As the weather gets warmer, summer is on many of our minds, and with summer thoughts come memories of clear, warm weather and delicious homemade fried chicken. If you are a fried chicken lover who wants to recreate those old family recipes, here are some tips to help you make this classic dish the right way.
A little fat once in a while is not so bad. Whether you decide to make fried chicken the main course for Sunday dinner or take it on a picnic, it is a delicious meal that brings back old memories. There are lots of different ways to make fried chicken, but all good chicken has a few things in common. It is cooked thoroughly, has a moist, juicy interior, and is not too greasy, with a crispy fried coating that tastes great.
There are a few aspects that are vital to making any batch of southern fried chicken a success. One of them is being sure you cut the tips off the wings to the last joint. No one really eats them, and wing tips are good for chicken stock later on. If you take them off now, you do not have to worry as much about crowding the chicken in the pan.
Space in the pan is vitally important. While it is okay for them to touch, you will need to make sure that there is no crowding. That means a skillet of twelve inches in diameter or more if you want to be sure your chicken will cook correctly. Choose a heavy skillet (cast iron is traditional), that will hold heat in well.
Cooking oil is common for frying chicken, but many others swear by melted shortening instead. However, no matter which oil you use, choose one with a high smoke point and keep the temperature in an ideal range. Get your fat too hot and it will smoke. Do not get it hot enough and your chicken will take far too long to cook, along with being greasy.
Ideally, you should use one half inch to three quarters of an inch of oil in the pan – you won’t be deep frying your chicken, after all This is also great for other chicken fried dishes like steak, in addition to a country fried chicken recipe. If you use too little oil, the sides will not cook right. Of course, too much will make you feel like your chicken is swimming.
Flouring the chicken can be done by putting your chicken into a paper bag that is strong enough to hold it and dropping it in just a few pieces at a time. Shake the bag and the chicken is well coated. This method is not messy and coats the chicken well.
You can also use the shallow dish method of coating chicken by placing flour and spices into a pie pan or other dish and rolling them. This is messier, but allows you to see what you are doing.
You will need to remember to work with the amount of chicken listed in your recipe for the best result, and to trim fat and excess skin. If you are using chicken that has been deboned or with the skin removed, cooking times are going to be a lot different. These kinds of chicken cook faster, and you will have to reduce frying time to make sure the chicken does not get dry. Whole birds and bone in chicken take longer, and you may want to use a meat thermometer to tell you when they are done.
Zac Brown Band