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  #1  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:11 AM
Liberal Liberal is offline
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Southern fried chicken - egg wash before or after flour coating?

There seems to be controversy over this. I believe that Paula Dean flours her chicken first and then dips it in the egg wash (and then maybe flours it again, I'm not sure.) But the Thirty Minute Lady (whose name escapes me at the moment) I think dips hers in the egg wash first and then flour (and spices and seasonings, of course.) And then there's my sister who uses no egg bath at all.

So is there an expert on here who could opine, please?

Also, I presume the egg bath (if used) should be lightly beaten (to dissolved the yolk) or is it egg whites onely?

Thanks very much for any help you can be. I have until this afternoon to find out the answer. I will be using boneless skinless chicken breasts fried in about 3/8" canola oil.
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:23 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel, dip in the egg batter, and then flour and seasonings. Otherwise it washes off.

And don't let the chicken sit too long before frying - it lets the flour get gummy and gross.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #3  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:24 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Flour-eggwash-flour again.

You can skip the first flouring if you want, but you still flour last. Flouring twice willl give you a thicker, crispier breading.

For boneless breasts, pound them flat and soak them in buttermilk first (at least 1/2 and hour if you can, a couple of hours is better).
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:26 AM
Claire Beauchamp Claire Beauchamp is offline
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Native Georgian here ... As you've seen, there are multiple ways to do it. It's not a "controversy" just multiple methods. I haven't seen the Paula recipe you are talking about but when it comes to any classic Southern dish her recipe is going to be reliable. I would imagine that her method is flour, then egg, then flour -- I can't imagine her frying something where the outer coating is egg only. Having a base of flour on the chicken helps the egg stick better than if you just do egg then flour. Nothing really wrong with the latter, though. A lot of people do the first coat of flour then place the chicken pieces on a rack and refrigerate for a bit. This lets the flour dry out and really adhere.

Having said that, flour only is what I grew up with at home. It's simply a different kind of crust than if you use egg.

As for the egg, you could use whites only if you wish, but typical is whole egg. Yes, you beat the egg until it's well mixed and broken up, even if you use whites only.
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  #5  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:27 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Quote:
is it egg whites onely
Use whole eggs, beat them and mix them with a little bit of water or milk (or buttermilk). Don't use a lot of liquid, just enough to thin it about a bit -- maybe about a quarter cup of liquid to two or three eggs.
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  #6  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:29 AM
Dolores Reborn Dolores Reborn is offline
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Texan here - flour, egg mixture (a couple of eggs beaten with a spash of milk or water) - then flour again. I season the chicken naked, and I also season the flour.
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  #7  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:29 AM
lexi lexi is offline
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For me, it is flour, egg wash, flour again - same as for breading anything else - the first wash of flour traps the moisture on the meat or veg so the egg will stick, and then bread crumbs or flour after the egg for the crispiness.
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  #8  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:39 AM
Labdad Labdad is offline
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Neither my mother (Georgia) nor my grandmother (Tennessee) used an egg wash of any kind for their fried chicken, and neither do I. Following their lead, I season flour with salt and black pepper (LOTS of black paper!). Said flour goes into a brown paper bag. Cut-up chicken is washed and patted dry and placed in the brown paper bag. Bag is then shaken and turned until the chicken is coated with seasoned flour. Chicken is then put in a cast iron skillet in which equal parts shortening and butter (or even better lard and butter) have been heated to 385 degrees and the fat is 1/4 inch deep. Brown ten minutes on each side. Turn only once. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low. Cook 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. To crisp it up, uncover the skillet and increase heat for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Turn as needed to keep from burning.

Forget soaking chicken pieces first in milk, buttermilk, lemon juice or vinegar and forget dipping chicken in beaten egg and then coating it with bread, cracker or cereal crumbs. Many delicious chicken dishes are made with lots of other seasonings and coatings, but they should not be mistaken for REAL SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:46 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Please. My mother's family has been in the South since before the Civil War. If my great grandmother's buttermilk chicken wasn't "real Southern chicken," then nothing is.
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  #10  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:49 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
Use whole eggs, beat them and mix them with a little bit of water or milk (or buttermilk). Don't use a lot of liquid, just enough to thin it about a bit -- maybe about a quarter cup of liquid to two or three eggs.
WAY too much milk, IMHO. A tablespoon at most is sufficient, whether using as a wash or making scrambled eggs.
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  #11  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:55 AM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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WAY too much milk, IMHO. A tablespoon at most is sufficient, whether using as a wash or making scrambled eggs.
I'm sure you're right. I never actually measure it myself. I just put in a little dribble. I was guessing at the amount.
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  #12  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:00 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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As Labdad wrote, neither. Egg doesn't go on before, after or during. Not in any branch of my southern fried family. (North and South Georgia). Also note complete absence of milk.
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Last edited by AHunter3; 08-18-2009 at 12:01 PM..
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  #13  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:14 PM
Liberal Liberal is offline
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Oh, dear Lord, I'm torn now. What to do. What to do.
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  #14  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:19 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Use an eggwash. Trust me. Flour alone will not stick to boneless skinless chicken breasts. This stuff about what's really authentic southern chicken is nonsense. Frying chicken in flour alone was born of poverty and scarcity, not culinary superiority.
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  #15  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:22 PM
Liberal Liberal is offline
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And I imagine skin, too. I'm sure there must be a difference of technique with skin and bone on versus skin and bone off. (Not to mention the injection of chicken stock in modern grocery store chicken.)

ETA: Plus, I'm adding a bit of corn meal. Anything wrong with that?

One more thing. With your great-grandmother's method, do you pat dry the chicken after the buttermilk soak?

Last edited by Liberal; 08-18-2009 at 12:25 PM..
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  #16  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:33 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Originally Posted by Liberal View Post
ETA: Plus, I'm adding a bit of corn meal. Anything wrong with that?
No, that's fine. It gives it a little extra texture and crunch, but if you double flour (something I recommend for skinless breasts), use flour alone for the first dredge.

What I usually do (and I was a professional cook for ten years, and made a ton of this stuff) is set up three bins or trays. One with plain flour, one with egg wash, and one with seasoned flour. The last one is where you want to put the cornmeal.

One more tip. Give your oil time to heat up again between batches while you're frying. Frying one batch cools the oil a little. If you put another in straight after, it won't be hot enough to create the crispy seal, and it will just lay in the oil and get soggy. Wait like 5-10 minutes until it's back up to temp.
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  #17  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:35 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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One more thing. With your great-grandmother's method, do you pat dry the chicken after the buttermilk soak?
Yes, The buttermilk is a tenderizer, so it will have done it's work, but you don't have to get it bone dry. You just don't want it drippy.
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  #18  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:00 PM
Mr. Moto Mr. Moto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
Use an eggwash. Trust me. Flour alone will not stick to boneless skinless chicken breasts. This stuff about what's really authentic southern chicken is nonsense. Frying chicken in flour alone was born of poverty and scarcity, not culinary superiority.
Boneless skinless breasts? That's for kids and dieters.

I'm agnostic on the subject of the egg wash - I've cooked good chicken both ways. But true Southern-style chicken is just that - the chicken, cut up and fried. And leaving the skin on is generally considered to add a considerable amount of flavor, especially to those parts that need it, like the breasts.
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Old 08-18-2009, 01:03 PM
Mr. Moto Mr. Moto is offline
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Also, since I generally don't keep buttermilk around, I typically use sour milk instead. And I make it the way my grandma did - by adding a little vinegar to milk to sour it up.
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  #20  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:07 PM
chrisk chrisk is online now
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Not southern-fried, but my (Northern) mom's recipe for breaded chicken:

First 'bath' - flour, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Second 'bath' - a whole beaten egg with a small amount (maybe half teaspoon) of partly skimmed milk
Third 'bath' - Crumbled crackers or crumbled dry bread.

You covered the surface with all three layers, in order. This was for boneless skinless breasts. After breading, fry with a small amount of vegetable oil in the frying pan.

Still makes my mouth water a bit to think about that chicken - maybe I should make up a batch myself some weekend soon.

Last edited by chrisk; 08-18-2009 at 01:08 PM..
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  #21  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:10 PM
Claire Beauchamp Claire Beauchamp is offline
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Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
Use an eggwash. Trust me. Flour alone will not stick to boneless skinless chicken breasts. This stuff about what's really authentic southern chicken is nonsense. Frying chicken in flour alone was born of poverty and scarcity, not culinary superiority.
And so was using cuts of meat like ribs. Just because something is economical doesn't make it worthless. As I said earlier, the two techniques are simply different and will result in different types of crust. Neither is "better" than the other. Unless you're a snob.

And why is trying to find out an authentic regional technique "nonsense?" I agree that some people can be way too pendantic about the topic, but that doesn't mean any and all discussion is silly. Please.
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  #22  
Old 08-18-2009, 05:37 PM
Liberal Liberal is offline
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I appreciate everybody's contributions. I've decided to use the plain flour, then egg bath, then flour/corn meal/seasonings after first seasoning the chicken. I'm going to forego the buttermilk because the chicken has already been injected with chicken stock. (I'm thinking that's what it means by "Containing up to 10% of a Solution".) And there'll only be two. It's just the wife and I. Again, thanks everyone.

(My seasonings, besides salt and pepper, in the final covering include a pinch of sugar, paprika, dried rosemary from our own garden, and a rather generous amount of sage.)
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  #23  
Old 08-18-2009, 07:10 PM
Liberal Liberal is offline
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Damn, that was some goooooood chicken!
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  #24  
Old 08-19-2009, 08:40 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
Flour-eggwash-flour again.

You can skip the first flouring if you want, but you still flour last. Flouring twice willl give you a thicker, crispier breading.

For boneless breasts, pound them flat and soak them in buttermilk first (at least 1/2 and hour if you can, a couple of hours is better).
I always flour first. It helps the egg stick to the chicken better.
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  #25  
Old 08-19-2009, 10:53 AM
Eugene of Sandwich Eugene of Sandwich is offline
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Nuther Georgian here.

Salt & pepper. Flour. Hot, hot, hot oil. Turn once, lower heat and cover til done. Put the b'milk in the biscuits.
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  #26  
Old 08-19-2009, 11:03 AM
Captain Carrot Captain Carrot is offline
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Originally Posted by Claire Beauchamp View Post
And so was using cuts of meat like ribs. Just because something is economical doesn't make it worthless. As I said earlier, the two techniques are simply different and will result in different types of crust. Neither is "better" than the other. Unless you're a snob.

And why is trying to find out an authentic regional technique "nonsense?" I agree that some people can be way too pedantic about the topic, but that doesn't mean any and all discussion is silly. Please.
To be fair, Dio didn't start either of those arguments.


Also, now I'm really hungry.
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  #27  
Old 08-19-2009, 12:47 PM
Tequila Mockingbird Tequila Mockingbird is offline
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Originally Posted by Kalhoun View Post
I always flour first. It helps the egg stick to the chicken better.
nodnod

Flour first helps your wet binder stick to the meat.
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  #28  
Old 08-19-2009, 01:30 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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Huh. I'm a buttermilk soak/shake in seasoned flour chicken person. I submerge the chick in buttermilk and sliced onions for an hour or two, then shake off the excess buttermilk and toss the pieces in a paper bag with flour seasoned with salt, lots of black pepper, and a good pinch of cayenne pepper. I've no right to claim anything like authenticity; I think I got the recipe from one of Alton Brown's motorcycle road trip shows. All I know is that it tastes damned fine.
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  #29  
Old 08-19-2009, 02:59 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is online now
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Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
Use an eggwash. Trust me. Flour alone will not stick to boneless skinless chicken breasts. This stuff about what's really authentic southern chicken is nonsense. Frying chicken in flour alone was born of poverty and scarcity, not culinary superiority.
Bullshit. I've been eating fried chicken down here for many years, and it is quite rare to run across whole pieces of fried chicken that have been fried using any kind of an egg wash. An informal review of every Southern cookbook I could get my hands on confirms that egg wash is most definitely not a popular way to fry chicken in the South. Maybe one book in 10 or 15 had a recipe that called for an egg wash, and in many of those instances it was listed as an alternative recipe.

I do think it's hysterical that you'd deem yourself the arbiter of what is or isn't culinary superior, especially when people like James Beard disagree with you.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 08-19-2009 at 03:03 PM..
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  #30  
Old 08-19-2009, 03:09 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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I'm not calling myself an arbiter, YOU guys are. I never said "only X is authentic." YOU guys are. That's what's bullshit. You definitely WILL find eggwash as an "authentic" regional variation, as you will batter fried, as you will buttermilk. I'm saying there IS no one true "authentic" southern fried chicken.

And just FYI, we weren't really talking about fried chicken recipes, but country fried chicken, i.e. chicken fried steak done with chicken breasts. Try frying some skinless chicken breasts in nothing but flour sometime and let me know how that works out for you.
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  #31  
Old 08-19-2009, 03:15 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is online now
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Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
I'm not calling myself an arbiter, YOU guys are. I never said "only X is authentic." YOU guys are. That's what's bullshit. You definitely WILL find eggwash as an "authentic" regional variation, as you will batter fried, as you will buttermilk. I'm saying there IS no one true "authentic" southern fried chicken.

And just FYI, we weren't really talking about fried chicken recipes, but country fried chicken, i.e. chicken fried steak done with chicken breasts. Try frying some skinless chicken breasts in nothing but flour sometime and let me know how that works out for you.
I was specifically referring to your comment that "Frying chicken in flour alone was born of poverty and scarcity, not culinary superiority." That is bullshit.

I never said anything about never finding and egg wash, nor did I mention authenticity. You can find BBQ joints in the South that make their products in a crock pot. I just pointed out that it isn't as popular. Your attempt to make my argument for me failed miserably.

Finally, I never said one should fry boneless, skinless chicken in flour only. Once again, I was only responding to your ridiculous assertion about the origins and inferiority of fried chicken sans egg wash.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 08-19-2009 at 03:16 PM..
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  #32  
Old 08-19-2009, 04:41 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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I didn't say it was inferior, I just said it wasn't superior.
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  #33  
Old 08-19-2009, 04:52 PM
drastic_quench drastic_quench is offline
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Christ, people take it easy. Don't you know that the Civil War was more about fried chicken recipes than slavery?

Now I've fried chicken every which way, including a stint at the ma and pa place renowned for their fried chicken, but my only chicken tip is to purchase your chickens whole and learn to butcher them into pieces. This is almost always cheaper than pre-cut, and frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts always seemed like such chump-sauce to me.
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  #34  
Old 09-25-2012, 10:45 PM
TCLucas TCLucas is offline
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30 minute

The lady you're trying to remember is Rachel Ray. Look her up. No formal chef training but a great cook
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  #35  
Old 09-25-2012, 11:20 PM
Alice The Goon Alice The Goon is offline
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That chicken is spoiled by now.
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  #36  
Old 09-26-2012, 01:12 AM
Jamicat Jamicat is offline
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Being once a fry cook and made plenty of fried foods in a restaurant.

And after trying all sorts of recipes at home...

There's a reason I buy Popeyes/Bojangles/KFC/Churches/PoFolks when I want Fried Chicken.

I want it like that and not like some half ass homemade stuff.
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  #37  
Old 09-26-2012, 04:26 AM
Shakes Shakes is online now
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I normally don't do this but Zombie Chicken sounds like an awesome screen name.
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