With the passing of a loved one you start to remember the little things you learned from them. Today I am dedicating this writing to my dad who passed away a week ago and loved his fried chicken.
So today’s topic is Chicken, fried, grilled and ummm…corn! My dad loved fried chicken and grilled chicken, as a kid any time I went to his house he had fried chicken in the fridge and if it was running low he was making more! He was a great grill cook too.
The best way to grill corn on the cob – soak it in ice cold water for an hour before hand, leaving the stalk attached but peeling it back gently so you can replace it back around the corn, and add some butter to the corn too, before you grill it. That trick will give you the juiciest corn on the cob. I will never forget when my dad taught me that trick and now even my in-laws grill it that way and always credit that great corn back to my dad.
Chicken was almost his passion; he had chicken down to an art. So, what makes a good fried chicken you ask? The seasonings are key, the breading is important and the hot oil makes it all come together. The seasonings are simple for a good batter. Add into your flour onion powder, garlic powder and a little pepper. You can add little or lots but for me it is lots. If I am frying up approx 4 breasts, or wings equal to about that, I’ll put in a tablespoon of each. Since my days of learning this though I have now transitioned into fresh ingredients so today I would press in about 4 to 6 large garlic cloves and about half an onion. If you chop your onion small you can then press it in and the juices will flavor your batter. If you want your chicken a little crunchier mix in corn meal with your flour, half and half to heavier on the corn meal. You don’t need an exact science on these mixtures, start with a small amount of everything and then if you run out you can mix up more. Get creative too; add herbs of your liking rosemary, oregano and basil are all good compliments to chicken.
Now you are ready to coat your chicken. This is where you will need patience, or at least I do. Crack open a couple eggs in a bowl and beat them and pour either some cream or milk in a bowl. Now for the assembly line to get your chicken ready to fry. At this time you want to make sure you have a pan of oil heating up on the stove. Place enough oil in the bottom of a deep pan so it will come up to about half the depth of the chicken, heat it on high and before you put your chicken in the oil it must be hot. Get a little bit of water on your finger tips and fling it on the oil, if it crackles, pops or sizzles then your oil is hot enough. Oh and it is a good idea to have some tongs or a couple forks ready too because you will be flipping these over in the hot oil.
For my assembly line I dip the raw chicken into the flour mix, then into the egg (or you can brush it on lightly) then into the milk and then back into the flour mix. On this second flour dip you should make sure you coat it thick. The egg and the milk will help the flour stick to it. Some dip their chicken into the egg first, some the milk first and some the flour first, for me I do flour, egg, milk then flour because it just works for me. You need to find the way it works for you because the only right way is the way that works for you. This is where my patience is sometimes tested, if I am doing a lot I get sloppy on the dipping and don’t coat it well which I guess is okay too though because we don’t like a lot of breading on our chicken.
As you get a piece coated place it in the oil. Continue this process until you have finished. As the chicken cooks you will see the sides start to brown, this is when you flip it. If needed you can turn the heat down now to ensure the inside of the chicken gets cooked and the outside doesn’t burn. A trick to know when it is done is always cook an extra piece (your first piece) because then you can cut it in half to ensure it is no longer pink inside and that will allow you to gauge the timing of all the following pieces. Then this extra piece can later me shredded or cut up for another dish. Viola you have fried chicken.
Grilling is an art form in its own, personally I suck at it. But I can offer this knowledge; grilled chicken will still be kind of pink inside. It is probably best to use a meat thermometer to ensure the inside of the chicken is at 160 degrees and then you can let it rest for 5 minutes or so and the temp will settle at 165 degrees.
It sounds like a lot of work but once you get thru it a time or two you’ll be able to knock it out in no time. Enjoy some chicken tonight!