Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fried Chicken

I'm not a big fan of chicken. No big hatred of it; I just find it boring. Lately, however, I've been having a real craving for fried chicken. Maybe the summer-in-springtime weather is giving me some sort of salt craving or maybe after 16 years in the South, I'm finally starting to eat like a local. Whatever the reason, the fates conspired to turn craving into reality when our local healthy supermarket had half-price peanut oil, the general store had a sale on Lodge cast iron skillets, and Bon Appetit published an article on how to make skillet-fried chicken.

I followed the recipe carefully, this being my first-ever attempt at fried chicken. The day before cooking, I cut up a fryer into 8 pieces, rinsed them, and coated them in a dry rub of kosher salt, pepper, and several other spices . An overnight stay in the fridge coated with the dry rub was supposed to help with keeping the chicken juicy and the skin crisp while frying.  I dipped each piece in a buttermilk  and egg bath before dredging in a flour mix that had yet more salt and pepper. Despite the enormity of the skillet, I had to fry the chicken in two batches.

Using a digital thermometer, I regularly checked the oil temperature to keep it around 325 degrees. I highly recommend wearing oven mitts anytime you have to go near the skillet as getting spit on by hot oil is not fun. The silicone handle cover from Lodge was well worth the 3 or 4 bucks we spent on it.

I couldn't believe how quickly it started to look like real fried chicken. Just as advertised. I used the probe to check the internal temperature of the chicken (165 degrees) before removing my golden brown pieces of eight. Immediately they went on to wire racks to drain and I patted them down with paper towels to soak up any extra oil.

By the end of the process, the kitchen was a mess, I was covered in grease, the house smelled like a fast-food restaurant but by god I had made fried chicken! And it was good. Too good. Finger-licking-good. I think it was a little too salty even for me, so I'd probably cut down on the kosher salt next time. And despite my efforts, the skin still ended up being more greasy than crispy, so I didn't eat much of it after the first piece of chicken. The meat, however, was the most flavorful, juicy chicken I can remember having in a long, long time.

And now that I have broken in my huge cast-iron skillet, maybe I'll tackle making the perfect pecan sticky buns.....

1 comment:

  1. I am falling off my desk chair into a puddle of happiness just reading this. Oh how I wish I could have had a wing!