How To: Cook Oven-Fried Chicken

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Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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  1. Avatar Mo
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    I have found using dipping in buttermilk before dredging gives it a nice flavor and using pulverized melba toast in the dredge gives it a satisfying, almost fried crunch.Report

  2. Avatar Kazzy
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    So excited to try this. Thanks!Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq
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    This looks seriously good and you save the cost of having to buy a deep fryer. Does the same technique work for other things like vegetables or anything else you might want to fry?Report

  4. Avatar zic
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    says:

    Spices that go here might also include:

    Tandoori Seasonings
    Curry
    Poultry Seasoning (I recommend Bell’s)
    BBQ dry rub seasonings
    Fine Herbs
    Garam Masala
    Za’atar

    Dry salad dressing or soup mixes — the kinds used to make dips or oil/vinegar dressings.

    And like @anne said, go crazy with the crunchy coatings.

    Also, I suspect you could dissolve pastes in the butter; mustard, harissa, Thai curry pastes, etc. as well.Report

  5. Avatar Glyph
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    Perpetually-Popular Post Part II: The Sam Strikes Back

    This looks pretty great, I’ll have to try this. Are the final 30 seconds on each side crucial?Report

  6. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    I’ve always been intimidated by fried chicken. It’s one of my favorite foods in the world but growing up in the South there is a lot of cultural pressure to either do it right or go home. This recipe sounds easy enough to give it a try.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      says:

      Ugh. I hate that nonsense. Most of the recipes I put up on here should be considered base recipes – they’re a place to start from. As evidenced by the comments already, there are plenty off variations including changing up the breading, changing up the spices, and changing up the meats.

      Just as with chili, I’m sure there are those who will declare that, for various reasons, my own recipe doesn’t count. Screw ’em. I had a good dinner last night. They had their cranky objections to a world that doesn’t heel to their needs. I much prefer my food to their expectations.Report

    • Avatar Plinko in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      Mike I’m a transplanted Southerner, but I understand where you’re coming from on fried chicken down this way.

      But I don’t think it’s worth being intimidated over. I make fried chicken in a very similar way on to what Sam’s posted all the time (and I’m going to take some of his steps as improvements, thank you!) in the oven and the family loves it.

      When I have more time or inclination, I actually take a similar prep (basically up to his step three but with smaller pieces) and cook it in about an inch of canola oil in my cast iron skillet on the range.
      I use a digital thermometer and maintain oil temperature at about 350F or so and place them in on one side for a few minutes and then turn them over to a few more. If you’re skittish about if they’re cooked thoroughly, I’m not shy about cutting a piece open with a knife to be sure they’re done all the way through.

      It’s messier and riskier (not to mention probably even less healthy), but I think it’s a distinct improvement in the final product, a little crisper and juicier.Report

  7. Avatar Chris
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    says:

    I admit that with this place, and this place, and what can only be described as miracle chicken, we haven’t been cooking chicken much, but when we do, we always do it in the oven. We’re going to have to use this next time we do.Report

  8. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    Yeah, this is similiar to my mom’s as well but she used an iron skillet.

    She won’t make me her fried chicken anymore since she doesn’t like to take that much time to cook it. Her smoked standing rib roast was delightfull though 🙂

    I might have to try this method as a ode to moms.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    I tried to pot fry chicken recently with poor results. I think my oil was too hot as the outside was blackened. Not quite burnt, so it was at least edible, but not anywhere close to what I wanted. I think the thermometer I had was less-than-sufficiently accurate. I ordered a new one which I have yet to put to use, but will probably try this method with the chicken legs I have in the freezer. Thanks again, Sam.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      For whatever it is worth, I do not and will not mess around with home deep-frying. Between having three kids around, not the greatest ventilation, and a general aversion to that much risk when making food, I much prefer the workarounds like the one above. Also, it is so easy to go an get good fried food (it’s available EVERYWHERE) that I figure it is a job best left in the hands of professionals. I suppose this makes me a bad cook in some way but…Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Sam
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        says:

        I have. I do not recommend it if you own the place, though, as you will never manage the cleanup, and will have grease on everything in the kitchen.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Sam
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        says:

        I don’t know what technically qualifies something as “deep frying”, but I rarely have more than an inch or two of oil in the pot. And if I’m going above a half-inch or so, I’m using the much deeper dutch oven.

        Fried eggplant, homemade crab rangoons (my wife’s specialty), homemade tortilla chips… these are all too tasty to abandon frying altogether.

        I considered buying an actual deep fryer, but most of the home models seem unreliable to the point of being a waste of money.

        All of this is likely to change once Mayo can’t just be strapped into a chair anymore. When’s that happen? 13?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Sam
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        says:

        Kazzy,
        Stirfrying or sauteing (same technique) is when you have relatively little oil and relatively high heat.
        Deepfrying is when you submerge the food in the oil.Report

  10. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    says:

    Alright Sam – you have succeeded in making me think about this recipe for the last couple of days. Question: Using a basic kitchen stove with two racks, what do you think the maximum number of pieces are that I could do at once? I’m asking because I throw myself a birthday party every year as an excuse to cook for about 20 people and I am wondering if I could feed everyone with this. The problem of course is that if I do it in two stages, how do I keep it warm if I do it in two rounds (trying to hit a target of about 60 pieces total)? Am I shooting too high here?Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      says:

      Mike,

      I really don’t see how you could possibly have 60 pieces prepared at once if you’re working with a standard sized oven. You could conceivably fill the top and bottom rock, and when you went to flip the chicken, switch the racks that they were on, but even then, that much chicken is going to change the timing, and I really couldn’t guarantee what the ultimate outcome would be.

      Two possible workarounds:

      -Make 30 pieces and cook for 45 minutes, and switch racks when flipping. Put a second round in, cook for 50 minutes (I’m assuming more chicken will require a bit more time), and serve. Pop the first 30 pieces back in for five more minutes to get them warm, serve those. It’s staggered service but better than nothing.

      -Serve cold. I’m not sure cold (oven) fried chicken is for everybody, but it definitely is delicious. You could make three batches of 20, chill in a fridge overnight, then serve the next day. That though might be a bit too old-school for your crowd. It’s perfect for a picnic though, or an outside party.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      says:

      Nobody seems to worry about having everything done together when they’re grilling.
      It’s “burgers are done” and people fly for ’em.Report

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