Thomas Keller's recipe with us...he is such a knowledgeable and respected chef.
      Thanks in advance

      9 Replies
      1. re: bevo

        This was in this month's (Sept 08) Bon Appetit. (I could not find it in Epicurious but maybe it takes time to get there.) I'll try my best at paraphrasing -- I'm going to halve the recipe.

        Brine: 24 c water, 1 c coarse kosher salt, 1/2 c plus 1 T honey, 18 Turkish bay leaves,
        30 smashed, unpeeled garlic cloves, 3 T whole black peppercorns, 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, 1 1/2 bunches fresh thyme sprigs, 1 1/2 bunches fresh Italian parsley,
        2 T finely grated lemon peel, 3/4 c fresh lemon juice.

        Bring these ingredients to boil for 1 minute, stir to dissolve salt. Cool. Chill brine until cold, about 2 hrs.

        3 3 1.2 lb chickens: Rinse chickens, add to brine, pressing to submerge. Chill at least 12 hrs, and up to 24 hrs.

        Drain, pat dry, removing herbs & spices. Cut each chicken into 8 pieces.

        Frying: Line 2 large baking sheets w/parchment paper. Mix 6 c all-purpose flour,
        5 T garlic powder, 5 T onion powder, 4 tsp paprika, 4 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper and 4 tsp coarse kosher salt in large bowl.

        Place 6 c buttermilk in another large bowl. Dip chicken in flour mixture, shake off excess. Dip in buttermilk, then, into flour mixture again -- do not shake off excess this time. Place on prepared sheets, let stand 1 - 2 hrs at room temp. to dry.

        Pour 12 c peanut oil into heavy large pot. Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of pot, heat med-high to 320 F to 330 F. Fry 4 pieces at a time, legs and thighs about 13 min, turning once with wooden spoons, until golden. Transfer to paper towels and sprinkle with coarse salt. Breasts take about 7 min.

        Serve warm or let stand up to 2 hrs. at room temp.

        Let me know if you make it. I'm going to buy the best possible chicken I can find when I get around to cooking this. It tastes really great at his restaurant.

        1. re: walker

          Does anybody else think this brine sounds incredibly wasteful?

          30 garlic cloves? 18 Bay leaves? good grief, and then it all gets thrown away?

            1. re: duckdown

              No. It imparts an incredible amount of flavor as opposed to say just adding 1, which would truly be wasteful because you wouldn't notice the flavor. Besides, bay leaves and garlic cloves are cheap easy to get.

            2. re: walker

              Please do report back after you make this! It's been on my to-cook list since I saw the recipe in Bon Appetit.

              Interestingly, below is a link to a slightly different version of the Ad Hoc fried chicken from Food & Wine Oct 07. The recipe above from BA is more recent though, and I like the addition of paprika.


              1. re: Carb Lover

                I prepared this a few weeks ago, like the first Sunday after I got the new issue in the mail.
                Very good fried chicken. I fried it on the stovetop, as I do not have a deep fryer as the recipe calls for (I believe). The chicken came out incredibly moist due to the brining. I will def use this recipe as a base for my fried chicken from here on out, may season the flour a little differently, but all in all a great recipe.

                1. re: roro1831

                  Was the chicken cut up before or after brining? Did you fry in peanut oil? How long did you brine?

            3. re: bevo

              The full recipe is listed on Amazon's Ad Hoc page.


              It says cut the chicken before brining for no longer than 12 hours.

              1. re: cutipie721

                i've done it with thighs and legs for about 18 hours. came out great.

            4. For future reference, cutting up a chicken is really easy. If you just Google "cutting up a chicken video" you will be entertained for hours. Here's a straightforward video.
              The first time you do it will be the only practice you'll need. After that, you'll know how.

              8 Replies
              1. re: yayadave

                I'll take a look but I think I need someone by my side teaching me; too bad I never learned from my grandmother. I am very proud that I just taught myself how to make fresh pasta -- I'm sure that would have been easier if I'd been taught how by someone with experience.

                1. re: walker

                  I learned how by following Bittman's instructions in "How to Cook Everything". They're illustrated but no photos or videos (obviously). It went fine. It really does look harder than it is.

                  I'd suggest just doing it. It's not hard at all, and you'll save a ton of money buying whole chickens vs expensive cut-up chickens. I was annoyed at how afraid I'd been to try it after I discovered just how easy it is.

                  1. re: walker

                    As I said, the videos make it easier. The first time it is never-never land. After that it's like making toast.
                    Sometimes you have to weigh the upsides and the down sides.
                    The upsides are: 1. You gain a new cooking skill, and that really feels good. 2. You'll save some money on chicken.
                    The downside is: You might screw up a $2 chicken the first time. So what! It'll still be edible.
                    Don't worry about looking foolish. Remember, it'll still be edible. Worst case, you throw everything in a big pot with water, aromatics, and seasoning, and make soup.

                    As an aside, there are all kinds of cooking videos available.

                    1. re: walker

                      It is so easy you will never buy a whole cut up chicken again.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        Where I buy chicken, they don't charge extra to cut it in to pieces. Any time I've tried to do it, it slides around and I just don't enjoy doing it. Guess if I did a few I'd get good at it but I don't really need to do it.

                        1. re: walker

                          Yes, the place where I buy mine is the same - and I ask them to include the backs, etc. when they cut up the chicken.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            That's good. I have sooo many bags of chicken backs and discards (heart,gizzards, necks and wing tips) in the freezer for making stock. The stuff mutiples in the freezer I think. The liver I usually cooked on the spot for a chef's treat. When you cut a lot of chickens you get a better apprciation for the basic anatomy which is a good thing.

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              I find myself reaching for those little bags at times when I want to build up my sauce or gravy. I toss them in and it will make a noteable difference between a bland sauce and a tasty sauce. It really doesn't take a many pieces either, wing tips are wonderful for building sauces.Be sure to strain the sauce afterward, I do that anyway for a smoother sauce.

                  2. An interesting web on the topic......(scroll down the page)

                    (for those brave enough to try!

                    1. For those who have attempted it, when you brine the chicken do you take out the bay leaves and other remains at the bottom of the pot or do you strain them out?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: overresearched

                        you take the chicken out of the brine to dry, batter and fry, and leave all the other stuff behind.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          hey! hotoynoodle. i use canola oil for deep frying this bm fried chicken of ad hoc in stainless pot with thermometer. i used bit less than 2 quarts of canola oil. when i drop the chiken pieces, temps spike up quit fast. and i have to adjust. according to some, the temp is supposed to be rather droped as soon as one drops the pieces. why is mine rather spiked up?. and the color of mine was qite deep brown in the end although i am not saying it is burned.
                          i seached many bloggers who posted photos of this duplicated dish. theirs are mostly deep brown. if i use much more amount of oil than 2 quarts, do you think result would be more consistent like how the cookbook says?