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Thomas Keller's Fried Chicken

s
Sam D. Sep 30, 2012 09:27 PM

I've had the recipe from the book, "Ad Hoc at Home" for some time. So far I have never used it but I'm considering making is soon. It requires a lot more work and time and higher cost of ingredients than most other fried chicken recipes. But that's no surprise, coming from a chef who is very exacting and never cuts corners. Has any one cooked fried chicken from this recipe? And, if so, was it worth all the effort, time and expense?

Here is a link to the recipe:
http://www.thekitchn.com/thomas-kelle...

  1. d
    darrentran87 Sep 30, 2012 10:10 PM

    havne't made it myself, but a friend has. he definitely didn't follow the advice given that said not to bring over 12 hours...

    the flavors were great, it's just my friend overbrined it leaving the chicken overly salty.

    1. ipsedixit Sep 30, 2012 10:18 PM

      Brining is quite often when making fried chicken. I even do a double-brine.

      But the recipe you link to isn't the famed Keller ad hoc fried chicken recipe because I think his fried chicken actually calls for a sous vide in addition to a brine, etc.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit
        g
        germanpotatosoup Sep 30, 2012 10:46 PM

        I have the book and cooked his fried chicken. There is absolutely no sous vide involved in any of his recipes in "Ad Hoc at Home". You must be thinking of "Under Pressure". His fried chicken recipe is from Ad Hoc.

        The recipe for the brine is incorrect. MY copy of Ad Hoc says it differently. At first glance, I thought your recipe was correct, just halved, but the proportions and directions are different after closer inspection. I gave this recipe out before since I loved it so much so im copying and pasting from an old post. Its not as exactly written in the book but its the same. Feel free to halve it.:

        the brine consists of 5 lemons halved, 12 bay leaves, 1 bunch parsley, 1 bunch thyme, 1/2 cup clover honey, 1 clove garlic (halved through the equator), 1/4 cup black peppercorns, 2 cups Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (you will have to weigh it if you use any other brand of Kosher salt...it should be 10 ounces). Add all of this to 2 gallons of water...Boil for 1 minute. Cool completely...and chill before using.
        Make sure to get 2 chickens (2.5-3 lbs. each. DO NOT GET BIGGER ONES. They wont cook as well at the temperatures this recipe demands and as Keller says, they offer optimal meat to crust proportions) Have the butcher cut it into 10 pieces. And refrigerate in the brine for NO MORE than 12 hours.

        The coating consists of 6 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup garlic powder, 1/4 cup onion powder, 1tbsp+1tsp paprika, 1tbsp+1tsp cayenne, 1tbsp+1tsp kosher salt, 1tsp black pepper. Divide this into 2 containers for dredging. Place 1 quart buttermilk into another container. Dredging order is flour mixture, buttermilk, flour mixture.

        Heat AT LEAST 2 inches of peanut oil to 320°F (temperature for thighs and drumsticks). Dredge thighs...fry for 2 minutes...move around..and fry for 11-12 minutes. Same for drumsticks. Place on cooling rack to drain. For all sprinkle fleur de sel de guerande immediately after frying. Increase temp to 340°F. Dredge breasts. Cook for 7 minutes. Dredge wings. Cook for 6 minutes. Place all chicken in a 400°F oven for 1-2 minutes to ensure hot and crispy chicken. Fry rosemary and thyme sprigs for a few seconds for garnish. I recommend serving this with Keller's buttermilk biscuits (AMAZING) and puree of garlic potatoes.

        I loved the chicken and didn't find it expensive as I usually have these ingredients at home. It was definitely more labor intensive with the added step of the brine but other than that, it was no more labor intensive than other fried chicken recipes. I would use canola oil instead of peanut oil to save some money. Peanut oil is like liquid gold. Im on a student budget so its painful to use it. Peanut oil is suggested as it doesn't burn as easily. I thought this recipe was worth it. Definitely one of my favorites.

        1. re: germanpotatosoup
          s
          Sam D. Oct 1, 2012 10:11 AM

          Thanks for posting the original recipe. I assumed the one I had was authentic but it isn't. It looks like the brine ingredients were cut in half to make 1 gallon instead of the 2 gallons called for in the original recipe. The coating mix was also cut in half.

          1. re: germanpotatosoup
            j
            JErix Jan 21, 2013 02:02 PM

            Not to be picky, but, the recipe in the book calls for 24 bay leaves, not 12, and, 1 head of garlic, halved at the equator, not 1 clove. Otherwise the brine ingredients are spot on.

            Cheers.

          2. re: ipsedixit
            d
            Dirtywextraolives Oct 6, 2012 08:27 PM

            Me too. No sous vide required.

          3. s
            sean907 Sep 30, 2012 10:27 PM

            I've used his recipe many times- with a variation. It is not as much work as it seems, with brining the only main difference between TKs chicken and your standard recipe. My variation is that I do not use the lemon in the brine- a personal preference. I also generally do not use the more expensive peanut oil. Besides heating the brine and waiting for it to chill the recipe is standard- seasoned flour, a liquid (buttermilk for TK) and frying. I think the brine is worth the trouble and something that is good to be familiar with for poultry dishes. Try it!

            1. maria lorraine Sep 30, 2012 10:37 PM

              It's the best fried chicken I've ever had. Each extra touch or ingredient or technique adds incremental flavor. All those increments combined add up to to big difference in flavor. If you want that level of flavor, you follow the recipe.

              That said, there are some shortcuts and there are things you must do. The critical parts of the recipe are the salt brine (you don't need all the other ingredients in the brine, but they help create flavor), good quality chickens, the flavor of the coating and good adhesion, and the peanut oil at the proper frying temperature.

              To save money, you can let the oil cool, strain and re-use it. That's what I do.

              1 Reply
              1. re: maria lorraine
                hotoynoodle Oct 1, 2012 09:40 AM

                best fried chicken i've ever made and my friends said it was the best they ever had. i too changed some ingredients in the brine and the coating, but agree the steps for technique should be followed for best results. it's not hard, it just requires planning and sufficient time.

                that being said, i don't own a deep fryer so frying chicken is a big pita, don't know when i will bother again.

              2. j
                janniecooks Oct 1, 2012 01:01 AM

                Here's a link to a previous thread in which the same thing is discussed. Why, that thread even has the same title as this thread (though perhaps not posing the same question)!

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/561124

                1. j
                  j8715 Oct 1, 2012 06:40 AM

                  If I were to make it again (I won't be) I would use much less onion and garlic powder. The brine recipe is good though.

                  Sometimes I think folks like Keller are trying to make things hard.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: j8715
                    Caroline1 Oct 6, 2012 07:56 PM

                    It isn't Thomas Keller's recipe. It's Dave Cruz's recipe, and he is the Chef de Cuisine at Thomas Keller's "Ad Hoc" restaurant. Just for the record.

                  2. chowser Oct 1, 2012 09:55 AM

                    We rarely make fried chicken but decided if we were going to that we'd start w/ a great recipe. This was excellent fried chicken. I can't say if it's worth the effort from others since we don't have a regular recipe.

                    1. emily Oct 3, 2012 09:16 AM

                      Has anyone who has tried the TK recipe tried the Bon Appetit one, as well?
                      http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201...

                      I've haven't made TK's recipe, but I have eaten it at Ad Hoc twice and we thought the BA was better.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: emily
                        flourgirl Oct 7, 2012 08:42 AM

                        I haven't tried the TK recipe yet. But I did make the BA recipe, we loved it, it was quite easy, and for the few times a year I make fried chicken, I'll stick with that one. One of the big pluses for me, besides the flavor, was that the technique involves using a lot less oil, it was so much easier, hardly any oil to dispose of, so easier clean up etc.

                      2. maria lorraine Oct 6, 2012 07:11 PM

                        I was wondering what other TK Fried Chicken cooks thought about the peanut oil.

                        To my palate, it makes a critical difference in the flavor of the fried chicken. Like the huge difference between frying French Fries in safflower oil (or other oil) and peanut oil. The flavor is so much better with peanut oil.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: maria lorraine
                          Caroline1 Oct 6, 2012 07:59 PM

                          I always use peanut oil for frying, regardless of what a recipe calls for. On certain specific dishes, I may use olive oil, but not for frying chicken! '-)

                        2. Caroline1 Oct 6, 2012 07:52 PM

                          I just read the recipe, and the ONLY way I would consider using it is if I was willing to pay the going rate for organically raised chicken I bought from the chicken farmer a half hour after he finished cleaning and plucking the critter! I don't do that.. Pheasant is cheaper! But unless you buy very expensive chicken, most "super market" chicken comes injected or treated with water, stock, or whatever, which basically boils down to "pre-brined.:"

                          BUT...!

                          You can get marvelous fried chicken with the store-bought kind that will be very similar to the results of the recipe. Simply dry the chicken well, put it in a bowl and pour the buttermilk over the chicken. Make sure it is covered. Let it rest in the refrigerator for several hours (even over night), then bring everything back to room temperature. Ready your seasoned flour. Heat your oil. Dredge the chicken in the flour and fry it as per the recipe. You will get a medium coating with one dip in the flour before frying. If you want a really thick coating, then take the chicken from the buttermilk marinade, coat with seasoned flour, dip back into buttermilk marinade, then coat with seasoned flour again and fry.

                          Other than the fancy schmancy brining, that's a pretty standard buttermilk fried chicken recipe. And buttermilk fried chicken is ALWAYS sensational! And just for the record, the long soak in buttermilk tenderizes the chicken, which only helps make the finished product all the more delectable!

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: Caroline1
                            maria lorraine Oct 6, 2012 08:00 PM

                            Do you think the air-drying for two hours on a rack after the dredging (part of the recipe) creates more crispiness?

                            1. re: maria lorraine
                              d
                              Dirtywextraolives Oct 6, 2012 08:25 PM

                              Absolutely.....

                              1. re: maria lorraine
                                Caroline1 Oct 6, 2012 08:26 PM

                                I truly doubt it simply because it only gives the buttermilk and flour more time to become doughy, Air drying the chicken between brining and the buttermilk bath might have some impact on ultimate crispness, but I doubt even that. What's your idea, or am I all alone in doubting Thomas? (Yes, pun intended.) '-)

                                1. re: Caroline1
                                  maria lorraine Oct 6, 2012 09:57 PM

                                  The air drying after the dredging solidifies and hardens the crust, when then becomes more crispy when fried. At least in my estimation. The air drying probably contributes to adhesion also.

                                  OK to doubt. You've got a lot of wisdom and many years of cooking to draw from.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine
                                    Caroline1 Oct 7, 2012 03:50 AM

                                    SOMEDAY -- very low priority -- it would be interesting to do a side by side comparison, but I do refuse to add chicken to a 1.5 gallon capacity saute pan containing 1.25 gallons of hellishly hot oil, spatter acreen or no! IMO, that does not allow enough room for displacement when you add the chicken, and I'm not fond of burns. WhIich only makes me wonder how many non-cooking writers have "polished" the recipe since it left Chef Cruz's hand? We may never know, but I never ever fill any vessel I'll be deep frying in more than 2/3rds full of oil, and that's pushing it. He's calling for a 5/6ths ratio. I don't think any sane chef would call for that. Or maybe it's one of those "haute" recipes intended for reading only?

                                    1. re: Caroline1
                                      g
                                      germanpotatosoup Oct 7, 2012 04:51 AM

                                      Wait...are you referring to the Ad Hoc recipe when you talk about the amount of oil??? (sorry...when you said Chef Cruz, I was thrown off but I assume you are speaking about the Chef Dave Cruz of Ad Hoc) The book actually instructs you to use a large pot at least 6"deep and that you should never fill a pot more than one-third of the way up the sides with oil. Im very confused as to where you got that 5/6 proportion from unless you're talking about some other recipe.

                                      1. re: Caroline1
                                        maria lorraine Oct 7, 2012 09:11 AM

                                        Only 2 inches of peanut oil in a 6-inch pan is what the recipe says.

                                        1. re: maria lorraine
                                          b
                                          bear Oct 7, 2012 09:31 AM

                                          I use my Dutch oven and the high sides help to minimize splattering. It's still a bit messy, though, but so worth it.

                                          1. re: maria lorraine
                                            Caroline1 Oct 7, 2012 10:16 AM

                                            I admit to ONLY reading the recipe and directions, as in the ingredients list, etc., and NOT the chatter that precedes and/or follows it. And this is pretty much how I read all on-line recipes.
                                            .
                                            At the top of the recipe he specifies:

                                            "Tool:
                                            6 quart sauté pan with splatter screen"

                                            Then in the ingredients list he specifies:

                                            "10 cups peanut oil"

                                            No matter how you slice it, that comes to a 5/6ths ratio of oil to pan volume. Then again, in the directions for the recipe he states: "Bring the peanut oil to 330˚F in the 6 quart sauté pan.". That's pretty clear to me!

                                            I RARELY read all of the chatter that precedes or follows an actual recipe, and feel very strongly that if you don't intend people to fill a pan more than 2/3rds (or whatever) full of oil, then you'd better make that clear in the recipe, because if I had cut and pasted this recipe only and sent it to a friend, and if that friend followed it to the letter, as some cooks are wont to do, I would fear for the safety of my friend!

                                            I find this recipe seriously flawed. In addition, I can't find any directions in the actual recipe that say to air dry the chicken for any amount of time prior to frying. He only instructs the reader to set the dredged chicken on a parchment lined sheet tray while preparing the flour, buttermilk, and oil prior to frying. Chef Cruz's words (presumably):

                                            "Just before frying, dip each piece of chicken into the coating, patting off the excess, then into the buttermilk and back into the coating. Place the chicken on a parchment lined sheet tray.

                                            When the oil has reached the proper temperature, carefully lower the pieces of dark meat into the oil. The temperature of the oil will decrease. Adjust the heat as necessary to bring the oil to proper temperature. Fry the dark meat for about 13 minutes, to a deep golden brown, cooked throughout and very crisp. Remove the chicken to a tray lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt."

                                            Nothing there about air drying for twenty minutes! AND... If I wanted the chicken air dried before frying, I would elevate it on a cake cooling rack to allow air to circulate beneath it! So, based on the recipe alone, I would say he doesn't intend 20 minutes of air drying before frying. I honestly can't see how that would gain anything, beyond gummy flour prior to frying. In that case, why not simply mix the flour and buttermilk into a batter, and save 20 minutes?

                                            Sorry to be such a stickler, but if something is not included in the recipe, I don't want to spend a lot of time trying to read the writer's mind. I HOPE this doesn't make me a bad person! '-)

                                            1. re: Caroline1
                                              maria lorraine Oct 7, 2012 10:17 AM

                                              I don't know what you're reading but it's not the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken recipe I have.

                                              Here's the text from the recipe:
                                              "If you have two large pots (about 6 inches deep) and a lot of oil, you can cook the dark and white meat at the same time; if not, cook the dark meat first, then turn up the heat and cook the white meat. No matter what size pot you have, the oil should not come more than one-third of the way up the sides of the pot. Fill the pot with at least 2 inches of peanut oil and heat to 320°F. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper."

                                              1. re: maria lorraine
                                                Caroline1 Oct 7, 2012 10:37 AM

                                                It appears there may be more than one version of the Ad Hoc Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe floating around! Here is a cut and past of the recipe from the website the OP gives above. It says,

                                                "Ad Hoc’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken
                                                Yield: 16 pieces

                                                Tool:
                                                6 quart sauté pan with splatter screen

                                                Ingredients:
                                                Two-2 1/2 pound chickens

                                                Brine:
                                                1 gallon water
                                                1 cup kosher salt
                                                1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
                                                12 bay leaves
                                                1/2 cup garlic cloves, skin left on, smashed
                                                2 tablespoons black peppercorns
                                                About 1/2 ounce (3 large) rosemary sprigs
                                                About 1/2 ounce (1 large bunch) thyme sprigs
                                                About 2 ounces (1 large bunch) flat leafed parsley sprigs
                                                Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons

                                                Coating:
                                                3 cups all purpose flour
                                                2 tablespoons garlic powder
                                                2 tablespoons onion powder
                                                2 teaspoons paprika
                                                2 teaspoons cayenne
                                                2 teaspoons kosher salt
                                                ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

                                                1 quart buttermilk
                                                10 cups peanut oil
                                                Kosher salt

                                                Rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnishing

                                                Directions:
                                                For the brine: Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using.

                                                Rinse the chickens and place the chickens in the cold brine and refrigerate overnight or for up to 12 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat the chicken dry, removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin. With a knife and pair of kitchen shears, cut the chicken up into 8 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breast halves and 2 wings.

                                                For the coating: Mix the coating ingredients together in a bowl and place the buttermilk in a second container.

                                                Bring the peanut oil to 330˚F in the 6 quart sauté pan.

                                                Just before frying, dip each piece of chicken into the coating, patting off the excess, then into the buttermilk and back into the coating. Place the chicken on a parchment lined sheet tray.

                                                When the oil has reached the proper temperature, carefully lower the pieces of dark meat into the oil. The temperature of the oil will decrease. Adjust the heat as necessary to bring the oil to proper temperature. Fry the dark meat for about 13 minutes, to a deep golden brown, cooked throughout and very crisp. Remove the chicken to a tray lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

                                                Carefully add the white meat to the oil and fry for about 6 to 7 minutes until cooked.
                                                Remove to the tray, sprinkle with salt and turn off the heat under the oil.

                                                Let the chicken rest for a few minutes to cool slightly.

                                                While the chicken rests, add the herb sprigs to the hot oil and let them cook and crisp for a few minutes. Arrange the chicken on the serving platter and garnish with the fried herb sprigs."

                                                So how do we figure out which one of us is right and which one of us is wrong? Maybe it's a draw, but readers are the losers when so many different versions of what most will assume is the same recipe are floating around. We're victimized....!!! '-)

                                              2. re: Caroline1
                                                r
                                                rasputina Oct 7, 2012 11:52 AM

                                                At the top of the recipe he specifies:

                                                "Tool:
                                                6 quart sauté pan with splatter screen"

                                                Then in the ingredients list he specifies:

                                                "10 cups peanut oil"

                                                No matter how you slice it, that comes to a 5/6ths ratio of oil to pan volume.

                                                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                What? 10 cups is 2 1/2 quarts. That is not 5/6ths ratio in a 6 quart pan. If we break this down into cups we are talking 10 cups of oil in a pan that holds 24 cups. That is not even 50%

                                                Your math is off.

                                                1. re: rasputina
                                                  Caroline1 Oct 7, 2012 03:29 PM

                                                  LOL! My math is not "off." It is disastrously derailed! My sincere apologies to all, and now I'm going to go check out how well I balanced my checkbook this morning. Crossing my fingers...!

                                              3. re: maria lorraine
                                                Caroline1 Oct 7, 2012 10:25 AM

                                                No 2 inches of oil if you're talking about the TK/Cruz recipe the OP cites!

                                                1. re: Caroline1
                                                  maria lorraine Oct 7, 2012 11:11 AM

                                                  As mentioned upthread, the OP recipe is not the original Ad Hoc recipe.

                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                    maria lorraine Oct 7, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                    It was clear from the thread early on that the OP recipe was not the actual Ad Hoc recipe. Thought you caught that.

                                                    Here is the recipe, from Amazon, listed with the book:
                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Ad-Hoc-Home-Tho...

                                                    Also, if you're talking about the OP recipe, which is an adaptation, the proportion of oil to pan is 10 cups to 24 cups or 5/8. Again, this is not the 1/3 ratio recommended by the original recipe (2 inches in a 6-inch pan). But your concern for safety when frying is noted.

                                                    1. re: Caroline1
                                                      g
                                                      germanpotatosoup Oct 7, 2012 02:24 PM

                                                      I hate it when bloggers post incorrect recipes. It only leads to blame on the author when something goes wrong when it wasn't the author but the blogger who was at fault. Then other bloggers find that incorrect AND incomplete recipe and post it up themselves. It really isn't the author's fault when variations of a recipe exist online. The author has no control over that. Unfortunately, many people hear good things about a book and look for freebies online. When you do that, you are gambling on whether the blogger posted the correct directions or not. But dont blame the author when you run into problems and have questions.

                                                      Anywhos, I have my book open in front of me know rather than working from memory. It DOES say to let the chicken airdry and let it rest for 1 1/2 hours. AND it does state that a 6 inch deep pot should be used and the oil shouldn't come up more than 1/3 of the way. ALL OF THIS is within the actual recipe and not in the chatter before or after. Just wanted to add that the one's responsible for the writing within the cookbook are Susie Heller, Michael Ruhlman (wonderful author!!!), and Amy Vogler. They are the ones who put the chefs thoughts into words and I honestly believe they've done a great job at it. There is no trying to guess what is on the chef's mind as the recipes are very thorough.

                                                      Working from the ACTUAL published recipe, I had all questions answered. I was even told how big my chickens should be and that they should be 2.5-3 lbs each. They even stressed that after cooking, you should let them rest skin side up.The book also instructs you to use the BEST ingredients available. You mentioned that chicken that isn't organic tends to be "pre-brined". Well the book doesn't want you to use that chicken, they want you to buy that nice organic, cage free, free-range chicken. Dont want to use it??? Interested in saving? Think the recipes are too complicated and want to simplify by skipping the brine or cooking everything in the same pot? Im sorry to say this, but you have no business in using this book or the recipes in it. Keller is all about getting the best flavor possible through the best ingredients available and incredibly detailed and notoriously tedious sounding procedures. This is a man who believes that your vegetables for chicken pot pie should cook in separate pots,pearl onions in one, carrots in another, potatoes in another. He pays so much attention to detail that he even goes so far to describe the shape into which carrots should be cut. You described this recipe as a pretty standard buttermilk fried chicken. Yes...but they actually say that what differentiates this buttermilk fried chicken from other fried chicken is the brine which you seem to view as not that essential as one can simply soak in buttermilk and get results just as good. I think its relevant here to say "Dont knock it before you try it." Im pretty sure that to most people, his buttermilk fried chicken wasn't the first they tried. I've tried other buttermilk chicken recipes using the techniques you described and can say that they do not compare. The brine is what makes the ad hoc chicken so famous and sets it apart from other recipes. Without the brine...it just a standard buttermilk fried chicken...with it...its Ad Hoc buttermilk fried chicken.

                                                      I am not trying to be offensive. Just stressing what is important when cooking from any Thomas Keller book.

                                                      1. re: germanpotatosoup
                                                        d
                                                        Dirtywextraolives Oct 7, 2012 03:30 PM

                                                        Well said.

                                                        1. re: germanpotatosoup
                                                          Caroline1 Oct 7, 2012 04:05 PM

                                                          I aree with all you say. I am also a fairly experienced cook who is not unfamiliar with Thomas Keller, or what his standards are. I can, and occasionally do, cook at that level. But I can also promise you that I cannot envision an occasion when I would consider making this recipe for guests, or for myself alone. Fried chicken at the price of caviar (slight hyperbole, or no hyperbole at all?) holds no appeal for me, but I have no problem when others make this choice. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for all things chicken back when chicken farmers decided to raise critters that never scratch the ground.

                                          2. re: Caroline1
                                            hotoynoodle Oct 7, 2012 12:31 PM

                                            here in new england i have no trouble buying birds and other meats that are not injected or swimming in solutions. that being said i don't often "wet-brine" because of space considerations. when i made the ad hoc version i did adjust seasonings added to the brine.

                                            and i agree that the air-drying makes a huge difference in end crispiness.

                                          3. d
                                            Dirtywextraolives Oct 6, 2012 08:25 PM

                                            Yes, yes, and yes.....

                                            I have the book. I've made the recipe and was generally pleased. My only change would have been to air dry the chicken before the dredging, since the skin was a little too soft and flaccid; and I would have liked it to be a bit drier under the crust.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                              maria lorraine Oct 6, 2012 09:58 PM

                                              Good idea. That harkens back to Julia Child, who also said to blot the meat before searing (otherwise it won't brown).

                                              1. re: maria lorraine
                                                d
                                                Dirtywextraolives Oct 6, 2012 10:17 PM

                                                Yes, she was truly a Master Chef..... Will be trying it again soon.

                                            2. b
                                              bear Oct 7, 2012 08:52 AM

                                              I also agree that it is the best fried chicken I've ever had, and certainly the best I've made. I've made it several times and followed the recipe as written. The brine is incredibly flavorful and balanced, and the coating is delicious. I follow the halved recipe posted here, but make an extra 1/2 recipe of the coating since it gets pretty sparse toward the end and I don't like to skimp.

                                              Do be careful to use a thermometer and keep the oil around 320. The first time I made it, I had the oil around 350 and the first batch burned.

                                              It's totally worth the effort and the leftovers are great.

                                              1. charles_sills Oct 7, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                im very partial to the good eats/alton brown fried chicken. it basically amounts to soaking chicken in buttermilk overnight, then seasoning the chicken itself, not the flower. as to not burn the pepper and to get it seasoned well. then dredge. do not rest the dredged chicken or it will get gummy. pan fry in cast iron using vegatable shortening. breast towards the center, two thighs next, then put your drumsticks on the outside. if i remember it takes 20 minutes or so of frying. sooooooooo good.

                                                1. c
                                                  caviar_and_chitlins Oct 7, 2012 11:10 AM

                                                  The recipe from the cookbook is probably the best fried chicken I've ever made. It was delicious, crispy, and flavorful. I highly recommend it.

                                                  1. f
                                                    foufou Oct 22, 2012 10:35 AM

                                                    have used the brine recipe often for these infrequent times that I fry chicken and love the way the aromatics permeate the chicken....I skip the buttermilk just as a matter of personal preference

                                                    1. o
                                                      observor Nov 27, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                      I just made Thomas Keller's fried chicken recipe and I was disappointed to find that it did come out quite dark...it was darker than the fried chicken pictured in the cookbook. I used a thermometer, so I know the oil temperature was right. I followed his cooking times. I had a good pot. My chickens were a smidgen larger than the 2.5-3 pound weight...they were 3.3 pounds. In the end, they were, what I would say was, overcooked. They are delicious, but I would say the overcookedness detracted from the taste. They were a full on auburn color, not golden brown. Disappointing, because the chicken takes a long time to prepare.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: observor
                                                        b
                                                        bear Nov 27, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                        Bummer. I had the same experience the first batch I made, but fortunately had made plenty so I could lower the temperature to between 310-320. I also realized that he says to pan-fry, and not deep fry. I deep-fried at 350 at first and that was too high.

                                                        What temp did you fry at? I've seen everything from 320-350.

                                                        1. re: bear
                                                          d
                                                          Dirtywextraolives Nov 27, 2012 07:08 PM

                                                          Agree. Even if your temp matches that of the recipe, you still have to use your own eyes to determine whether the heats too high for your pan or not. It's a non exact science unless you have the exact same conditions as the recipe did when written, which is pretty damn near impossible.

                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                            o
                                                            observor Nov 28, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                            I see. Perhaps the heat was too high because I was using a smaller pan. It was an All-Clad 6 qt. stockpot. He talks about using a deep pot of six inches, so maybe that is why you need higher heat.

                                                      2. n
                                                        Noice Apr 27, 2013 11:42 AM

                                                        I am making this recipe now for the first time -- brine is cooling in fridge. I see that he says the two gallons are good for 10#. So, I take it I am cleared to place three 3# chickens in the brine without any modifications, right?

                                                        Does it then follow that the flour mixture and buttermilk quantities will be good for the three chickens?

                                                        I apologize if this abundantly clear. It's just that I am cooking for a crowd, and I am already nearly $100.00 deep into this recipe, don't have the book, and want to make sure I don't screw it all up.

                                                        Thanks.

                                                        Noice

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Noice
                                                          b
                                                          bear Apr 27, 2013 02:19 PM

                                                          I would make another 1/2 batch of the flour mixture and keep it separate in case you need it because I remember running low one time and having to whip it up at the last minute.

                                                          If you have too much, you can always save it and make chicken sandwiches (a la Popeyes or Wendy's) with boneless breasts another time.

                                                          I think you'll be all set with the brine. Good luck! and remember to heed the warnings. I deep fried the chicken and ended up lowering the heat to between 310-320 and that worked well. Any higher and it got too brown.

                                                          1. re: bear
                                                            n
                                                            Noice Apr 28, 2013 08:27 AM

                                                            Thank you very much. I will heed appropriately!

                                                        2. s
                                                          sandylc Aug 19, 2013 02:19 PM

                                                          I made it yesterday. While it was enjoyed by all, we did agree that we preferred our fried chicken "less flavored up". It was good, but not as delicious as more straight-forward versions. I do like to brine my chicken first, but generally with just a salt/sugar/water bath. And fewer seasonings in the flour, as well.

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