Southern-Style Fried Chicken

I watch a lot of Paula Dean. On top of the fact that I really like her food, I feel like she would be awesome to hang out with!  But seriously, one of the things that appeals to me most about her cooking is she is in no way, shape or form concerned about calories.  I mean, I get it: people can’t eat like this everyday.  Most people at least(I myself am blessed with the metabolism of a butterfly), but in my opinion, festive dining occasions are no venue for skimping on goodness.  I’m sure there are plenty of people who are saying to themselves “Gee Jay, are you saying you can’t cook delicious food in a healthy manner?” And thats not what im saying at all, but I AM saying that the vast majority of those dishes could often times, in some way, be made better.  With calories.

          Ok, so enough of my rant.  On to the chicken.  Personally when it comes to fried chicken I prefer boneless.  I know, you cant get the flavor of bloody bones and tendons and all the other weird business on a chicken thigh by using boneless, I understand that and I agree, but I’ve never really gotten over that to be honest.  After a few scotches I’ll be tearing into those thighs like a banshee on the moors, but I’m iffy about those thighs…  However, today is no day for worrying about that business.  Today is a day to make it like they’ve been makin it in the south, and trust me they know their fried foods down there.  So, we started by hacking up some leg quarters into pieces as uniform as possible and gave them a good soak in heavily seasoned buttermilk for about 3 hours, but overnight would have been much better.  Buttermilk is the traditional way to go, because of a few things: 

1: It’s delicious.  2: Fat carries flavor very well.  3: The acidity tenderizes the chicken. 

            It seems like a lot of fried chicken recipes call for egg batter, breadcrumbs, tempura, corn meal etc., but the southern style is simple.  Out of the buttermilk, into the flour(also heavily seasoned), pack it on there and then let it rest for about half an hour.  I tried to get a good amount of flour packed onto the chicken pieces because thats the way to achieve that deep and crunchy texture we are going for.                          

Another key thing that they insist on in the south is using a heavy bottomed iron skillet.  The reason is that when you drop food in hot oil, you want the oil to maintain its temperature as much as possible.  If it drops too low, then the coating, whatever it may be will start to absorb oil, rather than seal up creatiing a nice solid crust.  So we used about 3/4 inch of crisco (vegetable oil will do) and started frying away.  Basically you just keep an eye on them until they get a nice deep golden, turn them as necessary and use your judgement.  It’s kind of hard to overcook fried chicken this way.  After that, we cooled them on a wire rack, so as they cooled they werent sitting in grease, and held them in a 200 degree oven while we finished the rest.  And the results were great!  A really nice, super flavorful crunchy crust and moist in the middle.  Not much more you could ask for.  For the seasoning of the buttermilk and flour I used the same for both: Dry mustard, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, some type of “poultry seasoning” and cayenne.  Don’t be shy!  Remember that very little of this flavor is actually going to stick to the chicken so you can be a little heavy-handed.  Enjoy :-)


~ by Chest Rockaway on April 19, 2010.

3 Responses to “Southern-Style Fried Chicken”

  1. mmmm looks and sounds yummy!!!

  2. […] } Using methods from southern fried chicken, and these tasty little potato tarts   Great superbowl […]

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