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Old 06-19-2019, 01:08 PM
Ukulele Ike is offline
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Fried chicken, YET AGAIN


The front page article in today’s New York Times food section concerns the fried chicken of southeastern Indiana, a staple of the post-church Sunday dinner. “Best fried chicken I have ever tasted.” “If the Colonel had been from south Indiana, he would have been a general.”

The secret is to avoid frou-frou. No buttermilk soak, no cornmeal, no brining. Cut up the best chicken you can get — the back pieces that I save for the stockpot are included — rub with an astounding amount of table salt and ground black pepper, roll in flour, fry in lard or veg oil that comes up 3/4 of the way on the chicken pieces.

I COULD be on board with this, although I also season with paprika and granulated garlic. I do a double-dip in the (seasoned) flour, and use less fat...1/4 up the chicken, and turn more frequently. And i use bacon fat mixed with a neutral oil.

What do you other crazy SDMB home chicken-fryers think of this? Imma gonna give it a try!

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/d...n-indiana.html
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:30 PM
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Couldn't be any worse than what I did to the chicken a couple nights ago. I pre-mix my seasoning recipe, someone left the lid off the container and (found out later) the flavors had gone off. Made a batter, got it too thick. Chucked the chicken in the pan, oil wasn't hot enough. Ended up not cooking the chicken long enough. Should have just smoked a bowl and ordered pizza.

Just as well, I suppose you could say my seasoning is paprika based (because it is), but I'd really like to back that flavor off and move the white pepper closer to the forefront. So, since I need to redo my chicken spice anyway, I suppose I could grab a happy chicken from Sprouts this weekend and do the OP to it. I'll need to get some good salt, though. "Nobody" disappeared my yummy sea salt and, after I ranted into the pantry for 15 minutes upon discovering that, "Nobody" tried to make it right by secreting a pound of some WalMart product I wouldn't use to grit my driveway. The kids like to laugh at me when I eyeball anyone messing around in my kitchen--they still don't realize I'm not playing and that I want them out of there.

Sorry for the rant. Needed to vent I guess. I'll report back if I do that chicken.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:36 PM
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I'm with you on the paprika and garlic. I do use a bit of cornmeal, just for structural integrity.

And I concur on getting the best chicken. I feel lucky that I have a lot of excellent chicken options nearby (Kosher grocery stores).
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:53 PM
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Indigo:. Great god, what a disaster! I mean, cutting back on paprika and using more white pepper. What’s wrong with BLACK pepper?

Icarus:. Unfortunately, the BEST chicken I can get is Buddhist chicken, head and feet included...but it is an older chicken meant for braising, not dry cooking. I do have access to organic and kosher chickens, though, which are next best.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
What’s wrong with BLACK pepper?
Uh, nothing wrong with black pepper. Some of my best recipes use black pepper. But let's not pretend it's as versatile or as subtle as white pepper.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
The secret is to avoid frou-frou. No buttermilk soak, no cornmeal, no brining. Cut up the best chicken you can get — the back pieces that I save for the stockpot are included — rub with an astounding amount of table salt and ground black pepper, roll in flour, fry in lard or veg oil that comes up 3/4 of the way on the chicken pieces.
I endorse this. And my fried chicken gets praise.
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Old 06-19-2019, 03:44 PM
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I'm not very good at frying anything, but the best fried chicken I ever made was marinated in buttermilk. I think all meat benefits from a little brine time for the salt to penetrate (wet or dry) and chicken in particular tends to benefit from a short acidic marinade like lemon juice, vinegar or buttermilk. But I agree 95% of the result is due to frying it correctly with a good breading. A brine or marinade just adds that little extra touch of flavor.

Last edited by DrCube; 06-19-2019 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:17 PM
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To be extra-clear, I don’t consider my fried chicken (or the Indiana people's fried chicken, to be DEEP-fried, but PAN-fried. Not submerged in the grease but to a certain depth, and in need of turning. I use less fat, Indianans use more.
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:19 PM
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Sounds like how I grew up frying chicken, except that the salt & pepper would be mixed into the flour instead of being applied separately, and I don't think we put so much fat in the pan.

After you finish frying up your chicken, you mix the remaining flour melange into the grease, and add enough milk to get a proper cream gravy. Yum.

I miss it - it's way too much work for one person, and too much fat besides. But I've found no one who does a proper cream gravy, and blessed few places that do a decent fried chicken.
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:24 PM
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My fried chicken improved considerably since I copied a recipe I saw on America's Test Kitchen.

I dearly love KFC: that's Korean Fried Chicken. ATK's KFC recipe is basically: one part flour to one part cornstarch, seasonings of your choice, and then enough water to make a thin runny batter. Dip in the chicken and then fry as usual.

Wow, this recipe makes a shatteringly-crisp coating. They said that they tried using buttermilk or eggs or beer in the batter, but came back to using just plain water as that made the crispest chicken.

My seasonings of choice are: plenty of salt, fresh-ground black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, sage, and cayenne.
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:32 PM
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Zyada:. I season the chicken before dredging, but then season the flour as well...pan-fried chicken needs a LOT of flavor or it’s insipid. Most fancy restaurant fried chicken (here in NYC, anyway) is insipid. I also use the leftover seasoned flour to make gravy, but prefer water to milk.

It’s not really THAT much work! And I only do it 3 or 4 times a year, so my girlish figure is safe.
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by teela brown View Post
My seasonings of choice are: plenty of salt, fresh-ground black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, sage, and cayenne.
Sometimes I substitute a packaged Cajun seasoning mix (SLAP YO’ MAMA is my favorite; Tony Chachere’s is also good, but a little too salty), which is probably exactly your recipe.

I would try the Korean method, but this thread is mainly about what chicken-fryers think about the Indiana chicken deal. Salt, pepper, and flour.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:39 PM
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I'm relatively new to making (what I consider to be) good fried chicken, but I definitely prefer more seasoning than just salt and pepper. My flour mixture contains salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and chili powder.
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:05 PM
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I go down the street to the chicken shack and buy mine there. It's delicious and I don't have to clean any oil off the stove (or the walls, or the counter …)
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:30 PM
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Here, try this....

Right? Tell me you’re ever going to eat take out fried chicken again.
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:27 PM
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The buttermilk crust is the best part of fried chicken.

The crust is why Popeye's is one of the best places for take out fried chicken.

I prefer it made at home, but we don't want to deal with the mess & cleanup in the kitchen.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-19-2019 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:53 AM
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I go down the street to the chicken shack and buy mine there. It's delicious and I don't have to clean any oil off the stove (or the walls, or the counter …)
I loves me some fried chicken but I rarely eat it. I did make my own once. If I ever do that again I'll know to take the next day off of work for clean up.


mmm
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:57 AM
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Uh, nothing wrong with black pepper. Some of my best recipes use black pepper. But let's not pretend it's as versatile or as subtle as white pepper.
Honestly, I think black pepper is more versatile. I use both in my cooking, but white pepper -- at least all the different types I've tried -- all have a very strong earthy, musty odor to them that I could spot a mile away. I'm not entirely sure if I'm describing it right, but it's pungent. I don't find it subtle at all. I love the stuff, but for day-to-day application, I prefer my collection of black peppers (Kampot Black Cambodian, Lampong Indonesian, Black Malibar, and Tellicherry).

So this still will very much depend on the cook. I find black pepper much more useful in my kitchen. (Though when I do fried chicken, white pepper _is_ one of the spices I usually use. Salt, white pepper, a bit of black pepper, a bit of paprika, garlic or onion, and a skosh of MSG. I don't really use the paprika for flavor in this case. Just enough to help along with the browning of the crust. If I'm feeling lazy, though, I'll do a "Baltimore" style chicken with the seasonings, and just use Old Bay.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-20-2019 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:05 AM
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The only "trick" technique-wise I have for my fried chicken is to wet the flour mixture a bit with water or buttermilk (if you used a marinade). I don't mean make it into a batter, but rather to sprinkle some liquid in such that little clumps of flour form here and there. I prefer a single dedge of flour on my chicken, but the wet flour clumps make nice nooks and crannies that add extra crunchiness and texture to the coating. I can't remember where I learned this tip -- this isn't something I came up with myself.

(ETA: Should have guessed, the idea probably came from Serious Eats, although I could swear I remember reading about it somewhere before.)

There are also some batter-fried chickens I've had that have been lovely, but I haven't tried playing around with that with whole skin-on chicken pieces.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-20-2019 at 09:08 AM.
  #20  
Old 06-20-2019, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Honestly, I think black pepper is more versatile. I use both in my cooking, but white pepper -- at least all the different types I've tried -- all have a very strong earthy, musty odor to them that I could spot a mile away. I'm not entirely sure if I'm describing it right, but it's pungent. I don't find it subtle at all.
I get a fragrance something like body odor from white pepper. Other times, it's almost fishy smelling. White pepper sometimes works (hot & sour soup, roadside chicken) but I agree that black pepper is the more versatile of the two.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:12 AM
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I get a fragrance something like body odor from white pepper. Other times, it's almost fishy smelling. White pepper sometimes works (hot & sour soup, roadside chicken) but I agree that black pepper is the more versatile of the two.
Yeah, that’s exactly the odor. The first few times I had white pepper, I couldn’t stand it, but after awhile, I grew quite fond of it, especially in Asian cooking.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:21 AM
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My fried chicken improved considerably since I copied a recipe I saw on America's Test Kitchen.

I dearly love KFC: that's Korean Fried Chicken. ATK's KFC recipe is basically: one part flour to one part cornstarch, seasonings of your choice, and then enough water to make a thin runny batter. Dip in the chicken and then fry as usual.

Wow, this recipe makes a shatteringly-crisp coating. They said that they tried using buttermilk or eggs or beer in the batter, but came back to using just plain water as that made the crispest chicken.

My seasonings of choice are: plenty of salt, fresh-ground black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, sage, and cayenne.
That's the version I saw on a FB video scroll, they called it KFC. I'll never find it again I'm sure. They did the double dip, water, coating, water coating. Pan fried.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:29 AM
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That's the version I saw on a FB video scroll, they called it KFC. I'll never find it again I'm sure. They did the double dip, water, coating, water coating. Pan fried.
Yeah, it was a revelation how crispy cornstarch made the chicken. Whether I dip the chicken into a cornstarch-y batter or roll the chicken around in a dry mix, I'll always use cornstarch when I deep-fry things.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:07 PM
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Here, try this....

Right? Tell me you’re ever going to eat take out fried chicken again.
That sounds like saying that, once I try a homemade hamburger, I'm not going to eat McDonald's again. I've never had any homemade fried chicken that even seemed to be the same dish as the fast food stuff.

So, to me, they are different cravings.

Last edited by BigT; 06-20-2019 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 06-28-2019, 05:50 PM
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Well, I do brine because that is way better than just rubbing salt on the outside. It seasons all the way through.

But apart from that, I am devoted to simplicity. After the brine, dry it off, dust with flour, toss into the lard. Heaven on earth.

But then, when I eat fried chicken I am seeking the flavor of chicken, especially crispy chicken skin. I don't understand why people obscure that deliciousness with a bunch of other crap.
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Old 06-29-2019, 11:22 AM
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But then, when I eat fried chicken I am seeking the flavor of chicken, especially crispy chicken skin. I don't understand why people obscure that deliciousness with a bunch of other crap.
Is sauce on fried wings crap? Does butter on toast 'obscure that deliciousness' of the bread? Why on Earth do you cloud your perfect chicken experience, the sacrament where you are 'specifically seeking the flavor of chicken,' by adding salt to a brine and then further muddle the pure chicken fragrance with adulterants like flour and lard?!?

No, seasoning fried chicken is right and good.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:25 AM
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I'm relatively new to making (what I consider to be) good fried chicken, but I definitely prefer more seasoning than just salt and pepper. My flour mixture contains salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and chili powder.
I use cinnamon in my flour, and sometimes throw in a little of Bloemer's chili powder. I mix all of that into some Kentucky Kernal seasoned flour.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:33 AM
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I have one rule. Don't season the flour. You might as well just throw the seasoning directly in the trash for all the good it does. Season the damn bird.

Also, why pan fry when you can deep fry?
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Old 07-08-2019, 04:42 PM
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I have one rule. Don't season the flour. You might as well just throw the seasoning directly in the trash for all the good it does. Season the damn bird.

Also, why pan fry when you can deep fry?
1. That’s the old baloney. Season the chicken first, yes. But you’re eating that browned flour on the outside of your fried chicken; not seasoning it would be catastrophic.

2. John Egerton, award-winning food writer, in SOUTHERN FOOD: AT HOME, ON THE ROAD, IN HISTORY (1987): “Restaurants deep-fry their chicken. Home cooks pan-fry it.”

I never argue with John Egerton.
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Old 07-08-2019, 06:23 PM
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If you adequately season the skin, the breading gets seasoned when you dredge. The matrix of the skin, seasoning and the crispy coating all integrate into a single entity when cooked. If your breading is coming off without the skin and without the seasoning from the skin, I think you have an issue with your technique.

Also, (good) restaurant fried chicken in invariably superior to homemade for just the reason you state.
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:30 PM
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Well, I do brine because that is way better than just rubbing salt on the outside. It seasons all the way through.

I've been converted to dry brining. Not necessarily for fried chicken, since I never make it, but for poultry and pork in general.


reason is that I've read a few pieces on sites like Serious Eats where they make the case that while a wet brine legitimately stuffs extra water into a bird or cut of meat, it doesn't really bring a whole lot of seasoning with it. Dry brining (heavily salting the entire exterior of the bird or cut, then letting sit in the coldest part of the fridge- uncovered- overnight) seems to amp up the flavor of the meat quite a bit without stuffing in a bunch more water which would just get pushed out during cooking. I haven't dry brined a turkey yet, but it seems to have worked well for chicken, duck, and pork steaks.

Last edited by jz78817; 07-08-2019 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:33 PM
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Also, (good) restaurant fried chicken in invariably superior to homemade for just the reason you state.
Let’s throw that open to the floor, shall we?

(As to your first point...my coating doesn’t come off when I pan-fry. Not sure what you mean by “breading.” Do you roll your chicken in crumbs, you scalawag?)
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:53 PM
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Not sure what you mean by “breading.” Do you roll your chicken in crumbs, you scalawag?)
God no. Just ran out of words to describe the fried result of floured chicken skin. Weird that specific thing doesn't have a better known name, eh?
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:59 PM
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My wife was diagnosed Celiac last year so I can't cook with flour.

She misses deep fried food, so I have been experimenting with the following recipe:

- Nice plump (fresh) chicken breasts from Costco (she doesn't like dark meat, which blows my mind)
- Marinate in Buttermilk for a few hours
- Put a couple cups of Robin Hood GF Flour in a bowl and add:
- Paprika
- Lawrey's Seasoned Salt
- Lawrey's Seasoned Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder

Take the chicken out of the buttermilk, then dredge it in the flour mixture. Then let it sit for 20-45 minutes until the exterior of the chicken turns "pasty". Then I deep fry in Canola oil (about halfway up the chicken) until golden brown.

I then throw it in the oven (convection at 350) on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes. I do this because the chicken breasts are so large.

It turns out really good if I do say so myself!

MtM
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:05 PM
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Huh. I've been making it the "Indiana way" for years, but I learned it this way in Georgia. (Technically, I do Zyada's method of putting the seasonings in the flour.)

In addition to salt, pepper, etc, I also like to mix in a variety of Adam's Spices and Rubs. The Lopez Family one is excellent, but I really enjoy the Cuban seasoning as well.

Last edited by JohnT; 07-10-2019 at 04:06 PM.
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