Thursday, July 03, 2008

The uncookable Fried Chicken

Today is testament that I still don't know how to make Fried Chicken. Therefore, I must not take after my Grandma Obert that much because I heard that she knew how to make a mean batch of home style fried chicken. I believe that fried chicken depends more on the process to be good and depends less on ingredients.
The last time I made it I just took the chicken pieces and coated them with flour, salt and pepper and fried them in "very hot" vegetable oil. It was as, like my friend Sara B. experienced today, a bloody disgusting mess.
Today I was slightly more prepared. I soaked my hind quarters in buttermilk mixed with chili sauce last night. Sometime this morning I breaded them with a mixture of corn meal, corn starch, ww flour, and white flour. I thought, "Couldn't hurt, mix it all in." My neighbors let me borrow their gas fryer. I set it up in the driveway with all my accoutrement. I had also borrowed a very high tech thermometer that kept a very accurate reading of the temperature of the oil. I bought peanut oil and heated it up to 370 degrees. Lucia and my neighbor friend looked out the window at me as I started putting in the chicken 3 pieces at a time and rolled them around in there until they were golden brown and dripped them dry and set them on a system of paper towels that I had made up on cookie sheets. Men who live on my street strolled over to my driveway with cans of beer in their hands to survey the spectacle. You need to have a few men standing around watching the show when you are working on a project like this one. You have equipment, food and the outdoors... BAM! Before you know what happened you have 3 guys standing over you. I finished feeling confident that I had at last made an excellent batch of fried chicken. That is... until I bit into one.
It was RAW! I swore at it for about five minutes then ran over to the neighbors with Lucia on my hip to convey my bad news. So as soon as she had a minute we started the whole process over again. Lucia with the neighbor and me with my fryer, chicken and neighbor men. They walked up to me, "Hey, what happened? OH, what you gotta do is..." The chicken got another shade darker. We brought it in. We cut into it... STILL PINK!
So I have it in the oven... Hours later. Its probably going to taste like dry shit. I have another 15 pounds of chicken in the refrigerator that is bound for the grill tomorrow. I boiled it today. Its resting with a nice coating of Old Bay and olive oil on it.
Damn Hind Quarters. Now I know why they are 69 cents a pound. They are impossible to cook!

9 comments:

Chet & Gini said...

I haven't made fried chicken in years, but I can tell you a little of how Mom had us do it. First off, we used a frying pan (I know at one point Mom had a deep fryer, but I don't ever remember using it for chicken) We always saved the shortening in the fridge from the last time we had cooked it - adding more as needed. We would heat up the shortening (not oil, by the way) using enough to cover the pieces about half way up and getting it good and hot (no thermometers - just a little water to see if it sizzles). As far as the coating it was regular flour and whatever spices we had on hand that sounded good. I don't remember dipping the chicken in anything before the flour for chicken - though we did for pork chops. Maybe I am just not remembering that step. Anyway, we would put it in the hot grease, cook until good and crispy, then turn over. Maybe having to do both sides separate gave the inside more time to cook. One more step though. After we let in drain on paper towels for a little while - it went back in the hot oil to cook again. That is what really made it crispy. Of course I have no idea how much time any of this took, because it was all done by look and "instinct". Being cooked in the grease twice makes it such a healthy meal. Add that to the fact that it's a pain to clean up and I'm not really sure about that whole saving the grease from one time to another thing contributes to the fact that I don't make it anymore. Hope this helps - Aunt Mar and Uncle Jim can probably add further details. And yes, Uncle Jim did cook it too, but I don't know if Mike ever did.

Anonymous said...

After reading your blog...I called my mom who cooks the best fried chicken in the world. I couldn't tell you the first thing about it myself....mine always turns out burnt and raw in the middle just like yours. Anyway...my mom said you mix two eggs, a can of carnation pet milk, and two tablespoons of A-1 sauce together. Season your chicken with Nature's seasoning and then dip in the mixed ingredients and then roll it in flour. Fry it in either a pan or fryer in 300-325 degree vegetable oil or peanut oil for 15-20 minutes. In the pan you will need to turn it, but shouldn't have to in the fryer. I can attest to the fact that this makes the best fried chicken in the world....and I'm a fried chicken fanatic!!!! I din't get fat eating salads ;-)
Love you all.
Give Lucia a big kiss from Aunt Kim & Uncle Kurt!

Sara said...

"I soaked my hind quarters in buttermilk mixed with chili sauce last night."

Thanks for sharing, Katy O., but how's that gonna get the chicken cooked?

Obert Life is Good said...

We always dipped it in egg 1st and then flour. I never "double fried" it, but I would usually turn it so it cooked on both sides twice in the electric skillet. You can use a frying pan, but it is a little more difficult to keep the temperature consistant. I can't remember the temp. we fried it at but I'd guess 350 - 375. Some deep fryers cook too fast and hence the rare middle.

We later went to oven frying, breading as above and then putting the bird on cookie sheets with just a little oil. I can't remember these details so well. You might find more details in a cook book.

Chet & Gini said...

Jim's right - it was an electric skillet, not a frying pan

Mike Angie Patrick Aaron said...

Watch Emeril. He said that the raw in the middle thing happens pretty much all of the time, especially with large pieces of chicken. You should get the outside right in the frier and then put the chicken in the oven for a little while to finish cooking the middle.

Katy said...

Thanks suggestions everyone!
Thank you... and Lucia is trying to type thank you too.

Anonymous said...

Whoh dude...I mean all I can say is whoh dude...

Will Coghill-Behrends said...

I found your hind quarters absolutely tantalizing!!! Great party.