Playing with your food – cause this is serious business (BIZNASS).  

We have been plagued by mediocre fried chicken for years. Our problems? Over/under cook, breading issues, and spices. Yes, this is why we haven’t really served “Southern Fried Chicken” at QuarryLaneFarms.  

That being said, we did some experimenting (no bogs were used in the making of this chicken). Taking some tips from Colonel Sanders, Food Network, Cooks Illustrated, Cleveland Chefs and of course CLE Sneakerhead, we decided to make some headway into this complex nirvana of foodie Valhalla.  

First off, buy some fresh chicken (jumbo chicken) as this will help the juiciness. Brine for 6 hours seemed to do well for our pieces. We highly suggest a presoak brine. Salt water seemed to work best. We couldn’t tell the difference with just salt/sugar and straight sugar-water. Or if you didn’t plan ahead, you can apply seasonings 1 hour prior (we messed with a bunch of different seasonings, but found that kosher salt was just fine). Sorry – too many variables and not enough time on this stage #secretblendofseasonings.  

Light coat in egg batter aka egg wash. Everyone does it.  

We tried all kinds of flours and found that “double-zero” was a really bad idea = way too delicate. We also tried cake flour and like Paris Hilton, this white stuff was a bad idea too. We did use AP flour and panko = success as it was the best light crispy option. Best advise on flour = shake excess flour off before frying.  

Flour power and shake shake shake

At this point, we found letting the pieces rest helps dry out the skin a little. This adds to your crisp crunch bite.We used Veggie oil as it was the easiest to obtain in large quantities. 

We tried frying in several different pans like non-stick, stick, wok, electric griddle, dutch oven, omelette plan, pot, etc…all a waste of time.  

We also thought it would be funny to throw a few pieces on the gas grill for some indirect heat (the Shake-n-Bake process). Our thought process would be cook the chicken and the indirect heat would crisp up the skin without all that oil. That too was a bad idea.  

Like a 60-year-old stripper...

Like a 60-year-old stripper, the chicken was mushy, ghastly and pale, and the skin soggily fell off when moved off. Yep-the indirect heat didnt’ cook diddly.  

Like a 60-year-old stripper...bad idea

In the end, we found the simple $15 cast iron skillet we got 10 years ago did the best job. Retained heat and the flavors of the cast iron skillet added to the depth of the chicken.  

Love your cast iron pan

For the record, we didn’t deploy the “KFC” method of pressure cookers, but conceptually, it sounded like a good idea. I just find it a little difficult to pressurize extremely hot oils for more than 5 minutes. #DangerWillRobinsonDanger.  

We approximated the chicken at 11 per side at 345 with only one turn as minimal turns reduced the amount of crispy skin breaking off. Of course higher temperatures can help cook things faster, but we found with our thicker pieces, that 11 minutes is the sweet spot for our cast iron skillet.  

As you can see, we got a nice crispy skin. Additionally as soon as it came off, we lightly dusted with a coat of fine popcorn salt.  

Chicka Chicka Fried Chicken

We surmised it was like fries where they needed a light salting once away from the deep fryer.  

Our line insisted we let it rest for 10 minutes uncovered before service (like a steak I guess).  

Meat inside? I will let you judge for yourself.  

QuarryLaneFarms Fried Chicken - Cluck cluck bitches

What did we learn?  

1. Use AP flour or Panko bread crumbs  

2. Cast Iron skillet (its more than just decoration)  

3. Minimal flipping and touching (hahahaha)  

4. Buy some large pieces of fresh chicken  

5. Brine your chicken  

6. Shake excess flour after coating and let dry  

7. Let your chicken rest 10 minutes before service  

With the cooler temperatures upcoming, we hope our little chicken exploration inspires you to use your old cast iron skillet for more than chasing your husband around the house. Yes of course we have more experimenting with our fried chicken upcoming – so keep your pants on.  

Reporting live from QuarryLaneFarms…