Monday, July 26, 2010

Southern Fried Chicken

I have a few favorites I like to watch on the Food Network and one of them is Alton Brown.  His show Good Eats is always so informative.  I'll admit some of his costumes, stunts, and props get on my nerves, but I have learned some helpful cooking tips and better understand some of the chemistry involved in food preparation by watching his show.

One of his recipes I recently tried was for real, honest to goodness southern fried chicken.  Frying chicken is something I have only tried a couple of times because quite frankly, it's a pain in the you know where.  First of all there is the messy dredging in flour.  Then you have the buckets of oil that must be used and finally, there is the cleanup of spattered grease afterward.  It also takes a lot of time standing over the frying pan; at least 12-15 minutes per side for at least 2 batches if you do it properly and don't crowd the pan.

That being said, I did give it a whirl this weekend and was most happy with the results.  I must admit that I didn't follow Alton's recipe exactly.  Included in the buttermilk marinade, I added a couple big squirts of hot sauce to add a bit of heat.  I also used peanut oil instead of vegetable oil and cooked the chicken with the oil at 350 degrees instead of his recommended 325 degrees.  The chicken cooked perfectly through and the crispy crust was very tasty.  Served with sweet corn on the cob and you have summer on a plate!

Southern Fried Chicken

1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt (Do not use regular salt or it will be much too strong)
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening, for frying

Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it's a gas oven.


Salem Man said...

That looks goooooood!

whack patti said...

Fried cheekin.