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Fried Chicken

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I consider myself a fairly advanced cook - but I CANNOT get fried chicken done right. I've tried the brining, the buttermilk soak, the seasoned flour - with a double dip in egg and not... and it still doesn't turn out right. Recipes say that the oil must stay at 350 degrees - which means you get nicely browned chicken and raw near the bone. Sticking into the oven to finish it up only ruins the coating.

I've used a Dutch Oven, a Lodge skillet and a Cuisinart electric frying pan.

WHAT is the secret?

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  1. Everyone has their own secret, and people get into fistfights about the "right" way.

    Here's my experience:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/805988

    1. I consider myself a master fryer of: fish and chicken fried steak, especially, also shrimp, okra, onion rings, oysters adequate, but not chicken. I can't get it right. I fry in a cast iron skillet, but have my Grandmothers cast iron dutch oven. It seems as though, if I can recall correctly, she fried the chicken uncovered, and then covered it later. I know this is probably considered steaming at the end, but it is delicious. Next time I get up the nerve, I'll try it that way.

      1. I don't make fried chicken that often, but when I do, I go the buttermilk soak route.

        Other tips: Use small chicken pieces. Large ones don't do well.
        Pan fry in shallow oil/shortening instead of deep frying.
        I use a cast iron skillet.
        After cooking the chicken in the pan, I have no problem whatsoever putting the pieces on a rack on a baking pan and keeping them hot in the oven. Doesn't ruin the coating and if any chicken hasn't fully cooked, it finishes it up.

        The recipe I like to use came from Cooking at the Academy, California Culinary Academy

        Buttermilk Pan Fried Chicken

        1 chicken cut into 8 pieces

        1 cup buttermilk

        Seasoned flour
        1 to 2 teaspoons granulated (dried) garlic
        2 teaspoons cayenne powder
        1 teaspoon onion powder
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1 cup all purpose flour
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1 teaspoon ground black pepper

        For pan frying: 2 cups solid vegetable shortening, or your oil of choice

        1. Place the chicken in a shallow pan and cover with the buttermilk, cover and refrigerate 8 to 10 hours or overnight.

        2. Mix seasoned flour ingredients together in a medium bowl. (I use a glass pie pan.)

        3. Heat shortening or oil in a deep-sided heavy pan over medium heat between 325 and 340 degrees.

        4. Remove chicken from buttermilk, shake off excess, reserving the buttermilk. Roll chicken in the flour and dip a second time into the buttermilk. Shake off excess buttermilk and roll again in seasoned flour. Set aside on cooling rack while repeating with the other pieces.

        5. When oil is at the right temperature, lower the pieces into the hot oil carefully with tongs. The oil should cover no more than half the chicken. Make sure oil does not get too hot.

        6. Cover the pan and fry for 8 to 10 minutes. Lift off cover, turn the chicken over with the tongs and fry uncovered for 25 minutes longer or until cooked through. Drain on paper towels before serving.

        7. If making batches, chicken can be kept warm in oven.

        1. Well, I grew up with a grandmother and mother who fried chicken, so I just kind of know how to do it. Nothing fancy, and no big secrets, I check the temp by dropping a little dab of flour in and seeing if it sizzles. One thing that might help is to look for a smaller chicken. Regular grocery store chickens have gotten bigger and bigger over the years, and the bigger pieces are harder to get done. Maybe that's obvious, and you've already tried it...

          1. I know this is going to seem sacrilegious but I use Nigella's medthod where you poach the chicken first. Then you bread and fry, so you are just looking for a crisp skin as the chicken is already cooked. I find it comes out every time.

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

            1 Reply
            1. re: juli5122

              I tried this as well. The problem? All the fat was rendered out of the skin...which meant that once fried the skin tasted like a flabby nothing that was crunchy.

            2. What kind of fried chicken are we talking about here? Deep frying or pan frying? The two are quite different methods.

              My mother's fried chicken is the typical Maryland/Virginia method of pan frying chicken with a steaming spell at the end.

              She flours and salt and peppers the chicken. Meanwhile she uses either a cast iron frying pan or an ancient 1960s electric frying pan and melts 1/2 butter to 1/2 crisco. At least an entire stick of both.

              She adds the chicken and cooks both sides on medium-high heat until well browned and a nice crust has developed on the skin , then covers the pan with the lid, reduces the temperature to low and cooks for as long as another hour.

              The chicken is always deliciously moist with a crispy crust.

              *she was brining the chicken in salt water until she discovered a wonderful local free range chicken farmer. Genuinely free range as in the chicken was pecking around a wood up to the morning before it hit the table.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Roland Parker

                You know...I think Roland has the right answer. EVERY recipe says fry for 14 - 20 minutes. HA!
                Do you know what temp your Mom keeps the Crisco/butter at? I think that's another problem - frying at too high of temperatures. It's the temp that I would love to know. Thanks!

              2. "Recipes say that the oil must stay at 350 degrees - which means you get nicely browned chicken and raw near the bone."
                _______
                That's bad advice IMO. When pan frying, the oil temp is SUPPOSED to drop when chicken is added - maybe to 275 or 300 - and then to rise again verrrrry slowly to about 350 right as the chicken is cooked through. Turn the chicken often.

                That is probably your main problem. Turning up the heat to compensate for that initial drop is a surefire way to get a burnt crust and/or undercooked chicken.

                Personally, when using buttermilk, I much prefer a very thin crust - otherwise it gets chewy and is easy to burn. I make sure that all the extra buttermilk has dripped off the chicken before dredging and then give it one very light dredge, tapping off excess flour as well. It's the chicken skin that crisps as much as it's the breading. I recommend this type of dredging while using buttermilk, but everyone has their own preference. Acgold convinced me on another thread that thicker crusts are best off avoiding buttermilk, maybe avoiding undiluted dairy completely.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cowboyardee

                  I couldn't agree more about the temperature. Without knowing more about the OP's method, I bet she's trying too hard to keep the temp at 350F, rather than getting it up to temp and letting it drop and rise again.

                2. This is my go-to fried chicken recipe:
                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                  I keep a candy thermometer in the pot, and am constantly checking & adjusting the temperature.
                  I always have to make way more chicken than we need for one meal - it tastes even better cold the next day.
                  Good luck with finding your perfect method!!

                  1. Sorry for your frustration. I seldom fry chicken but when I do it's worked great. To judge by your description, you're not doing anything obviously wrong. True, I start with oil close to 375 instead. But I think of two further issues.

                    1. I bet your chicken pieces are too large. A whole fryer should be around 3-3.5 pounds. But it's hard to find a bird under 4.5 pounds in my market. Fryers and roasters here are essentially the same (large) size.

                    2. It might help to let the chicken pieces come closer to room temp before frying. Maybe rest on the counter for 30 minutes before final dredging and frying?

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      I have been experimenting with fried chicken for a few months now and I have definitely run into the "dark brown outside, not cooked inside problem." This is with a deep fryer set to 350 though. I soak in buttermilk, usually overnight, and then double dredge in seasoned flour. I might try a lower oil temp and single dredge next time. I agree that small pieces work best.

                      1. re: nihongojoe

                        And meat at room temperature, not cold, helps.

                        1. re: nihongojoe

                          From what I've read and heard--e.g., in Alton Brown's Good Eats show--lowering oil temperature much below 350 will dramatically increased the amount of oil that remains in the crust after cooking. The effect might well be tasty, but heavier, and it would be harder to get a lighter, crispy style of crust.

                          I haven't tested this temperature guideline with chicken, but it definitely seems confirmed by my experiments with squid, fish and shrimp. I like to use an oil with a high enough smoke point that beginning the cook at 375 is possible without the oil breaking down.

                          1. re: Bada Bing

                            "From what I've read and heard--e.g., in Alton Brown's Good Eats show--lowering oil temperature much below 350 will dramatically increased the amount of oil that remains in the crust after cooking. The effect might well be tasty, but heavier, and it would be harder to get a lighter, crispy style of crust."
                            __________
                            I've read that's actually a commonly misunderstood concept. For one, and on a more theoretical basis, fried food actually absorbs MORE oil at hotter temperatures. The sogginess you experience with food cooked to low temperatures is actually excess moisture trapped in the crust. Food cooked to a higher temperature appears lighter and crispier and less soggy, but it's not actually less oily or better for you.

                            More importantly, it's mostly final oil temperature that matters. In other words, you could easily cook something in a low temperature oil bath (say 250) and then bring up the temp to 350 right at the end and still get a nice light crispy result. This has been demonstrated by the CI method of making french fries, for example. But it's also important because people keep on trying to maintain a constant temp of 350 for frying chicken, which leads IMO to burnt crust and undercooked chicken (this is also dependent upon the size of the chicken pieces you use).

                            Don't be afraid of lower oil temps, just know that you need to finish at high temp for a nice crust.

                            1. re: cowboyardee

                              Interesting. That makes sense that sogginess would be about moisture.

                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                Basically agreeing w/cowboyardee, I'll add my 2 cents, based on my experience.

                                I had my most successful chicken frying experience early this year using a recipe from the NYT Essential NYT Cookbook ("Chicken Betty's," p. 463), which I reported on ad nauseum in the relevant COTM thread at the time. My point is not the recipe's formula for success--it has no real direction about when the fat is ready, and initially that worried me--but my takeaway from the recipe, which was simply not to obsess over whether the oil was hot enough/consistently at some temp. I didn't keep adjusting the flame.

                                In the past I'd used thermometers and bread cubes, etc., and inevitably failed: usually, the fat was too hot, and the chicken browned too much before it was actually cooked. But, as I'd often heard, frying chicken is somewhat counterintuitive; lower temps are needed than for most deep-fat frying b/c the chicken has to fry so much longer.

                                Absent any specific direction from the recipe, I heated the oil over medium high heat for about 8 minutes (I just guessed at that amount of time so I know that's not particularly helpful) and then put in the chicken pieces in, fried for 8 minutes per side, then lowered the heat, covered w/a splatter screen, and cooked an additional 8 minutes, turning the pieces a few time. Well, this worked--though, obviously, cooking times would vary depending upon the size of the pieces. (And do let your chicken get to room temp before frying it.)

                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  http://www.culinate.com/recipes/colle...

                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                    I'm very glad I saw this today. Thank you for pointing out this recipe. After my experience with the one from Cook's Illustrated, this one looks promising. I now know that double dredging, thick batters, and frying at high temperatures is just NOT my thing - and I did work with small pieces of chicken.

                                    Agree with Cowboyardee on all points; always thought that frying lower and then raising the temp was the way to go, just having all this confirmed made my day.

                                    1. re: lilgi

                                      I made buttermilk fried chicken for the first time using the Cook's Illustrated recipe using a cast iron skillet a week ago. It actually came out pretty perfect, except that their buttermilk salt brine was too salty (I didn't put as much buttermilk as it called for which is probably partially my fault). It made my chicken almost inedible even though the crust was perfectly thick and crispy and the meat moist.

                                  2. re: Bada Bing

                                    So many agreed with cow, but I am going to agree one more time. Just to give a possible example:

                                    Freshly made French fries are crispy and light in mouth

                                    A day old French fries are soggy and oily

                                    Yet, the truth is that they have the same amount of oi. We know that, undoubtly. No one adds additional oil in between these time.

                                2. re: Bada Bing

                                  Agree with Cowboyardee, this is not correct.

                            2. First, make sure you are using parts from a fryer-size chicken, not a roasting-size chicken. This is the part most people neglect. Big parts get the overdone-underdone problem.

                              I use a big old rectangular counter-top electric skillet. I set it at 375 to start (because the temp will drop once you put the chicken in).

                              Chicken need to be brought closer to room temperature before you cook them. Putting in ice-cold chicken drops the oil temp too much.

                              I cover for the first side, and uncover for the second side. That's the classic cover technique.

                              Drain on racks in a single layer. Since I like my fried chicken cold, once it's cooled down, then I refrigerate it on a rack, in the frig. Make the space. This method dramatically reduces the humidity as it cools, so the crust stays crisper.

                              1. I agree with many of the other posters. Use smaller pieces, preferably the thighs that are already cut in half. I have found they cook more throuroughly than a thigh with all of the bones.

                                I ONLY use a cast iron skillet

                                1. I was amazed today to see on TV, Cooks Illustrated ,saying that to make perfect french fries you put the potatoes into cold oil...and then turn up the temp eventually!!! I had never heard of this technique.
                                  Do you think it could work for fried chicken?

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: foodqueen1

                                    Since I pan fry in shallow oil I wouldn't know about chicken.

                                    But about the french fries/cold oil thing, that discovery is not new, and it works great. For years we have gone on a drum corps camping trip with several families. One of the men always brings a humongous turkey deep fryer with him to make French Fries for the group. He pours all the fries into the deep fryer in cold oil. It takes a long while for them to cook. He said the secret is letting the fries gradually get to 375 degrees. They won't brown and crisp if they don't get to 375 he says, so he just lets them do their thing. When the fries are done, they're golden, crispy and not greasy at all. Excellent.

                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                      That is fascinating. I have never made a good french fry, gave up trying long ago. But after this discussion, I may have to give it another go.

                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        nomad, bet you think i'm stalking you but, truth is, i felt so simpatico w/ you as a cook- that i recently went to your member pg and looked at some of the threads you'd recently posted to.
                                        so, anyway, this might be of interest w/ regards to fr. fries:

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810498

                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                          If you actually like eating french fries or chips, please give Heston Blumenthal's triple cooked chips a go. At first glance it looks like a lot of work but you can the steps are super easy. You can also take more than a day breaks between steps. Once you finish it, you'll find it rather easy and worth. I always make a large batch up to the second cooking and freeze them. Whenever I am making fried chicken or burger or fish n chips, I take them out and do the final cooking. Pure heaven.
                                          http://www.potatolovers.co.uk/content...

                                          1. re: raisa

                                            Wow--those look great. Thanks for the link, raisa.

                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              you are most welcome.

                                            2. re: raisa

                                              Rendered horse fat does a very good job of making fries.

                                      2. The perfect chicken fry varies from person to person. Some like the buttermilk soaked one, some like seasoned flour, some do cornflakes crust and some even like them battered. What type of result are you trying to achieve? Fried chicken is comfort food in my family. I make it at least twice a week. After experimenting a bit, we decided on the final recipe. For this, I cut the chicken into eight pieces. Brine them for an hour. Rub a mix of chili and garlic inside the skin. We like it spicy. You can of course omit it if you don't want spicy. Then I pour a beaten egg over them to stick the flour. Drag them through seasoned four and drop them into the bubbling hot oil. I use a deep cast iron pan and at least 3 inch deep oil. Cook until olden brown, around 5-7 minutes each side. The skin is super crisp. The meat is juicy and never ever under cooked. We love this so much that we never order fried chicken while eating out. Sorry if I sound arrogant but I am really proud of my fried chicken.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: raisa

                                          you def do not sound arrogant. you have every right to be proud of such a good recipe. looking forward to trying it; tsm!

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            Thank you. Please let me know if you liked it or not.

                                          2. re: raisa

                                            I love a hot and spicy fried chicken! Ever tried Nashville style hot chicken? Finger lickin, fire breathing, deliciousness!

                                          3. My mother cooked perfect fried chicken, but I could never duplicate it until I heard the Lee brothers interview Ronni Lundy who wrote "Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken". There are lots of "secrets", but the main on is to get a 2½ - 3 pound chicken. You cannot make excellen fried chicken from a 4 pounder like the current grocers have. It needs frequent turning while cooking with the lid on. Finish it for 5 minutes with the lid off for crispiness.
                                            Ed Warren

                                            1. OK this is little work but, start you oil rather hot, then as soon as it starts browning turn the temp down to med and let it brown some more turning and then turn the temp again low and let the inside get done. Also, in Texas there is wide discussions about the oil, and some use Loann peanut, old times still use Chrisco and Yes...LARD. And, rule of oldtimers here is the skillet...should be iron. Also, double dipping with wet and dry is the key. Hope this help. Sorry I dont have the exact three temps, but just have to do it a few time to get it right.

                                              1. While not looking for a typical southern fried chicken recipe, this one looks to be right up my alley. Posting for anyone that's interested in trying a modified method for fried chicken, this seems like it would be crisp and flavorful without the added coating. Enjoyed reading the comments, will try this one soon:
                                                http://leitesculinaria.com/75752/reci...

                                                eta - one more that uses cornmeal in the flour for dredging, and lard:
                                                http://leitesculinaria.com/75694/reci...

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: lilgi

                                                  I'm book marking that page, going to try it the next time I have an old tough chicken to slaughter. Just will steam it until it's tender as opposed to barely done.

                                                  I'm from the south and nobody in my family ever put anything on chicken except salt, pepper and a light dredge of flour. Pan fry in Crisco.

                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                    I'm from the south and nobody in my family ever put anything on chicken except salt, pepper and a light dredge of flour. Pan fry in Crisco.
                                                    ~~~~~~~
                                                    Very good to know!

                                                    The steaming would be perfect for an old hen, good luck!

                                                2. I have a similar problem. I used Ree Drummond (aka Pioneer Woman)'s recipe last night. Soaked in buttermilk, and used a pretty thick coating of flour with a bit of the buttermilk mixed in. PW does a fry on the stovetop for a few minutes and finishes in the oven. I've had raw chicken before, so thought this would fix the problem. I read the reviews and people were getting a burnt crust, so I reduced the stovetop time from 5-7 minutes to 3-4 minuets. Crust was perfectly crunchy, but the skin did not adhere to it, so I had flabby skin underneath the crunchy crust. Chicken was cooked more, but still not great. I have a lot leftover, so I'm putting it in the oven for about 30 minutes tonight and gonna see what that does.

                                                  1. I struggled with fried chicken for a long time before a friend of mine showed me how to do it. She's been making fried chicken for about 40 years, and her family's originally from Kentucky. It turns out that it's pretty easy, and doesn't require any special techniques or equipment, even so much as a thermometer. Start to finish takes less than an hour. I've found this to make crispy, flavorful chicken with a moist interior, and everyone I've made it for has loved it.

                                                    -- Cut up a chicken (around 3-1/2 lbs. is fine) into ten pieces. This includes two legs, two thighs, two wings, and four breast pieces created by cutting each half of the breast into two pieces, each about the size of a thigh.

                                                    -- Put the chicken into a big bowl in the sink and wash well with copious amounts of white vinegar. Rinse well with cold water to get all the vinegar off, and pat each piece dry with paper towels.

                                                    -- Put the pieces on a cutting board, and sprinkle both sides liberally with a mix of salt, pepper, seasoned salt, and a little paprika. Onion powder, cayenne, or other spices may be added according to your preferences. You can mix the ingredients beforehand and keep them in one of those pizza restaurant cheese shakers, which makes the sprinkling much easier.

                                                    -- Coat the pieces with flour. My friend uses a medium-sized paper bag for this, but I put three or four scoops of flour into one of those glass containers with a locking plastic lid, and shake two pieces at a time. Shake off excess flour. Put the coated pieces onto a cooling rack over a cookie sheet and let them sit while you heat up the oil.

                                                    -- Get out a 12" pan, put it on the stove, and fill it with about 3/4" of canola oil. I know a lot of people swear by cast iron, but I prefer not to use it; because it's so difficult to regulate the temperature of a cast iron skillet, you run the very real risk of getting the cooking oil too hot, which can cause the chicken to burn on the outside while leaving the inside undercooked. So, I use my trusty old 12" Farberware frying pan, which has deep, straight sides, and which adjusts more quickly to changes in the flame.

                                                    -- Put the stove on high. Don't worry about measuring the oil temp; I just wait about seven minutes and sprinkle a little flour on the oil. If the flour dances, you're good to go.

                                                    -- Using tongs, put five pieces in the oil, meaty side down. It makes no difference which pieces, or where they're placed in the pan. Cover with a splatter screen. After a minute or so, wiggle the pieces a bit with the tongs to make sure they're not stuck to the bottom. Turn the temp down after a couple of minutes so that the chicken keeps frying along at a good clip but not so intensely that it's going to burn. Again, oil that's too hot is as bad for the chicken as oil that's too cold, so you've got to find that sweet spot right in the middle. After about seven minutes, check the underside of each piece, which should be a nice golden brown. Flip each piece and let cook for another seven minutes.

                                                    -- At this point (about 14-15 minutes), the chicken should be done. If you see some pieces floating before this time (usually wings), they're probably already done. To make sure that they're done, pierce each piece with a two-pronged meat fork. If it goes through easily, the piece is done. If you encounter resistance, the piece needs a little more time. Be careful not to fry the pieces too much longer than this; you don't want the chicken to be overcooked, and remember, the chicken is going to keep cooking for several minutes after you take it out of the pan. I pierce each piece with the meat fork, and if it goes through cleanly, I pull it right out with the fork. Let each piece rest on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet.

                                                    -- Repeat with the other five pieces. The pieces should rest for at least 10-15 minutes after being removed from the pan.

                                                    OK, now you've got fried chicken. Easy, simple, and delicious. Once you discover how easy it is, you'll want to make it all the time (which I guess might not be such a good thing).

                                                    Happy frying!

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: Margarets_Dad

                                                      What is the purpose of the vinegar wash?

                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                        That's the way my friend has always done it, because she claims that it gets the chicken cleaner, tightens up the skin, and washes away some of the gamey flavor and smell. My friend is African-American, and when we've discussed cooking with one of our mutual friends, who's also African-American, both of them have said that it's necessary, whenever cooking poultry, to wash it in white vinegar first, because it's better than water at removing germs.

                                                        There's a post on this topic here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/278783.

                                                      2. re: Margarets_Dad

                                                        that's interesting. most find using cast iron is EASIER to regular temperature because it retains heat so well. especially when deep frying where the chicken will decrease the temperature of the oil by so much. in my opinion, you just need patience while heating your pan and oil.

                                                        1. re: darrentran87

                                                          Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Cast iron definitely has its place, but I've fried chicken in both cast iron and Farberware, and I've consistently gotten better results with the Farberware. Plus, dealing with a cast-iron pan full of used oil is no picnic.

                                                          As I mentioned, I don't use a thermometer, so I don't know what the oil temperature is before I put the chicken in, after it's gone in, or at any time during the process. So I have no idea how much the oil temperature falls in Farberware versus cast iron, or whether that's even a major issue. Out of curiosity, maybe I'll throw a thermometer in there next time I make it to see what my oil temp is. I'm guessing it's well below 350.

                                                        2. re: Margarets_Dad

                                                          One: Why does the chicken need to be "cleaned" with the vinegar?
                                                          Two: If I use the high setting on my stove, the chicken will immediately burn - ? This has been a problem with several fried chicken recipes for me (with four different new stoves)

                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            Regarding the vinegar, please see my response to kengk above.

                                                            Regarding the high setting on the stove, I put it on high just to heat the oil up, and then keep it on high for a couple of minutes after I put the chicken in, before turning it down. It sounds like your oil is too hot, which may or may not be related to how high your stove is set. I only heat the oil on high for about 7-8 minutes.

                                                            1. re: Margarets_Dad

                                                              Seriously, 7-8 minutes would cause a fire! You must have a gas stove?

                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                Yes, it's a cheap gas stove.

                                                                1. re: Margarets_Dad

                                                                  I have gathered that there must be a difference between HIGH on gas vs. HIGH on electric. This is the only explanation ofttimes!

                                                        3. The NY Times Magazine ran a feature on frying chicken today, with a basic recipe and suggestions for many variations. See it at
                                                          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/mag...

                                                          1. Could be a bunch of things. You might get better advice if you can be more specific about how exactly you've been preparing this dish and what ways it has been falling short of being "done right"?

                                                            1. The only way my fried chicken turns out perfect is if I use Crisco just like mama taught me! I also like using an electric skillet because they are large and the temperature stays consistent.

                                                              1. Here is an article from the Toronto Star featuring an adapted home version of Stockyards fried chicken. One of my favourite fried chicken spots in Toronto but I haven't tried the recipe myself:
                                                                http://www.thestar.com/living/food/ar...

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: ylsf

                                                                  OK - I was the original poster of this thread...and I have read, experimented with your recipes, pans, skillets, fryers, etc.. I think I've got it... - the perfect fried chicken - and it took almost 14 months:

                                                                  Chicken: Yes, small pieces are better, however, hacking a chicken in your kitchen is a lot harder than the videos show you, the instructions tell you...and no matter how sharp your cleaver is - it kind of turns into a bit of a mess. This is why there are butchers. Even at Safeway or Ralph's there are real butcher's behind the counter. ASK THEM to chop it for you. They may give you the evil eye - but hey, would you want to stand behind a counter dealing with bloody meat and poultry?
                                                                  The REAL butchers, those who realize that their jobs are VERY important to anyone who cooks without Cream of Mushroom soup, will smile and even make suggestions.

                                                                  2) If the butcher refuses, simply buy the chicken parts you want..I prefer thighs, wings and legs.
                                                                  Try to buy packages that are least expensive - often these have smaller parts. Even so, you can work around this. Get what they have, go home, pour some wine and hope the kids don't come home too soon.

                                                                  3) Dump the chicken in a XXL Ziploc bag. No need to rinse. Pour in enough buttermilk to cover. Pour in a bottle of hot or chile sauce. Crystal, Frank's, whatever. Add 3 T cornstarch and 1 T baking powder. Yes, you read this correctly. I also like to add some white wine or sherry but no need to if you don't want..the buttermilk provides enough "fizz". Squeeze the ingredients around and Push out the air, fold it over and seal. Place in the fridge for 24 hours....not too much longer or it will get way to 'tenderized'. If you remember, try to toss the ingredients a few times throughout the 24 hours - or leave it alone. Your choice - but tossing and squeezing the chicken
                                                                  helps. Everyone.

                                                                  Take out the chicken, drain off as much liquid as you can, place on paper towels to soak up liquid from meat and skin (don't you dare cut away the skin!) Place in the fridge for awhile, if you have time to dry it out. OK - we're almost done.

                                                                  Shake in a large ziploc bag (people talk about paper bags, but, what's in there? If you can, try to steal some nice medium paper bags from the grocery store so you can dry out the skin even more once you toss it in the "magic mix".) Otherwise, use the Ziploc..no big deal. Avoid dry cleaning bags and garbage bags completely unless you seek revenge on your guests.

                                                                  The magic mix is:
                                                                  1 cup all purpose flour
                                                                  1/4 cup cornstarch
                                                                  1 T sweet paprika
                                                                  1T garlic powder
                                                                  2t Seasoned salt
                                                                  2t pepper
                                                                  2 t onion powder

                                                                  Shake the chicken in the flour and place on a rack placed in a pan. Heat the oven to 200 degrees - NO higher.

                                                                  Meanwhile, heat PEANUT oil in a fryer (as directions suggest) or pour into skillet ( IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE CAST IRON!). I have tried modern electric skillets, but the directions ( in spanish, french, german and romanian), which you can only read AFTER you have bought the skillet says "not to be used for frying". Huh? So I heat up about a half inch of peanut oil in the skillet to 350 degrees - and everything seems fine. Until about 8 minutes later when you hear this crackling sound from the skillet and you notice that the temp is going down, down, down. I wish I had kept my Mother's General Electric skillet from the late '50's. Now that pan knew what to do.

                                                                  So - heat the oil to 350...in a skillet or deep fat fryer. Lower in the chicken, skin side down- allowing for the space of the pan, and fry as slowly as you can without the chicken sitting in hot, non-bubbling oil. It's OK if the temp goes down to 300 - just use some tongs and peak. Do not let it get brown. Keep it light..it's probably going to take about 12 min. or so. Have an instant thermometer - if you have used thighs, etc. the temp should be about 150 degrees internally.
                                                                  Don't worry. The temp will go up as it rests. Keep it out of the oven for as long as possible. If it goes below room temp (doubtful - considering science), then go ahead and put it into the 200 degree oven. Try not to dry it out.

                                                                  And there it is.

                                                                  3)

                                                                  1. re: foodqueen1

                                                                    Good for you!

                                                                    Cutting up a chicken is actually pretty easy, tho. What seems to give you trouble?

                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                      I was thinking this exactly. You mentioned in the OP that you're a fairly advanced cook... what part of cutting up a chicken is hard?

                                                                    2. re: foodqueen1

                                                                      I've never had that problem doing fried chicken in my big old rectangular electric skillet, FWIW.

                                                                  2. I poach it for 20 minutes before frying. It's the only way I can get it to cook all the way through.