Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bon Appétit's Fried Chicken

Bon Appetit Fried Chicken
So this should be my last post in a (unintentional) series on deep frying that, somewhat paradoxically, started when I realized the thermostat on my deep fryer was broken. In fact, I suppose it's not so hard to guess why I've been frying a lot these past few weeks... I wanted to see how hard it was to live life without a deep fryer. Now, that I've skillet fried some chicken using a recipe from Bon Appétit I can say testing is complete. The main issue with the process sans deep fryer is the need to hover over the oil to make sure it doesn't get too hot... and as that can take 10-20 minutes it's not an insignificant hassle. A big enough hassle to own a distinct appliance that either needs a place on the counter or a place to be stored? Not for me and my small apartment kitchen, but as they say here on the internets: YMMV. I suppose if I wasn't so OCD I could just buy a cheap candy thermometer that clips on the side instead of taking a temperature with the Thermapen every two and a half minutes... but that's just not how I'm wired.

So how was the recipe? Absolutely fantastic and I totally recommend it. The skin was perfectly crisp and nicely spiced... a little heat so that you notice it, but not so much it overwhelms. I also found it easy to execute for someone who has never tried to make fried chicken at home before. Yes that's right, despite growing up below the the Mason-Dixon line (barely) mine was not a family that had a cherished fried chicken recipe passed down through generations. Nor have I had much fried chicken outside of KFC or Popeye's as a youth. So I can't even guess how it compares to your grandmother's recipe (though I suspect favorably), but it's especially great for those of us trying to build our own culinary heritage from scratch.

No special notes about the recipe... as I said, I found it basically flawless. You'll notice I did not do the frying in a cast iron pan, and I would not worry about it if you don't have one. My oil temperature didn't drop below about 315 °F, and I suppose if you were especially worried you could do smaller batches.

Frying Chicken