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Sep 30, 2012 09:27 PM

Thomas Keller's Fried Chicken

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:

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  1. 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. 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

        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 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

          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

            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.


          2. 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. 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

                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. 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)!