fried chicken recipes needed
April 28, 2007 9:24 PM   Subscribe

Fried chicken recipes for an upcoming Kentucky Derby party please. Extra points for ones that can be done on a grill. Extra extra if less likely to kill my older guests via a massive MI...thank-you.
posted by docpops to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Ummmm...fried chicken on a grill?
posted by ColdChef at 9:40 PM on April 28, 2007

And by that I mean, if you intend to heat a pot of grease over a conventional grill, you're going to have a really difficult time maintaining the proper heat.
posted by ColdChef at 9:41 PM on April 28, 2007

Obligatory Good Eats Fried Chicken recipe.

I am as baffled as ColdChef about wanting to fry chicken on a grill.
posted by mmascolino at 9:50 PM on April 28, 2007

Ya, please clarify... You want grilled chicken or fried chicken?
posted by The Deej at 9:51 PM on April 28, 2007

I know it sounds absurd - I hate the idea of frying chicken in my house, i.e. the stink, spatter, etc. So is there a way to approximate the look/feel/taste of fried chicken but grill it instead? Or is it possible, using a gas grill, to fry it in some sort of contraption that would sit on the burners?
posted by docpops at 9:57 PM on April 28, 2007

You can get propane gas burners for outdoor cooking and deep-fry in a pot or shallow fry in a skillet.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:10 PM on April 28, 2007

You could easily (and pretty cheaply) buy a turkey fryer kit which will connect to the same type of gascock your grill does. Some of these kits come with an aluminum basket for dropping and lifting the food.

Unfortunately, the heat from the burners of a gas grill is just not concentrated enough to heat oil hot enough (or fast enough) to cook fried chicken properly.

I think you're either stuck with decidedly grilled flavor or actually doing some oil boiling.

As far as the health concerns go, just make sure you use healthy oils instead of lard. I use peanut oil, which has a very high smoke point and isn't as bad for you as some of the other cheap fry oils out there. Also, plan on having a rack nearby to drain the fried chicken.
posted by tomierna at 10:11 PM on April 28, 2007

I'm with mmascolino, I can't imagine you could ever get the temperature control you need for fried chicken on a grill. It's surprisingly tricky to get it cooked through without burning.

Really great fried chicken (in this Tennessee girl's opinion) is tricky to do for a crowd under the best of circumstances since it really ought to be shallow fried, preferably in an iron skillet (the Good Eats recipe is very, very much like the one I grew up eating). Since you can only do a few pieces at a time, it's rough to make it for a party. That said, if you need it in quantity, you can do what most restaurants do and cook it in a deep fryer or turkey fryer, either of which could be used outside. The texture won't be as authentic, and you can still have to watch how many pieces you cook at once so that the oil doesn't cool down too much, but it would probably work.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:14 PM on April 28, 2007

I see that you are asking for recipes too.

First off, mix a buttermilk brine and soak the chicken parts in it for at least 8 hours.

Buttermilk brine is just buttermilk and salt, usually 1tbsp/cup. You'll need enough to cover your chicken, though if you use ziploc bags, you'll be able to get away with less since the goal is to cover the chicken completely.

After you've soaked your chicken, put it on a rack in the fridge and let the surface dry out a bit. 1-2 hours tops.

You'll want a well seasoned, craggy, crackling coating.

Cook's Magazine had a really good recipe for doing this a few issues ago, but I can't find that right now.

Basically, though, it comes down to layers.

Coat with cornstarch/flour. Use a ziplock bag to do the coating.

Coat with (well scrambled) egg.

Then, coat with your seasoned coating:

I'd use (for each chicken's worth of parts):

2c Flour
2tbsp Salt
1tbsp (fine ground) Black Pepper
1tbsp Garlic Powder
1tbsp Onion Powder
1tbsp Paprika
1tsp Cayenne
1tsp MSG (Accent)

You can do this in a ziploc (or paper) bag as well.

After you've done the coating, you want to drop them in the hot oil (375° F) pretty soon after. If you don't cook them right away, the salt in the coating will leach the moisture out of the chicken and cause the coating to bubble and fall off.

The MSG isn't required, of course, but it does make a bit difference in my experience.
posted by tomierna at 10:29 PM on April 28, 2007

I'm going to agree and say that deep-frying is a no-go. Honestly, deep-fried chicken is best left to professionals, or the under-paid kid at your local KFC, which ever is available to you.

However, I'm going to buck the nay-sayers (and back martha) and say that you probably could do shallow-fried (and, as a Kentuckian and fellow southern boy, the more authentic) fried chicken on your grill. You will have problems with quantity vs. time, but if you do it like burgers and get 5 or 6 pieces going at a time and have them being handed off to hungry guests as they finish cooking, you should be able to give it a go.

Thanks a bunch. I now have a hankering for shallow-fried chicken and won't be back near my grandmother for another three weeks to get any.
posted by plaidrabbit at 10:35 PM on April 28, 2007

The STINK of fried chicken?!?!?! HUH?!!???? It is the most glorious scent in all of humankind!

Seriously, it doesn't have to be messy. Whether you do it outside or inside, do yourself a favor and buy some food tongs. A couple pair. That cuts WAYYYY down on the splatter. Use one pair to place the uncooked chicken into the oil, and to turn it, and another pair to remove the cooked chicken. This will prevent potential contamination.

If you must do it outside, I agree with the upthread comments about getting a burner for outside. You could also get a large electric frying pan and plug it in to a SAFELY PLACED extension cord. I have no direct experience, but I would recommend against the deep fryers. Too dangerous from what I hear.

As to the actual recipe, I have gotten tons of compliments on a simple recipe I use. I like boneless breasts or tenders, but you can use whatever you want. Dip the chicken in Beano Buffalo Wing Sauce, then cover it thoroughly with flour mixed with some salt, pepper, sugar, and the secret ingredient Johnny's Seasoning Salt. (I have also used Hooters Wing Sauce.)

Another good seasoning is lemon pepper mixed with flour. You can also use lemon pepper directly on the chicken with no flour, and cook it on the grill.
posted by The Deej at 10:41 PM on April 28, 2007

I'm hungry.
posted by The Deej at 10:43 PM on April 28, 2007

My only food weakness....I could live the rest of my life without ever eating another piece of chocolate, but I looove fried chicken! When I married my husband, a Georgia boy, he assured me that his mom's homemade fried chicken was the best, and I was looking forward to that first visit. Hub asked her if she'd be frying any chicken while we were there, and she said, "Oh, I haven't done that in years. There's no need to now that the Colonel and Hardee's are so close by."

posted by Oriole Adams at 10:48 PM on April 28, 2007

plaidrabbit says: hat you probably could do shallow-fried ... ) fried chicken on your grill.

I would strongly recommend that you do not put a frying pan of oil on a grill - it would be too easy for it to catch fire.

If you want to make a lot get say this 35, 000 BTU burner and say this 17" skillet.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:53 PM on April 28, 2007

docpops, surely you will want to provide heart-healthy food for your guests! Dip the chicken pieces in milk and roll them in corn flake crumbs, bake in the oven.
posted by Cranberry at 10:56 PM on April 28, 2007

very similar question a week ago.
posted by jourman2 at 11:07 PM on April 28, 2007

Shallow Pan frying on a grill is possible, but pretty dangerous. Definitely use a burner and skillet like MonkeySaltedNuts suggests, if you wish to go that route.

As far as the outdoor gas-fired fryers being dangerous, well sure they are - but no more dangerous than a fryolator or similar. UL has a bunch of scary videos showing these things going up in flames with overloading or improper use, and that's to punctuate the importance of proper safety while using them. If you decide to buy one, make sure it's a burner with good stability. Give your oil plenty of room to roil - it will need a good four to six inches above where you measured the oil-line will be when you drop your food - you *did* measure the displacement of the food, right? And, for $diety's sake, don't cook under an awning or in your garage or screen porch.

But, whether you decide to shallow-pan-fry or deep fry - and these ways are the only ones which will result in authentic fried chicken short of going to the pros - It's not as hard as it sounds, but it does take a lot of prep work and a lot of post-party cleanup.

I usually pour a bag of kitty litter around my burner to pre-emptively soak up overspill. You need to plan on your oil disposal too - you can filter and re-use the oil until it smells rancid, but you will need to plan that out. You can't filter the oil when it's still boiling hot, but it's hard to filter properly when it's cold. I usually filter through a metal screen strainer with a layer of paper towel or cheesecloth, about an hour after the burner's been turned off.

Immediate oil disposal is an option too, but wasteful considering the ease of re-use. If you must dispose of it, find a friend who makes biodiesel or runs a veggie car!
posted by tomierna at 11:16 PM on April 28, 2007

here is an even bigger (and cheaper) 20" skillet.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:36 PM on April 28, 2007

you can't fry chicken on a grill, silly. you need a big old cast iron chicken fryer like i have...
many people pre-soak their chicken parts in buttermilk/brine, which makes for a crunchier coating, but with a disadvantage - if you're saving some of that chicken for lunch tomorrow, that coating will be soggy after 18 hours in your refrigerator. i just rinse and pat my chicken parts dry, then shake in a bag of cornmeal plus a little chili powder, then i take the chicken out of the bag...
and let it sit on a plate at room temp for a solid hour for the cornmeal to bond to the chicken skin, before frying it in safflower oil. lunchtime tomorrow, my leftover chicken will still be crispy on the outside!
posted by bruce at 12:10 AM on April 29, 2007

As a former summer-job fry cook of Chick-Fil-A, I can personally attest to the extreme amount of pain that mishandled oil can inflict. In my experience, frying in anything but a professional, well-maintained pressure cooker is pretty much an accident waiting to happen.

That said, here is a recipe my mom got from an old lady in her church (and from my experience at a number of pot-luck dinners, it's really good):

"Ms. Beth's Oven Fried Chicken"

(8) "Bone-In" Chicken Breasts
(3 Cups) All Purpose Flour
(1/2 Cup) Dry Powdered Milk
(1/3 Cup) Paprika
Melted Margarine

1. Wash chicken and pat dry
2. Salt and Pepper chicken
3. Mix flour, dry milk and paprika
4. Toss chicken in flour mixture until covered
5. Place chicken on shallow, greased baking pan
6. Brush chicken with melted margarine

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, or until juices run clear
posted by goHermGO at 5:49 AM on April 29, 2007

You want to fry chicken outdoors? USE PROPER EQUIPMENT! Get a Hurricane (mentioned above) and a big-ass wok. Don't fuck around with trying to do this over a grill, it'll only end in tears or death. Hell, I prefer to use the Hurricane + wok technique indoors -- mine's modded for natural gas -- let alone outdoors.

Oh, and don't you dare egg-coat your chicken. Gah, that's just gross.

And to all you people trying to pawn off oven chicken recipes: WTF? Oven chicken is not fried chicken. Our esteemed question-asker did not ask for ghetto-ass imitation pseudo chicken recipes, and it's insulting to offer them. I like me some oven chicken, but pawning it off as somehow a substitute for proper fried chicken is just offensive.
posted by majick at 11:26 AM on April 29, 2007

majick is passionate about chicken.

But, that butter-coated oven recipe sounds good!
posted by The Deej at 11:31 AM on April 29, 2007

Oh please do not add instant skim milk powder to your crunch. Please to instead try grated 1/3 part parmesean, 2/3 white coarsely ground cornmeal. Use whole milk yogurt instead of buttermilk for adhesive. And that will make you a happy person. But please to also try the butter coated and let us know how it turns out!
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:02 PM on April 29, 2007

Whoa! Dude! I never thought of adding Parmesan to the coating! BRILLIANT!
posted by The Deej at 12:12 PM on April 29, 2007

And to cut down on the splatter and mess of swallow frying your chicken, invest in a cheap splatter guard to place over the skillet. That will cut down a lot on the mess in your kitchen and will ease the cleanup.
posted by mmascolino at 12:22 PM on April 29, 2007

I can't believe it took until DenOfSizer for someone to mention cornmeal! I must say, the Kentucky boy in me insists on cornmeal for my fried chicken is shallow-fried, with a buttermilk soak, and a quick roll in a mixture of flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper.

Mmmmmmmm. Tasty!
posted by griffey at 3:03 PM on April 29, 2007

Do not put a shallow skillet full of oil on top of a grill. That's just stupid.

I heartily second the Good Eats recipe. It's as close to the real deal as you will find.

Frying chicken for a large group is a huge pain in the ass if you do not have a process down pat.

And faking it by baking it just won't do.

The road to great fried chicken begins with cast iron, a frying thermometer, and patience. I highly recommend the Ziploc-and-buttermilk approach and I would add that you should take the chicken in sealed bags out of the fridge a couple of hours before you fry it, to bring it up to room temp and dry out a bit. If you've soaked the pieces in buttermilk, there is no need for an egg wash. Use that thermometer CONSTANTLY, every time you add, remove, or turn a batch. Keep the oil at 375. Be prepared to burn a couple of pieces to steel yourself not to turn them too soon. You want those almost burnt bits of crispy concentrated flavor.

I am anti-cornmeal coating, but I suspect that's just cultural bias. Other than that I agree with most of the other suggestions herein, the most important being: cast iron, cast iron, cast iron.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:50 PM on April 29, 2007

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