Fried chicken
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Fried chicken
  Chicken    Southern    Fried  
Last updated 6/12/2012 1:28:44 AM. Recipe ID 64233. Report a problem with this recipe.
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Fried chicken has a dual origin in the rural American South. The Scots had a tradition 
of shallow cooking chicken in fat (not quite pan frying), unlike their English 
counterparts who baked or boiled chicken. Later, as African slaves were introduced to 
households as cooks, seasonings and spices were added that are absent in traditional 
Scottish cuisine, improving the flavor and they brought the concept of deep fat frying. 
Since slaves were often allowed to keep only chickens, frying chicken as a special 
occasion spread through the African American community. After slavery, poor rural 
southern blacks continued the tradition since chickens were often the only animals they 
could afford to raise. Since fried chicken could keep for several days, it travelled 
well, and also gained favor during segregation when blacks normally could not find 
places to eat and had to carry their own food. Southern whites also continued the 
tradition of frying chicken. While not limited like blacks socially, poor whites were 
no better off economically. Therefore, fried chicken continued to dominate as "Sunday 
dinner" or on other special occasions.


    * 1 fryer chicken, cut up (see notes, below)
    * 1 quart buttermilk
    *  cup salt
    * Spice Rub
    * Flour
    * A quantity of oil suitable for the desired cooking method (see below)


Preparing the spice rub

   1. Whatever spice you picked as your base, put a lot of it in a bowl.
   2. Add less of some other seasonings, such as pepper. Mix it up. You now have a 
spice rub.

Brining the chicken (see notes, below)

   1. Pour the buttermilk into a bowl and dissolve  cup of salt in the buttermilk.
   2. Piece by piece, roll the chicken around in the spice rub.
   3. Submerge each chicken piece in the buttermilk.
   4. Cover the bowl of buttermilk and chicken and refrigerate. (You can get by with as 
few as two hours if you are in a hurry, but the flavor will suffer. You can also park 
it overnight, but you should reduce the salt to 1/3 of a cup)
   5. Shortly before you want to cook the chicken, remove it from the buttermilk and 
drain. Roll it around in flour so that it is well covered in flour. Shake off the 
excess flour.

Cooking the chicken, deep frying method

   1. The safest cooking method is deep frying. Immerse chicken in 360F oil. Cooking 
times are
          * Breasts: 10 minutes
          * Drumsticks: 12 minutes
          * Thighs: 13-14 minutes
          * Wings: 10 minutes (Though wings are often better suited to other 
   2. Drain the chicken on a wire rack (place it over a sheet pan to catch the oil).

Variation 1, pan frying method

   1. The most traditional cooking method is pan frying. Care must be taken to avoid 
spilling and splattering.
   2. Heat enough oil (or shortening) to come 3-4 mm up the side of the pan to 325F.
   3. Carefully place chicken in pan, skin side down, and cook until brown, 10-12 
minutes. Turn over and cook other side.
   4. Doing this will require some careful placement in the pan so as to cook the slow-
cooking meat (such as thighs) more intensely than the fast-cooking meat (such as wings 
and breasts).
   5. Drain the chicken on a wire rack (place it over a sheet pan to catch the oil).

Variation 2, pressure frying method

   1. Pressure frying gives excellent results, but special equipment is needed. A 
typical pressure cooker is not suitable for cooking with large quantities of oil; a 
pressure fryer must be used. Follow the manufacturer's instructions closely.
   2. Put the chicken pieces into hot oil (larger pieces first) and fry about 3 minutes 
until very light brown. Then put on the lid and lock it.
   3. Cook at a pressure of 5-6 pounds for about 7 minutes.
   4. Drain the chicken on a wire rack (place it over a sheet pan to catch the oil).

Notes, Tips, and Variations

    * The key to this recipe is the buttermilk brine, which seasons the chicken with a 
salty tanginess inside. Combined with a suitably zingy spice rub, this works out 
    * This recipe is death to oil, so it's one you might want to save until you're 
thinking about changing your fryer oil anyway.
    * As with all respectable fried chicken recipes, this recipe may be even better 24 
hours after you cook it, when the chicken has been refrigerated.
    * If you can get a pre-cut chicken, this is ultimately easier. Alternatively, if 
you have a real preference for drumsticks, thighs, breasts, or some other part, feel 
free to buy just those. The quantities in the ingredient list, however, reflect two 
breasts, two thighs, and two drumsticks. (Don't waste the other parts on fried chicken; 
save them for chicken soup! But if you like fried chicken wings, increase the 
quantities a bit.)
    * If you are kosher, lactose intolerant, not fond of buttermilk, or feeling 
experimental, feel free to play around with other possible brines here. If you use a 
less viscous liquid than buttermilk, however, you may need to use an egg wash to make 
sure that the flour sticks to the chicken in sufficient quantity.
    * Wings can also be saved, along with other leftover bits of carcass, to make 
chicken soup.
    * Personal preference chooses which spice to use as a base. A paprika based rub 
works very well for this recipe, but others will work just fine. Cumin or curry powder 
would also both be good choices.

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Recipe ID 64233 (Nov 18, 2007)

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