Chicken Chunks At Home?
May 28, 2012 4:37 PM   Subscribe

How can I re-create chip shop style chicken chunks at home? Specifically I am trying to re-create the kind of fried chicken chunks made at NYC's A Salt And Battery, in general I am trying to get that moist, crunchy, batter-just-pulls-away taste and texture found in fry joints.

I have a very wide and deep pan I use for chip frying and I am pretty experienced in quick frying, shallow frying, etc. I've always just done the chicken up in flour and fried in an inch of veggie oil and its close but not quite there. I suspect I am missing a few steps and refinements. What am I missing?
posted by The Whelk to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Are you brining the chicken first? I was poking around for a link but really, you just soak it in strong salt water overnight before you cook it. Personally, I add lots of salt and a bit of water when I freeze chicken so that it's already brined when I thaw it - piece of cake!

Anyway, that should help a lot with keeping the chicken moist. Sounds like you're more experienced than me at frying, which is where you'd keep the outside crisp...
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:03 PM on May 28, 2012

Deep fry it. It makes a difference.

Buy a frydaddy -- they're super cheap, and they regulate the temperature for you; I used to try to be macho and do it on the stove but this is so much easier and less messy and it's kind of embarrassing how much better the results are...
posted by ook at 5:10 PM on May 28, 2012

Try frying twice at two different temps, similar to how Alton Brown recommends you cook French fries.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:11 PM on May 28, 2012

This is sort of on point.
posted by timsteil at 5:33 PM on May 28, 2012

I think a recent ask.mefi got me to this site a few days ago.
These chicken strips look close, no?
posted by calgirl at 6:49 PM on May 28, 2012

I've got two methods for you to try - you decide.

1. Put your chicken pieces in a baggie with salt, pepper, some garlic powder and a cup of buttermilk. Add a couple shots of Tabasco if you like it. Refrigerate overnight. When you're ready to cook, mix 2/3 cup self-rising flour with 1/3 cup of yellow cornmeal, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the mix and let them set on a plate in the fridge while your oil is heating up. If they are soggy at all when you take them out of the fridge, dredge again, shake off the excess, and drop them one at a time into the 375 degree oil. Cook white meat about six minutes; boneless thigh pieces take about ten minutes. I like to put these on a rack on a pan in a 350 degree oven while the second batch is cooking.

2. This is easier. Salt and pepper the raw chicken on both sides. Roll in plain flour, dip in beaten egg, and then dredge in cracker meal. Fry at 375 degrees until golden brown, about six minutes for white meat, and about eight minutes for dark meat. Cracker meal is the flour that crackers are made from, not ground up crackers. It comes in a box.

Hope one of these gets you closer to the results you're looking for.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:57 PM on May 28, 2012

America's Test Kitchen has pretty good tips on how to get a good batter on chicken for frying. I've used their "extra crunchy fried chicken" recipe several times and always to great success.

They start with 3 3/4 cups of buttermilk and 3 tablespoons of salt mixed until the salt dissolves, and then you soak the chicken in that for an hour. Not longer, or the chicken will get too salty.

The breading is 5 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Mix that together, then add to it 3/4 cup buttermilk, and use your hands to kind of rub all this together until the mixture resembles course wet sand.

Take the chicken out of the buttermilk soak, and drop a piece into the breading mixture and then use your hands to press breading onto the chicken so it sticks. Once coated, put the chicken piece on a wire rack to rest while you bread all the other pieces.

Heat 1" of oil in a dutch oven to at least 375 degrees. (Temperature is important -- too cold and it doesn't work right.) Put in the chicken (enough to form a single layer in the pan with a bit of room around each piece) and THEN COVER IT to cook for about 10 minutes. (Less if you're using thin, boneless chicken pieces.)

Uncover it, turn the pieces over, and cook uncovered for about 5-7 minutes more. Drain the pieces on paper towels and put in a 200 degree oven to keep warm while you cook the rest. Be sure to let the oil come back up to temperature before you start the second batch. (Add more oil if needed, too.)

Every batch of this I've made has come out crispy on the outside and incredibly moist and flavorful on the inside.
posted by hippybear at 8:18 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]

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