Who doesn’t love fried chicken? If you don’t, well, then maybe you can skip this post. For the rest of you, we’ll be trying out Alton Brown’s Fried Chicken from Good Eats episode “Fry Hard 2: The Chicken (Fried)”. To try this recipe out yourself, you can grab the recipe at the Food Network website, but you’ll want to watch the episode on Netflix, Amazon Video, or one of the cooking networks to get step-by-step instructions from the man himself.
For our meal, we ended up with about 22.5 ounces of chicken, excluding bones and this will vary from meal to meal, depending on the size of the chicken you buy. Why do we mention this? Well, because we’re going to give you nutritional information for this meal at the end and we just want you to know that the values will vary depending on how much chicken you use. But first, here are our lessons learned from preparing this meal…
Eric’s Tips & Tricks For Alton Brown’s Fried Chicken
- If you care about the nutritional information for your meal, here’s a handy tip. Weigh all ingredients in ounces before assembly, then weigh ingredients left over after cooking to achieve accurate calorie numbers.
- Soak in buttermilk for 24 hours, with a couple pinches of salt, flipping the chicken once. I prefer two Ziploc bags rather than a plastic container. Make sure to get as much air out as possible so the chicken has maximum contact with the buttermilk. The added salt will help the buttermilk permeate the chicken.
- Drain the chicken and let it come to room temp before cooking. It will cook faster that way.
- Once the vegetable shortening melts in the skillet, turn the heat up to medium high until the temperature of the fat comes to 350 degrees, then turn down to medium and add chicken — Alton does not mention this, but it’s essential to turn the heat down or else the breading will burn. Alton says to turn the heat up when turning the pieces after 12 minutes of cooking, and that’s correct; turn up to medium high again for a few minutes to let the fat come back up to temp, then back down to medium.
- Five minutes before the dish is supposed to be done, start temping the chicken with an insta-read thermometer. Most times the chicken will already be at or around 180 degrees and will not require more cooking.
- Be sure to find a smaller chicken to use–a maximum of 3 and 1/2 pounds. The smaller pieces will cook thoroughly without having to worry about burning the outer edges. It’s difficult to find smaller chickens in the store these days; most top out at around 4 and 1/2 pounds. This is just too big! Do some digging in the poultry section and you should be able to find at least one smaller one like I did. Also, avoid pre-cut chicken packs. Larger chickens are used in these packs also, and cutting up your own is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. Plus, nothing beats being able to bite into a fried chicken breast without having to worry about any bones.
Here’s what we ate…
Nel: 1 drumstick, 1 breast, corn, and coleslaw
Eric: 1 breast, 1 thigh, corn with tomatoes, and coleslaw
The corn was fried in a bit of butter from a bag of frozen cut corn. The coleslaw was made from Robert Irvine’s coleslaw recipe at the Food Network website.
Like most couples, we like to converse as we eat dinner and this meal was no different.
Nel: “This is so crispy. ”
Nel: “Perfectly cooked. So juicy and tender.”
Nel: “Colonel Sanders, eat your heart out…”
At this point, Eric actually came up for air and said something with actual words…
Eric: “Mmmm, oh man, so yummy. You can really taste the smoked paprika in the seasoning.”
Ok, we didn’t say we were great conversationalists, but as you can see, we both really enjoyed this meal.
We’ve been trying to be more health conscious, but hey, you know, sometimes you have to live a little. So, here’s the approximate nutritional information for Alton Brown’s Fried Chicken.
22.5 ounces of fried chicken made about 6 servings
334 calories per serving
24g fat (ouch)
Eric’s Rating: (4 out of 5 Plates)
Nel’s Rating: (4 out of 5 Plates)
This fried chicken is crispy and, oh, so satisfying. It’s better than any fast food chicken we’ve tried. The only drawbacks are the calories and fat, but… hey, it’s fried chicken.
Will we be making this recipe again? Yes!
If you’ve tried Alton Brown’s Fried Chicken recipe, please leave your tips, tricks, and comments below in our comments section.