confessions of a double dipper

Yes, some people find it messy, gross, whatever. So I don’t do it at parties, or in polite company, or even in impolite company.  I didn’t double-dip whilst on holiday, which would seem a natural time to engage in food shenanigans.  (I was too busy drinking and getting plowed like highway snow, the memory of which will have to suffice until a friggin eternity  hell freezes over  the second coming of Christ  I give up trying  next vacation.)

I *do* double-dip at home, with alacrity and without a shred of remorse. Yes [back of hand placed delicately to forehead, looking away to the horizon with chagrin], I double-dip my chicken.

So should you.

 

Typically, I bake or roast chicken.  For chicken pieces, a soak in that Korean(ish) marinade for 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of covered baking at 325 degrees, then open roasting at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, produces a delightful protein that the kids leave denuded of all but the bone and the cluck.

But sometimes, I like to fry the chicken.  And when I fry, I double-dip.  As a Southerner by heritage if not by birth, soggy fried chicken or breading left in the frying pan are abominations which are not tolerated.  If it doesn’t stick, and it doesn’t crunch, it ain’t fried chicken – that’s just some mess you poached in oil, bless yer heart.

Oddly, I have no measurements.  Just a list of things that I do, which turns out moist, juicy chicken encased in flavorful crunch.  Here goes; hold my beer:

Equipment

  • 12-inch frying pan, half-full of vegetable oil and heated on medium-high until the flour sizzles
  • two sets of tongs (one for dealing with the raw chicken, one for frying)
  • catering pan (enough to hold the marinating chicken)
  • small bowl (for the egg dip)
  • 8 x 4 loaf pan (for the flour dip)
  • aluminum foil, large enough to rest the dipped chicken
  • baking sheet lined with paper towels

Marinade (catering pan)

  • milk, enough to cover chicken
  • vinegar, maybe 1t per cup of milk
  • hot sauce, enough to turn the milk pink
  • salt, eyeballed…but a 10% solution by weight works

Egg Dip

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • shitload of hot sauce (enough to turn the eggs orange)

Flour Dip (all eyeballed)

  • self-rising flour (look through my 1-2-3-4 cake recipe, or Google it)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Doin’ Stuff

After 2 hours in the marinade at room temp, the chicken is double-dipped, egg dip first.  I let it set up on the sheet of foil for about 10 minutes while the oil heats up, because I want that meat glue/flour mixture to cling to the chicken for dear life.

The fry time will depend on the piece.  I typically fry legs, so 6 minutes per side will get it to the color in the photo.  When in doubt, fry to the color you want, then set it in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes or so to finish.  The nice thing about that salty, ersatz buttermilk brine is that the chicken will survive the time in the oven without becoming chicken jerky.

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the ten percent solution: brown sugar brine



The Anal Proportion (scale up/down as needed)

  • 1000g water
  • 75g table salt
  • 25g brown sugar

For this bird (12 pound turkey), I mixed 7,500g water with 562g salt and 188g sugar in a garbage bag-lined stock pot (unscented!), dropped the turkey in, closed up the bag and covered the works with a layer of frozen gel packs.  It will brine for 8 hours, get a thorough rinse and pat dry, then come up to room temp.  I’ll rub it down with butter and stuff it with aromatics (onion and sage) before sticking it into The Arsonist at 400 degrees for 60 minutes (breast side down), then 325 degrees for 60 minutes (breast side up).

I don’t have a V-rack.  I have a foil-lined 13″ X 9″ pan with two cooling racks on top.  It does the job.

If you don’t like anal, use:

The Missionary Position (again, scale to suit)

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1c table salt
  • 1/2c brown sugar

cooking when i don’t feel like it: chicken milanese 



I suffer from a strange reaction to food – when I cook it, I don’t want to eat it and when I eat it, I don’t want to cook it.  Multi-homed satiety has its benefits and drawbacks.  Tonight was a drawback, since I was full enough from lunch that I didn’t feel like cooking dinner.  But I have two stomachs in the house that don’t cook and therefore expect to be fed regularly.  What do?

Chicken Milanese, that’s what.  It’s fun because I get to play with the food, but not labor-intensive and incorporates downtime, so I can wash the prep dishes during Intermission and don’t feel like the kitchen was hit with a hurricane when I’m done.

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2 / 2 / 2 / 2 SP rub

Back at Thanksgiving, I was not inclined to mess with my bird much. Brine, seasoned with salt and pepper, stuffed with Sage and onion, set on a bed of rosemary, then basted with butter whilst roasting. Okay, I fucked with that bird plenty – it just didn’t *seem* too persnickety. The only proportion I had to keep in mind was the brine solution – everything else was eyeballed.

I like that type of cooking, even though I also love the precision and anal-retentive nature of baking. Things that are easy to remember, can be replicated readily and turn out great results are good for the days and nights that I don’t feel like cooking but have no interest in eating (or producing) crap.

Hence, The Rub. Continue reading

achievement unlocked: breakdown queen

I enjoy brining and roasting whole birds, but there are times when I want to keep the backbone and wings for stock and I don’t want to roast those parts before boiling them. There are two ways to get to where I want to go:

1) Spatchcock the chicken and separate the wings.

2) Break the chicken down completely. The best video I have seen (both in terms of production value and home replicability) on how to break down a chicken is provided courtesy the New York Times. Continue reading

the best roasted turkey ever

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I remember my first, humble offering of a homemade dish, to my then-fiancé. Almost ten years ago. It was a pasta dish, store-bought penne, with a homemade sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella. I was so proud of myself for making the effort. I thought it was perfection: pasta cooked al dente, swimming in a garlicky, tomatoey brew, islands of caramelized cheese on top. Finally, I mused. Finally, I have proven myself worthy of my own kitchen. Its gleaming appliances will not mock me now!

“Needs more cheese,” he said.

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