Southern Fried Chicken or should it be called McChicken?

Good things come to those that wait, and Southern Fried Chicken is no exception to that rule. It’s not that making Southern Fried Chicken is so much time-consuming as it is about patience. If you want succulent chicken with crispy breading, you will need to get organised and be patient. Sure, you can take a lot of shortcuts, but the results will not be the same. If you want to do this right, you need to start preparation 24 hours before beginning frying. Why so long? Because you want to give the chicken plenty of time to marinate in the buttermilk brine and then time for the breading to become tacky. You need to fry the chicken in small batches so that the oil keeps its temperature, and if you really want to go that extra mile, you will fry the chicken twice, Korean style. All of this takes time!

When we think of fried chicken in Australia, I believe it would be fair to say that most of us think of KFC and its 11 secret herbs and spices. The first Australian KFC opened in 1968 at Guildford, NSW, and was the first fast-food franchise in Australia. My earliest childhood memory of fast food was eating a KFC meal in the back of my Dad’s Ford Falcon station wagon, which I had won in some competition. I must have only been about 5 years old at the time.

I don’t recall how I won it. Still, I can remember receiving a telephone call from a KFC representative to give me the exciting news that I was a winner. It was actually the earliest telephone call I can remember getting as well! Could you imagine getting a personal telephone call to give you the exciting news that you had won a Two-Piece Feed today?

I still indulge in KFC from time to time, albeit, these days, I prefer it cold. I think most of us are guilty of asking for extra chicken salt on our chips or engaging in the bizarre ritual of using the potato and gravy as a condiment.

In the USA, Fried Chicken has its roots in the deep south and is not so much associated with some confederate like Colonel. (Colonel Sanders, by the way, did not earn a military title, but rather the title of Colonel was bestowed on Harland Sanders by the Governor of Kentucky.) Fried chicken is often recognised as an iconic African slave dish. We owe the fried chicken we have come to love today to African slaves, who used seasoning techniques popular in West African cooking. However, the frying of chicken was introduced by Scottish immigrants who settled in the southern states in the late 1700s’. ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,’ a British cookbook published in 1747, describes a recipe for Fried Chicken. As such, perhaps McDonald’s McChicken is the more historically apt name?

I’m rather partial to a Chicken Burger using Southern Fried Chicken. So I’ve made up a batch of fried chicken thighs to grace my burger, using this KFC style recipe.

Southern Fried Chicken

Ingredients

Marinate

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 egg

Chicken Breading

  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ cup corn flour
  • 1 ½ tbls baking powder
  • 3 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp celery salt
  • 1 tbls black pepper
  • 1 tbls white pepper
  • 1.5 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 3/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1.5 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tsp dried basil
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano

To Fry

  • 1.5 – 2 litres canola oil
Method

1. Mix buttermilk, hot sauce, salt and egg in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (ideally overnight)

2. Remove chicken pieces from marinate, allow to drain on rack for 10 minutes and pat dry excess moisture with paper towel

3. Add all ingredients for breading mixture into a large bowl and combine. Pour mixture into a resealable plastic bag, add a chicken piece, and shake gently. Shake off excess dredging, ensuring that the chicken is evenly coated.

4. Place breaded chicken on a rack, allow to sit in uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes or until dredging is tacky.

5. Remove from refrigerator and allow chicken to return to room temperature before frying.

6. Bring oil to temperature, and fry chicken in batches at about 150 – 160 degrees C. (300–325 degrees F.)

7. Remove chicken from oil and rest on rack.

Chicken Fillet Burger

1. Half hamburger buns (Recipe for buns can be found under Bakery recipes) and lightly toast the cut side under grill

2. On the bottom roll, place 2 Fried Chicken fillets, top with crisp iceberg lettuce, and mayonnaise. Place other half of roll on top… enjoy!

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