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I know it's not PC to go around frying chicken but I never, in my more than middle aged life, had made it until tonight and it didn't quite work out. My mom made it all the time (we're from TN) years and years ago but she died before I thought about asking her how to do it. Allthough I've read cookbooks and the internet and watched videos I didn't quite bomb but it was close. It was edible -nice and moist but the coating was way too dark way way too dark -not burnt but really really close. I am cooking on a gas stove with cast iron. Recipes vary from oil at 325 -375 Times vary from 15 minutes to 45. Here's what I did:
salt & water bath for 30 minutes
buttermilk & texas pete for 6 hours
dredge in flour, baking powder & seasonings
wait 30 minutes then dredge again.
heat oil to 350 brown on both sides then cover & cook -first time I did 20 minutes, next batch I did 12 minutes.
finish cooking with lid off
both times the chicken turned out way too dark. I tested the oil temp while it was covered and it registered at 280
The chicken has to get done but I don't want the coating to be so dark (~1 shade from black). The chicken flesh was fine and about 170 degrees when I pulled it from the oil. The coating was crispy and a good texture.
Does anyone have any ideas on how to correct this?
Few things I do different. First, did you refrigerate the chicken after you dredged it? I always leave it out to come up to room temperature, while it is mariating in the buttermilk (or egg and milk in my case), then shake it in a bag with the flour and seasonings, let sit five minutes while the oil comes up to temp. Shake again so the chicken is coating is dry when lowered into the oil.
Second, how deep was the oil? It should come a bit more than halfway up the chicken.
Third, cook at a lower temp for longer time, sounds like 350 on your stove with your thermometer is too high, try 325.
Fourth, put the chicken in on one side - skin side down first -, cover and let it cook several minutes until the coating is the shade you want it and the chicken is more than halfway done. Turn it only once, cover again until done. Don't lift the cover, it holds in the heat to cook the chicken through so the coating doesn't get too brown before the meat is cooked.
Hope that helps.
Edited 'cause I thought of something else.
Last Edited on: 1/19/14 10:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Chicken you buy from the grocery store is already injected with salt water solution, no need to brine it. Check the sodium count listed if you aren't sure - plain chicken should be like 80 mg/serving at most. Grocery chicken usually runs over 300mg/serving. I have to buy specially marked and 3 times as expensive no salt added chicken on the rare occasions I need some. That won't really affect the cooking, just a needless step. Only so much salt will go into the flesh. It starts getting soggy if you push it.
Absolutely!! When the chicken is done, just let it drain for a bit on some paper towels. My grandma taught me this method. She only used salt and pepper in her flour. I use some garlic and lemon-pepper. And if you let it cool and store the leftovers on a plate covered with only a paper towel, (not plastic wrap) it will stay crispy the next day.
Let us know how it goes. I adore fried chicken, it is my favorite food! I wrote a blog piece a couple of years ago for the PBS blog, it is here if you want to read it - http://blog.paperbackswap.com/in-honor-of-fried-chicken-day/2012/07/