Summer in January

Sittin’ in the backyard, tunes playin’, drinkin’ beer, eatin’ fried chicken. Oh man, can’t you just feel the sunshine and the grass between your toes? That’s what we need RIGHT NOW. We need that taste of summer. We need that culinary thaw. We need that greasy getaway. We need fried chicken!

Admittedly, with all the oil and frying smell and everything, fried chicken isn’t the easiest meal to produce but here’s the thing — while sitting around with a group of friends the other night, I mentioned that I was going to be frying chicken and simultaneously three people exclaimed,   “did you say fried chicken?” So it’s worth the hassle.

And really it’s not that big a deal. Here’s my tips for relatively spontaneous, delicious fried chicken.

• Brining the chicken or soaking in buttermilk is great but completely unnecessary if you are using fresh, young chicken like Sanagan’s fryers.

• Whole wings, thighs, drums and breasts, cut in two across their length, (this equals 10 pieces out of one chicken) will all cook in about the same time.

 • A wok will contain splattering better than a frying pan. A frying pan, however, will accommodate more pieces at once. 

• It’s better to fry in batches than crowd the pan.  

• Canola or peanut oil will work fine and minimize odors to but don’t underestimate the extra delectability of pure unprocessed lard like we make here at Sanagan’s

• An instant read thermometer will help prevent burning or undercooking your chicken.  

• Observe all common sense safety considerations when working with   hot oil or fat, i.e. shorts and bare feet may not be the best idea.  

FRIED CHICKEN

1. Cut a fryer chicken into 10 pieces (see above) or use precut chicken pieces. DO NOT dry pieces with paper towel. Leave them moist.

2. Mix 1 cup flour, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper in a paper or plastic bag. For more flavour you can also season the chicken pieces directly, prior to coating them in flour.

3. A couple at a time, toss chicken pieces in the bag to coat. Shake excess flour from chicken and place on rack to “set” the coating. This rest can be anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes before frying. If, after the set, the flour has been absorbed and is no longer visible as a coating, feel free to do another toss and shake before frying.

4. Slip chicken skin side down into 350°F oil or fat. Cover and fry for ten minutes. Try to maintain a constant oil temperature of 300°F - 325°F. Check occasionally to ensure bottom side of chicken isn’t browning too much.

5. Uncover, turn chicken delicately with tongs, and cook uncovered for 8 to 10 more minutes or until breasts reach an internal temperature of 160°F and thighs 170°F - 175°F

6. Don swimsuit and commence to eatin’.