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How do you keep fried chicken crispy for a picnic?

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Yesterday I made some fried chicken tenders that came out great. I needed to bring them to a picnic about 20 minutes after they were done so put them on a cooling rack for that time and then put them in a covered tupperware container. Unfortunately, on arrival my once crispy tenders were now soggy and greasy with no hint of crispiness left. What should I have done differently here to ensure they stayed crisp?

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  1. It was the Tupperware that did you in, IMHO. The chicken's own still-warm moisture condensed on the lid and made your wonderful tenders soggy.

    Loosely wrapped in foil is the way to go, I think. A paper towel wouldn't go amiss in there to absorb any surface grease, either.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mcsheridan

      yep...you can't put it in anything airtight.

    2. I have never had any sort of fried chicken that would remain crisp when cold. I think it's impossible. Even adding some kind of crunch element (corn flake crumbs?) it would still get soggy from the inner moisture of the chicken as it cooled. Ok, I don't really mean soggy - I just mean soft.

      1. imo, i think you have to let it cool completely - can't be warm when you pack it. I think still in foil and it's trapping it's own heat.

        1. One thing the colonel does right is put the chicken in a paper bucket. It will absorb excess grease and moisture and keep chicken fresh, if not crisp.

          1. Thanks all. Next time I'll try just foil and see what happens.

            3 Replies
            1. re: frobe

              Put the chicken in a paper bag for transport.

                1. re: Alan408

                  I'll third this. My dad used to put paper bags in the bottom of a cooler, top with a layer of chicken. More paper bags, then another layer of chicken. It was still a little crispy when we got to the beach/ picnic. It won't ever stay AS crispy, but the bags help.

              1. Water vapor is going to continue coming off your food, so you have to either transport it in a vented container of any kind (loose foil, open-top tupperware, bag whatever) to allow the water vapor to escape. The other option is to wrap it in something that will absorb the moisture so that your breading doesn't. I think a loose paper towel inside your tupperware would do the trick.

                1. My granny would always wrap the fried chicken in a cotton napkin and put it in a woven-wood picnic basket for transport to the church yard. I can't remember a single soggy piece, but it might be that we ate her chicken so fast, it didn't have time to get soft!
                  Wish I had a basket of it right now!

                  1. Dry your chicken pieces thoroughly before introducing the pieces to the coating mixture.
                    Once it's cooked, let it cool completely, wrap in paper towels and then in brown paper bag.
                    As long as it's cooled down, it shold stay crisp.
                    Wrapping it in anything like plastic, tupperware containers, foil, etc. will promote condensation at the slightest change in temperature/humidity. The only way to keep it crispy is to control temperature and humidity influences.
                    You also want to make certain it is drained EXTREMELY well. I typically drain mine on a cooling rack over paper towels that are resting on top of brown paper (used grocery bags).
                    When cooled down, I transfer them into direct contact with the paper towels to wick away any moisture that has not yet been eliminated. Any residue of oil in the coating will tend to soften it eventually, depending on how much oil is present.