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Harte

How TO fry chicken

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Harte

I fry chickens often. Here's how I do it, starting with a whole chicken.

Get the chicken out of the packaging. Take the giblets out and rinsr the inside and outside of the chicken with running tap water.

Pull out the large chunks of fat that are always there because they want to charge you for them:

100_2426.jpg.20e60f4b6bb89d986578ae634533b156.jpg

Examine the chicken closely and pull out the feathers that are usually left on them by "modern" processing methods.

100_2427.jpg.0e442fb4f10d435ba6101ccebf4afe7b.jpg

next post - start the butchery.

 

 

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Harte

Start with the wingtips. Those are useless for this application and only make your wing stand up in the pan out of the frying oil.

Find this joint:

100_2428.jpg.3dc21c8c9a738bba3331a52731f2c3fe.jpg

And slice right through it:

100_2429.jpg.e5bcd8ba283d1cd5561dabab547a7340.jpg

Then do this for the other wing.

Comtinued

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Harte

Feel around near the top of the breast. You'll find a spot where the breastbone ends, just about where you see my fingers below:

100_2430.jpg.29395ef8b599e0bc648ecda0f3f3be05.jpg

Take your knife (I use a chef's knife, you use whatever you got but, please, no steak knives, and make a cut straight down, just north of the bone, until you hit another bone.

100_2433.jpg.919cff904bcc9b5037a4dfbef37c3c02.jpg

Continued

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Harte

Once you're on bone, turn the blade towards the top of the chicken and cut forward until you reach another bone - helps to lift the cut piece a little once you get going on this cut:

100_2434.jpg.65f7480b1a91fe6add5b5d3cedd4c397.jpg

You'll need to cut right at the shoulder on both sides to free the end of this piece. It contains the wishbone, which is attached on the interior of the two shoulder bones, so free the outside first, then delve with your knive on the inside edge of the shoulder bone you've exposed - both sides - and you should be able to lift the piece off. Takes a little practice.

Don't be surprised, BTW, if the wishbone is broken - often happens in processing anyway so if you broke it, it's safe to tell your diners that it came that way.

Now, with the wishbone removed, turn your attention to the legs.

I like to pull the skin back from the legs onto the breast before I make this cut. This is because I want as much skin on each piece as I can get and, if you're not careful here, your breast pieces will only have a tiny strip of skin on them. So, I do this:

100_2435.jpg.8a7eeecefce2af575fafbbcf82476c0e.jpg

Continued

Edited by Harte

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Harte

Once you have the skin pulled back, make a cut through it up on the thigh. The thigh has a bunch of skin on it on the other side, so leaving this side almost naked of skin is fine:

100_2436.jpg.cd310dc707d95ae582d079b810a39edf.jpg

I use that cut to guide me when I'm cutting the skin loose from the thogh.

To remove the leg and thigh, you need to hold the leg up and cut along the thigh meat on the other side, and cut through the skin at the bottom of the thigh as well:

100_2438.jpg.574f83dc8703903a2535b260f8953627.jpg

Here I show you to hold the leg quarter up to reveal where to make those cuts I just mentioned.

After the skin is freed, you should simply bend the leg quarter backwards, freeing the hip joint. Break the thigh bone out, then get the knife behind it and cut the rest of the way through.

Repeat for the other leg quarter.

Continued

Edited by Harte

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Harte

Here's a neat trick for cutting the drumstick off the thigh. Lay the leg quarter on the board skin side down. Find the little line of fat I'm pointing at here:

100_2440.jpg.c286ee835fa97a1c770cecff93326927.jpg

Put your knife just on the drumstick side of that line, and you should be able to cut clean through the joint without hitting bone.

100_2441.jpg.b3f56ac12ce1325094ed8ca1044375df.jpg

Repeat with the other leg quarter.

Continued

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Harte

I should say right now that I have part of my counter covered with wax paper to receive the chicket pieces. I always lay them skin side down. I can explain why later - right now I'm in a hurry.

I need to finish this thing before the boy wakes up from his nap.

On to the wings.

You need to cut the wing off starting at the chicken's armpit, dot the front of the wing.

So, lift up a wing

100_2443.jpg.46266ed5bd47e1dc68c7c968d5e317ef.jpg

and make this cut:

100_2444.jpg.b96e1e71669452e50ac177a12eea6bc4.jpg

Once you've done that, you should be able to work your knife in there and free up the rest of the wing.

Several bones meet at this point, so use your eyes and the knife tip to try and cut through only the cartilage.

Then cut through the skin on the other side.

If you want, you can fancy up your wing by cutting a piece of breast off with it when you do that.

Repeat with the other wing.

Continued

 

Edited by Harte
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Harte

With the carcass laying on it's side, look at where you made that first cut in the armpit.

There is a hole there for you to find. I'm pointing at it here:

100_2449.jpg.4f551eb5e7991b6fb38137520e97b835.jpg

Find it and stick your finger in it like this:

100_2450.jpg.c0dffc80ed5880e9988c0cc956250895.jpg

This opens the hole up some so you can get your knife in there.

continued

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Harte

Now, stick the blade into the hole, and slice straight down the middle of the side like this:

100_2451.jpg.d5fd1bff963803a4671f29fee191a794.jpg

The front and back ribs are joined by cartilage on a chicken, and are not single rib bones, which makes this easier. If you iss this line of cartilage between the two sets of ribs, it's okay. The ribs are delicate and you can cut through them.

Just go slowly here so you don't drag the ribcage out of the chicken. Then, take a look at the other side from the inside, now that you can, and see the cartilage connections I was talking about that you were supposed to cut through.

Then cut the other side from the other hole in a like manner, and you end up with:

100_2452.jpg.77f4da82c866611ddbc5aa1daee56020.jpg

You are ready to separate the breasts from the backs.

continued.

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Harte

I just bend them backwards and pull them apart. But if you did a poor job on the wishbone or the wings, you might still have some connections there that you'll need to cut through.

Here they are separated:

100_2455.JPG.dea6e57a9dfcf3575c9c2b6b2cf81f2c.JPG

Continued

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Harte

Take the backs in your hand and sort of squeeze the ribcage together a little bit. Like this:

100_2456.2.jpg.9da475358a7e7be5a23cee24ad750c6c.jpg

While holding the ribs in place, make a cut on each side of the back along the top rib, like this:

100_2456.jpg.5914c3d6814f44a03cb514ea124665e4.jpg

continued

 

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Harte

Flip the back piece over, and make a cut across it from the top of one of the previous cuts to the top of the other one, down into the bone a little. It helps if you can angle this cut slightly(top of knife leaning a little toward the back part that doesn't have the tail on it.)

Here's the cut:

100_2457.jpg.484e8fd6a6da6c4d411048a35e99251c.jpg

Once you do this, you should be able to separate these two back pieces by bending them together (skin side out) until the backbone separates. You might have to cut through the gap formed in the backbone to finish it off.

Here' what my favorite back piece looks like:

100_2458.jpg.2387476fb084197f52704e905b0c92b6.jpg

See that red stuff? You might want to scoop it out. I never do unless it smells bad, but I like to live dangerously.

The kidneys are in there (which I like.) But kidneys could contain some buildup of whatever in the hell they feed these modern giant fryers so make your own choice here.

Note the tail at the bottom of the piece. This is called "the Pope's nose." It's one of my favorite things and the main reason I always start with whole chickens.

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Harte

Flip the breast over skin side down. There's usually some fat covering up what you need to see

You can see it here:

100_2460.jpg.2dc114fbbeb73ccda6870fb392798d8b.jpg

Scrape this out with your utility fingernail:

100_2461.jpg.8467d925b024d5832b48efe98928b82c.jpg

Take note of the white cartilage in the middle of what looks like a wishbone (it's not, as you already know.)

That's where you'll make your next cut.

continued

 

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Harte

So, make the cut into that white cartilage I was talking about. Like this:

100_2462.jpg.dcf55113d0a0dd46051446c7e07f2a07.jpg

The cut is unnecessary if you're going to leave the breast bone (aka keelbone) in, which I always do. It provides support for the piece when I'm turning it in the pan. Also helps keep the breast moist.

I include it here for good reason though. Once this cut is made, you can work your fingers around each side of the keelbone (that red bone in the center of the pic,) spread the two sides apart a little, and lift the keelbone and attached cartilage right out of the breasts. Easy peasy and good to know if you're trying to get some boneless breasts. Once you do that, you can simply pull out the little bones in the sides of the breasts, though you will have a little trouble removing the bones in the shoulders. Then, voila! SKIN ON boneless breasts. Handy for chicken Kiev, etc.

However, if you're just frying chicken, pull the skin on the skin side toward both sides to make it come out evenly distributed, then place the sharp edge of the blade on the centerline of the keelbone

100_2463.jpg.84ce5217817bb372c4f6ddbcf6ff838a.jpg

and give it a whack with the heel of your palm (other hand - don't cut yourself.)

continued

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Harte

Once you do that, you can cut straight through to the other side. Being careful with the skin, I always try to doublecheck that both sides have equal amounts before I cut through the skin:

100_2464.jpg.9377a03c99408316d6d83fd82c9bc2b5.jpg

Here's the setup with one chicken done. You'll note there are eleven pieces, not counting the neck and giblets (which always count for me.)

100_2465.jpg.1a1a17d5c8a142302d7283107e5add2f.jpg

This is the way my Mama always did it, so I like it. Plus, the breast are a little smaller because the wishbone piece was removed, making for a better pan fit when frying.

Continued

Edited by Harte
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Harte

I do all the above in about 5 minutes time. You might take a little longer, but after a few chcikens you'll be as fast as me. This method is actually quick and simple. It just seems long because of the format required in this forum.

In fact, it's so easy even a child can do it, if you trust them with a knife:

100_2466.jpg.eba63dae08900f2f105c099ceebcf968.jpg

As you can see, this day I did two chickens.

contnued

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Harte

Now that you've done the butchering, you're ready for the next step - seasoning.

Yeah, I know everyone says season your flour. Well, I'm not everyone. When I fry chicken, I fry a lot of chicken. Sometimes I run out of chicken before I run out of seasoned flour. This is not a tragedy, but it is a pain to get out more flour and seasoning with raw chicken and caked-on wet flour all over your fingers. You have to wash first, then dirty up your fingers all over again.

So, what I do is season BOTH the chicken AND the flour. That way, if I'm low on the breading, I can maybe dump a little more flour in carefully without washing up first.

Here's what I use for seasoning:

100_2467.jpg.b5df5118949703040a8e10c1a4620464.jpg

I used to use several different ones, like onion powder, garlic powder, maybe some thyme, etc, but I found this stuff - Cavender's (claims to be Greek, but Cavenders is not a Greek name.) That's some good stuff right there and now I use it on practically everything (meatwise) that I cook. The others are salt and pepper - though the Cavenders has plenty of salt already. I haven't used pre-ground pepper in over 30 years, BTW.

I mentioned I lay the pieces skin side down. This is to help ensure that the skin side has plenty of liquid on it because I want the breading to stick. So, I season the skinless side, then flip and season the skin side, then immediately start breading.

Seasoned chicken:

100_2468.jpg.59c20c87a8bf14dc7ccaf55949b9a956.jpg

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Harte

I put the flour in a pan and season it well - but I don't use Cavenders here unless I'm in a hurry because it's more expensive. Usually, I'll use a couple or three tablespoons of onion powder, about half that much garlic powder, a tablespoon or two of fresh black pepper and a bunch of salt.

Too much salt? Doubt it. Go taste the Colonel's original style if you want to know what too much salt is like.

Once the breading is mixed up, put the chicken in and press down, flip and repeat:

100_2469.jpg.7fb4f39df645985bd28213e9de7bbc14.jpg

My pan holds more than a couple of small pieces.

100_2470.jpg.d3e4768ca16b95af45ae97b06296e0e6.jpg

I have two of those pans, both have cheap plastic lids. They are meant to be disposable, but I've been using them (exclusively for various breadings) for a couple of years now no problem. I got tired of using the smaller containers I had.

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Harte

When you're breading, you'll notice there's quite a bit of water all over your wax paper. This is a good reason for making a bunch of seasoned flour. I just hand-dump some breading over the puddles as I uncover them, and then lay the breaded piece of chicken (skin side down) on the breading:

100_2471.jpg.91c3e060ed385b5eadd27f0505b6aa7b.jpg

Once all the chicken is breaded, you can start frying. But, if you got an early enough start, you can let it rest 20-30 minutes. You'll find that the liquid on the chicken has soaked through the breading. This is a good thing. You can then re-bread the pieces for an extra crunchy coating.

When my pans are ready to fry, I transfer the chicken to the oven on a paper plate with more breading on it:

100_2472.jpg.000588761f82204d110ab008d4d94383.jpg

continued

Edited by Harte
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Harte

Speaking of pans, I use cast iron exclusively. Use it and you'll find out why. I've got 5 skillets, two smallish (10 in) two medium (12 in) and one huge one that won't fit on any burner I have.

I'd love to use the two 12 inch pans, but my wife bought this stove when I was at work and it only has one big burner. She doesn't consider much beyond price when she makes a purchase.

Except when she's buying beer.

100_2473.jpg.df47ccec3f891304e85483a37e360120.jpg

So, here's a 12 inch and a 10 inch skillet on two different sized burners, making this a tricky job for me. Hope you have a better setup.

Both skillets have the same level of canola oil in them - about an inch, maybe a little less.

How do I know they are the same? I use a pattern found on the back of the flatwear we use:

100_2474.jpg.5defd02a876060452027a78543c4e7be.jpg

Continued

Edited by Harte

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Harte

I pre-heat the oil in the pans. Look at the surface at an angle to see the glare from an overhead light. When the surface appears to be roiling, you're ready to fry.

This is sort of an iffy proposition, so feel free to use a thermometer. You need at least 365 degrees, but no more than 370.

For my crappy stove, that's a setting of:

100_2476.jpg.853674811fbaa0dad00b0dddeab7fa96.jpg

For about 10 to 15 minutes.

Put your chicken in skin side down. Below you see the limits of what I can do in one batch. You don't want to crowd the pan too much because the chicken won't be as crisp:

100_2477.jpg.02ce282ea9c3aa3ec52407b4a3c4c34f.jpg

This is what some consider to be weird. I fry for 7 minutes on a side, five times for dark meat and 4 times for white.

I use a timer and flip the pieces right on time.

continued

Edited by Harte
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You can see here that I let my oil get a little too warm. This is why the 7 minutes. In case I've screwed up, I can catch it before it goes too far.

100_2478.jpg.dc4a511bc10c2f913c630ea1050f7ac3.jpg

Once seven minutes has passed, the oil isn't gonna be too hot anymore. But if you get too dark a color, you can ease the temp down a little once you flip the pieces. After all, it's only seven minutes and you can adjust later if needed.

Sometimes the breading is barely colored at all. That's fine, remember you have another round on that side - the skin side - before it's over (white meat) and two more rounds (for dark meat.)

Skin side down is fried first. The skin is the "presentation side," so you want the pan to be pristine on the first fry of that side.

Check it out after it's turned:

100_2479.jpg.4ec8f32ffaa51c979501d9f815c4ad23.jpg

That's the smaller pan. The other pic is the larger one.

continued

Edited by Harte
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Harte

The steps above are repeated. Remember - 7 minutes per side 4 times (in other words, two fryings each side) for white meat and 5 times (three fryings for the skin side, two for the other side) for dark.

That might be a little overcooked, but it helps me with catching mistakes like I said, and it makes the breading crispier too.

Most recipes will tell you 25 minutes or so. That's about what I do white meat for (28 minutes,) but I do the dark for 35.

It's done before then though, if you're in a hurry.

I fry a lot of chicken, so it has to go somewhere to make room for the next batch.

I rig up a glass baking dish with newspaper and paper towels like so:

100_2480.jpg.713904bc6e87a294038906df8bd7dee9.jpg

In the meantime, I'm heating my oven to 200 degrees F. When the first batch is done, into this pan it goes:

100_2481.jpg.7162493cd7ef77c0359e590e6c73a94d.jpg

And then into the oven until the next batch is ready.

I've come to realize that this resting period in the hot oven is good for two things (other than, obviously, keeping the chicken warm.) It makes the chicken crispier, and the heat helps remove more of the oil from the chicken.

That's all there is to it, other than the eating. I'll make a how-to on that, if enough people request it. My Grandmother showed me how to eat the backs, for example

There IS somewhat of a trick to it, but you can manage it without the tricks if you so desire.

Harte

Edited by Harte
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CrimsonKing

Finished product looks AWESOME!

Now i'm hungry lol,i'll have to give your method a shot one day soon...thanks for sharing :tu:

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and then
1 hour ago, Harte said:

Once you do that, you can cut straight through to the other side. Being careful with the skin, I always try to doublecheck that both sides have equal amounts before I cut through the skin:

100_2464.jpg.9377a03c99408316d6d83fd82c9bc2b5.jpg

Here's the setup with one chicken done. You'll note there are eleven pieces, not counting the neck and giblets (which always count for me.)

100_2465.jpg.1a1a17d5c8a142302d7283107e5add2f.jpg

This is the way my Mama always did it, so I like it. Plus, the breast are a little smaller because the wishbone piece was removed, making for a better pan fit when frying.

Continued

I'm really impressed, Harte... You actually watched and learned from your mom when she was doing all that stuff.  Looking back, I really wish that I had.  She always amazed me with her speed in doing this, mixing up a dip and flour mixture to dust it with before dropping it in grease that was the PERFECT temp to make it crispy.

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