Cooking For Engineers Forum Index Cooking For Engineers
Analytical cooking discussed.
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Best Fried Chicken in the World (except KFC)

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Cooking For Engineers Forum Index -> Recipes
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:28 am    Post subject: Best Fried Chicken in the World (except KFC) Reply with quote

I have been on a quest for years to perfect my fried chicken, and I think I've finally done it. Be warned - there are no "shortcuts" that will make good fried chicken. It's time-consuming and there's no way around it. But if you follow my instructions, you'll be singing Donna Summer, "Ooooh, it's so good, it's so good, it's so good, it's so good, it's sooooooooo good."


1. You must brine the chicken pieces ahead of time.

2. There is no substitute for buttermilk; don't even think about it.

3. No, you cannot use any other kind of pan but a cast-iron skillet. No.

4. Temperature - you'll have to do a few test pieces to determine the right setting on your stove for the pan you're using. On my stove, it's just under medium with a 12-inch iron skillet. You're aiming for a temperature that's lower than what you'd normally use for grease-free deep fat frying, but not so low the chicken gets soggy. But, it has to be low enough that the outside doesn't burn while the inside stays raw.


- about 6 thighs and drumsticks, brined

- 2 and 1/2 cups flour

- scant tablespoon salt

- two teaspoons garlic powder

- slightly less onion powder

- a couple vigorous shakes of HOT paprika, or cayenne pepper

- 1 teaspoon crushed thyme

- Lots of fresh-ground black pepper

- 1/2 teaspoon MSG. Yep, that's right, MSG, sold as Accent. No, it's not toxic, and no, you're not allergic to it (big food myth). Leave it out if you're paranoid.

- Enough Crisco to have about a half-inch of hot oil in the skillet


Mix your dry ingredients and put them in a wide, shallow bowl. Pour buttermilk into another bowl, replenishing as needed. Take chicken and dunk it in the buttermilk, shaking off excess. Mash (yes, mash) chicken into flour mixture all over, coating everything. You can be really decadent and give it another dunk in the buttermilk and another flour mashing (mmm, mmm). Set chicken aside on plate.

IMPORTANT - Let the chicken rest for at least 20 minutes after coating. This lets the coating set up and stick to the chicken so it doesn't peel off during cooking.

Fry chicken two - three pieces at a time. Cover and fry for about 20 minutes, then turn, recovering the skillet and cook for another 15 minutes or so. Remove the cover and cook for another 5 minutes, turning the chicken again to recrisp the outside and evaporate the water that's gotten into the crust from the covered skillet. This method is the best, and is well-described in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.

Drain the chicken on paper towels, and keep warm on an uncovered plate in the oven until all the pieces are done.

Best served with other heart-attack-inducing dishes, such as creamy mashed potatoes with cream gravy. I like to accompany it in the traditional Southern way, with greens stewed with ham hocks, and lard biscuits. This is a not a meal for health sissies.

Cream gravy:

Reserve about two tablespoons of the Crisco, scooping up the little browned bits that fell off the chicken. Add three tablespoons of flour and make a roux. In a separate pan, boil a chicken bullion cube in a minimal amount of water, just until dissolved. Set bullion aside.

Slowly add about 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk to the roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add bullion, and let thicken, stirring constantly. If you need a little more thickener, whisk flour into cold milk and add. Be sure to add a generous amount of fresh black pepper.

Anyone who tries this recipe, please let me know how it turns out!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 17 Dec 2006
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I think I'll try this since I have about eight chicken legs in my freezer and I need to do something with them.

But, would you recommend the 'second dunk & mashing' for the first timer?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rob,

I'd probably avoid the 2nd "dunk and mash" on your first try. Just be sure to get a really good coating on every piece of the chicken. Good luck, and tell us how you like it!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 17 Dec 2006
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I had mixed results. Clearly this low-slow frying technique is something that will take some experience.

I did six legs and opted to do the double mash on one leg in each of two batches. One resulted in a catostrophic delamination of the breading.

But if I take nothing else away from the experience, it will be the seasoning of the flour. Before breading, I dipped my finger into the mixture and tasted it - "Oh, yeah. - This is good." This is going to find its way onto all manner of pork tenderloins and the like.

But I had a serious problem managing the heat, and the first batch was overbrowned and the second was underbrowned - and both were under cooked inside. But, at points, it was showing real potential.

It's probably one of those things that you just need to get experience in doing.

For the record, I decided that 325 deg would be my target oil temp. Perhaps too high. The second batch was probably lower - and might have been right if I gave it more time.

Despite the instructions, I was hoping to get all six legs in on one batch. But after putting two in, it was clear that the instructions were correct and I could only fit one more in comfortably.

I think the real trick here is trying to manage frying and steaming at the same time.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cool Nerds Gal

Joined: 21 Feb 2007
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:30 am    Post subject: Best fried chicken Reply with quote

This is the only way to make fried chicken. I have been making it forever this way. And my milk gravy is the same exact way without the flavoring. Straight scrapings from the pan with the roux and milk with seasonings. It is so heart healthy I love it. I even spluge and do my pork chops sometimes like this. Make the gravy too. Or make nuggets of pork or chicken with the gravey for the kids. Yum! Thanks for taking the time to write it all out. YOU NEED the buttermilk.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 08 Mar 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Sunny Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do something like this too, mine is a version of Nigella Lawson's (soak chicken over night in buttermilk, then cook next day in it) with Jeffery Steingarten's seasoning mix. It is so good. My chicken is gently poached in buttermilk then left to cool. I take the skin off and then do then do the flour thing before frying in a cast iron casserole dish.

I love the texture of brining but it is way too salty for me. Anyone got any suggestions?


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my reading of the literature is: the actual Food Engineers proved a couple of decades ago, that who the chicken chose for ancestry, and what the chicken ate, is 90% of what it's gonna taste like. Another few percentage points is how much stress the bird experienced in the hour prior to slaughter.. Google on Lactic Acid.

But cooking is truly like religion - nonsense is more important than facts.

Maybe you're one of those deep-cover agents for the buttermilk-making machine companies?!?

hey, I love the spam-check thing. Who supplies it?
Back to top
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Cooking For Engineers Forum Index -> Recipes All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You can post new topics in this forum
You can reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group