My fifth Yankee Challenge was a bomb. Well, the whole meal wasn’t a bomb, just the fried chicken part. The fried chicken was supposed to be the guest of honor and ended up on the back burner.Fried chicken is my new nemesis. I thought I was doing everything right – soaked the chicken overnight in buttermilk, mixed seasoning into the flour, used Crisco instead of oil, and baked the chicken after it was fried. After 30 minutes in the oven, my chicken was crispy on top, soggy on bottom, and rare inside. I didn’t follow the rule about the fryer chicken because I needed to feed 5 people and I figured ginormous chicken legs would do the trick. I was so wrong. There was so much meat on what I have decided were probably the calves of all-star-track-running-chickens. The entire time I stood in front of my cast iron skillet filled with melted Crisco and was splattered all over my apron, I tried repeating to myself, “You can’t lose to the chicken.”
My guests said that the fried part of my chicken calves was really good, but the actual chicken itself was a bit ‘uncooked.’ The outside portion of chicken that was cooked all the way through was juicy from being soaked in the buttermilk overnight, but it was hard to eat those pieces when the inside of the ‘chicken calf’ was pink. For my crispy tasty crust – I used paprika, cayenne, garlic salt, pepper, and salt in the flour that coated my chicken. To be honest, I have made baked chicken fingers with the same seasoning before, so I knew it would taste yummy.
I wasn’t too upset about my friend’s comments because I personally thought a lot worse of my poor fried chicken calves. My collard greens and mashed potatoes were pretty amazing, as were my biscuits and sweet tea! I opted to do vegetarian collard greens because of my pork-sensitive tummy. I added vegetable stock and a lot of hot sauce to spruce them up, and my guests loved them! My mashed potatoes were mashed with whole milk, butter, and garlic salt to taste. My buttermilk biscuits were made using my husband’s Mawmaw’s secret biscuit recipe. And my sweet tea: I used cold brew tea bags and a TON of sugar – the recipe was not from the side of the tea bag box, but told to me by my husband’s Grandmama Sharon.
I’d like to try fried chicken again sometime soon – but this time I’ll call Mawmaw for her recipe instead of relying on the recipes I read online. She is a true Tennessee lady who makes the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. As for this Yankee – let’s just say the chicken won.
If you’ve never fried chicken before try Alton Brown’s Fried Chicken recipe and method. It’s super easy and very straight forward. The secret is to make sure you’re using a fryer chicken. The larger chicken that comes broken down and prepackaged is usually for baking and will more than likely come out raw in the middle when fried. Also make sure you use a meat thermometer so you will know when your chicken is down right at 180 degrees in the thickest part of the meat. Stay Hungry Y’all!