Georgia's State Flags,
Home of Good Eats
Subject: Uncrunchy Chicken
My guess about the flower not sticking was that 5 minutes lets stuff dry out too much. This episode predates my entering the GE phase of my life, so I don't know what was said in the TV show.
As for the other, I would be willing to bet $5 that AB did his chicken in a cast iron fry pan and you did yours in a mere mortal fry pan. If, indeed, that IS the case, then...
This is a job for (trumpet fanfare, Tadun tadaaaaa) ~~Thermal Inertia Man!~~
Trick is: steam at 212 degrees is actually hotter than water at 212 degrees!
There is this thing called, "heat of transformation." Water goes up in heat very smoothly as you pump energy into it (one calorie of energy bumps up one gram of water by one Celsius degree [uhhh - oh - at 14.5 degrees C]), BUT, when it starts to change to steam (it's called a "phase change" - solid to liquid, or liquid to gas), some pretty strange things happen.
First: The amount of heat it takes to MAKE the steam is lots, Much, WHOLE BUNCHES more than it takes to just heat the water! Five HUNDRED times as much!!
This is the Heat of Transformation. And,
Second: It will NOT get any hotter, regardless of how much energy you pump into it! It responds to increasingly large amounts of heat by producing increasingly large amounts of steam, but the temperature STAYS at 212 degrees!
In shallow-fat frying, you get one chance at the brass ring. The oil may be 350 degrees I when you start, but AS SOON as the chicken hits the pan, the water in the chicken is going to do its level best to bring the temperature back down to 212! AND, it's going to do it at DOUBLE TIME. Uhhh - Double... to the... uhhh... ninth power time, actually!
The only way to maintain the heat needed to crunch-up the outsides is
Deep fat frying does this with a great whopping batch of hot oil. Shallow fat frying does this with a great whopping batch of frying pan! Get a cast iron frying pan before you try it again. I think you'll be pleased with the results. Aluminum (and the like) fry pans just don't have the gumption to hold on to enough heat to do the job.
Ask your grandmother what she cooked her fried chicken in.
Last Edited: 08/27/2010