How To Use Science To Make Perfect Southern Fried Chicken
Southern Cooking Tricks: Fried Chicken
Southern fried chicken is not rocket science. This is what you have undoubtedly been told by family members every time you marvel at their recipes. These southern recipes are a simple staple of many homes and are relatively easy to make. However, the perfect batch of fried chicken still relies on a precise science. This brief guide on southern cooking tricks for frying chicken will look at how science creates a perfect crispy chicken.
1) How To Make The Meat Juicy Before You Start Cooking
A great southern fried chicken recipe is mostly about the coating and flavors, but this can be ruined with dry meat. Ideally, you want your meat to be as juicy and mouth-watering as possible. This process all starts when you are marinading the chicken to soak up the flavors. The scientific ingredient here is saltwater. You don’t want your chicken to taste like it has come out the ocean, but extra salt does help. Salt turns the marinade into a brine solution that helps to break down the proteins in the muscles. The result is more water retention and juicier chicken.
2) How To Create A Nice Light, Crunchy Crust On Your Coating
There are many ingredients that immediately come to mind when thinking of Southern cooking tricks for fried chicken. Vodka is one of them. A little vodka in the marinade (2 tablespoons) will help to dry out the mixture faster as it is cooking. This means that the coating doesn’t stay soggy or greasy when serving the meal. Don’t worry that this will make the dish alcoholic. The vodka evaporates with the water when cooking. It just happens to do so at a much faster rate. This fast action also creates vapor bubbles, allowing for greater surface areas of tasty crust. Also, vodka inhibits the formation of gluten, stopping the coating from getting chewy.
3) How To Make Sure That This Coating Is Extra Crispy
Vodka in the marinade is a good start, but you can do more here. The flour coating of your dredging mixture is important for adding that extra layer of crunch and spice. The misconception here is that drier mixtures make the lightest, crispiest coating. A little liquid in the mixture helps a lot here. Sticky clumps of mixture cling to the chicken and dry out during the frying process. This creates a thick, crunchy coating with the perfect texture. The best way to do this is to add a little marinade to the flour mixture. This will add more flavor than water.
4) How To Get Extra Crispy Chicken Without Overcooking The Meat
The last of these scientific southern cooking tricks for frying chicken is probably the one that concerns amateur cooks most. How do you get a deep, crispy coating without overcooking the chicken? The answer is simple: double fry it. Double frying means two short bursts of cooking instead of one drawn out process. Take the chicken out half way, leave it to rest and cool and then put it back in to finish cooking. The meat will stay juicy while the coating dries out entirely.