Picnics - Fried Chicken Picnics in 2024

 2024 - HERE BEGINS THE CALENDAR 

FOR 2024. 

IT WILL BE UPDATED AS NEW INFORMATION ON EVENTS BECOMES AVAILABLE. 

THIS IS GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR FOR FRIED CHICKEN!

The Remaining Ones in June 2024



JUNE 30


















































































































German Chocolate Cake Recipe

 German chocolate cake is not "German". It refers to German's chocolate, a type of chocolate developed by Sam German in 1852 for the Baker's Chocolate Company. The recipe is very Texan, from a Dallas/Fort Worth State Fair.


German Chocolate Cake

 

I typically use the 1234 cake recipe from the back of the Swan’s Down cake flour box. But, here also is the cake recipe for this one. The custard frosting recipe makes a lot and you will have left over frosting for topping on Rice Krispie Treats.

 

3 cups sugar

1 ½ cups, that is, 3 sticks, unsalted butter

3 cups evaporated milk

12 egg yolks, beaten

3 cups flaked and sweetened coconut

3 cups of chopped pecans

3 teaspoons of vanilla extract

 

Combine the ingredients except the vanilla, coconut and pecans in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened for about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes and then add the coconut, vanilla and pecans and set aside.

 

This cake recipe calls for 350 F oven, floured (3) 10 inch pans

2 ½ cups AP flour (assumed 120 g per cup)or, try it with cake flour

1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons salt, or less if preferred

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

3 cups sugar

5 large eggs

1 ½ cups buttermilk (the acid in the buttermilk will react with the baking soda)

1 ½ cups strong coffee

1 ½ sticks of softened & unsalted butter.

 

As bakers, you know that you  beat your softened butter with your sugar until creamy. Then you add eggs. Then the wet ingredients. Separately, you’ve whisked together the dry ingredients and you add these just until blended.

 

For less of each, divide these recipes in half. Baking time is about 25-30 minutes.


Gus's Fried Chicken Recipe - The Best Duplication So Far of the Gus's Recipe




I came as close as I have gotten to duplicating the Gus's Fried Chicken recipe. Here follows the latest, updated recipe:

Gus’s Fried Chicken
#1 2020 (Your Baseline Recipe Before You Start Modifying It For Your Personal Tastes)
 24 hour marinade of the following slurry of water, cornstarch and spices. This long period in the fridge tenderizes the chicken breast(s). . Begin the day before you plan to fry the chicken.
(Increase these quantities, depending on how much chicken you plan to make)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into three pieces (or, your standard bone-in chicken pieces like Gus’s does. I went with boneless chicken breasts for this recipe because they are a challenge and I thought this would be a good recipe starting point)
1 cup corn starch
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup water (Note: The recipe used to be for buttermilk, but I got to thinking that water might add to the crunch. Feel free to try either buttermilk or water and then decide.) (Note: 1 ½ cups is too much. On my first go, I  actually ended up with 1 ¼ cup water and poured off a little water in the morning that had gathered on top of the marinade and that is how I came up with the 1 cup measurement).

Marinade for 24 hours In the refrigerator, keeping everything refrigerated to protect against bacterial growth. Remove the chicken from the marinade/batter and if everything goes well, the batter/slurry will cling to the pieces. You may need to agitate the batter/slurry to assure that it coats the chicken pieces.

Fry at 325-350 F. Use a neutral vegetable or corn oil. I’ve become a big fan of sunflower oil as it has a high smoke point, but, yeah, vegetable, corn, peanut oils are fine if that is what you have.  I do not recommend canola oil as it smells like frying fish and adds an unpleasant fish taste to fried foods.

Note, when the exterior crust looks perfect, the interior may still be uncooked. Especially if you are doing a variation with other chicken pieces or really large chicken breasts. It is the curse of these huge chickens that they sell now. If you decided to go with a whole chicken, do your best to buy a 2.5-3 lb chicken as this will allow the interior to cook

If it isn't spicy enough, "salt" with Tony Chachere creole seasoning. Next time you make it, increase the amount of cayenne, and/or, add chopped whole serrano chiles or habanero chiles to the marinade.





The long marinade has the effect of making the chicken very moist; even the chicken breasts. Though, as we all know from Kenji Lopez-Alt's articles for Serious Eats, "brining" or long marinades will change the texture of the chicken meat, making it more homogeneous (what Mike Logan, a friend of mine, calls "hammy" in reference to the texture of smoked hams).

I still finish the chicken in the oven to assure that it is cooked throughout.

Temptation may be to make a thicker batter. But I think that for the crispiest crust, a thinner batter is the way to go. Just enough so that it clings.

I used to remove my chicken pieces from the marinade batter with tongs. But I found that this scraped away some of the batter. Now, I just spear the pieces with a fork and drop them into the hot oil.

You can test the quality of your batter by pouring some into the hot oil and frying it up crisp. Taste it and adjust seasonings. If it is too spongy tasting instead of crisp tasting, it may have been too thick and will need to be thinned slightly. 

If you've ever had really good Korean fried chicken, that is similar to the Gus's recipe.

A local Korean chicken place (Toreore) uses this brand of extra crispy batter mix for theirs. You may wish to find it online and buy some to try: Shirakiku brand Extra Crispy Tempura Batter Mix.




Here follow my previous notes, comments and riffs as I continued to work on a Gus's Fried Chicken recipe over the past several years.

But First: Comments from First Hand Experiences From  Readers" of this Blogpost:

A. "I have few "first person" notes on your recipe...
The chicken is delivered custom prebrined and drained from the processor smelling strongly of dill pickle juice (the neon green hamburger slice variety). The chicken is then rotated into large tubs, ice mixed in, and then into the walk-in cooler. The next day, that chicken is then put into a "batter tumbler" (drained but ice left in) with buttermilk and a bag of "Sophie's Mix" which is as far as I can tell, cornstarch, AP Flour, kosher salt, black and white pepper, garlic and onion powder, and lots and lots of cayenne pepper, probably some paprika for added red color. The chicken tumbles until completely coated and batter viscosity adjusted with small amounts of ice water (taking account for liquid that will purge from chicken and melted ice but also some loss from evaporation. Back into tubs into walkin for another 24hr period. The next day that chicken is then ready to fry. It's tossed with a touch more cayenne and so that all chicken is coated with batter and then fried in peanut oil at 375°F. To my memory this is the best I have for you from working at the Austin Gus' for about a year or so. The photos you posted look strikingly similar to their chicken but most people don't know about the pickle brine since it doesn't happen in house. I just always got a strong odor every morning when the chicken truck deliveries were being taken in. Hope that helps."

B.  "There's no real magic trick to their recipe. They use a batter made mostly of buttermilk, cornstarch, and assorted spices. Mainly cayenne, hot sauce, black pepper, paprika, garlic, and salt. Might be a bit of onion mixed in there. The shake mix is mostly the same stuff. They fry it in peanut oil and add the shake to it a couple times mid fry. It is definitely fried in peanut oil, no other oil will produce the same result.

But on the whole, it's a fairly straightforward process. Just a matter of paying attention to what you're doing when deep frying. Given the daily throughput, I'm assuming that they do not pre-marinade the chicken, just are careful about the batter and shake during the frying process. You could get similar or better results from soaking the chicken in a thinner version of the batter in the fridge for 24 hours, because that would soften the meat up and ensure better heat transfer.

But the main thing is to ensure consistency of the batter on the surface during the fry, checking it multiple times and adding shake for flavor, in order to keep it hot enough for long enough to ensure it's fully cooked instead of still cold inside. Basically double or triple fry with additional batter and shake each time you check it. With thin enough batter, additional batter won't over thicken it.

You also need to cook each type of piece separately. Breasts are going to take longer and somewhat more attention than drums or wings, for example. Wouldn't be surprised if they have different pre-set times and/or sections for each type of piece. - Otto M (Reddit)


C. "I went to the original Gus’s many times and I knew Gus and Terrence (Gus’s oldest son).

They most definitely cooked in peanut oil and there’s likely cayenne in it (Terrance’s chicken was hotter than Gus’s) but the mixture was strange. And they most definitely did not pre-soak the chicken - it was mixed up in a tub with the “batter.” Right before cooking.

The “batter” (if you could call it that) looked like the pink slime in the underground river from ghostbusters 2 - that’s the best way I can describe it. It dripped off the chicken with the consistency of syrup but had a pink hue.

People would try all sorts of things to try to get the recipe including calling saying they were the hospital and someone was having an allergic reaction

Gus was a no frills man and would kick you out for cussing or putting your feet on the bench across from you (which was easy to do because the booths were so small in the shack). He was an old ww2 army vet. He used to call the recipe “the grave recipe” because he was taking it to his grave and not even his sons had it.

He finally started getting older and have his two sons the recipe but Gus refused to sell it. He once told me church’s had offered him 500,000 and he turned it down because he had heard the Coronel (KFC) had gotten more and that his chicken was way better than the Colonel’s recipe.

Gus finally passed and after some time his sons franchised - the first one being downtown. They still mixed the “batter” in mason and sold it to the one downtown.

Funny thing, the one downtown was terrible when it opened. But there was a fire at the original in Mason (one of several) and while it was being repaired and brought up to code, the sons came down to the original and told the couple that ran the franchise all the things they were doing wrong (they since divorced, the wife kept the one downtown and the husband opened the one on mendenhall - the second franchised location).

Since then a company formed here in Memphis finally bought the recipe from Gus’s sons and it now sits in a vault like the original coke recipe. That company handles all franchising and sales of the “batter.”

Gus was one of a kind - I don’t think I ever saw him smile. If he wasn’t cooking he’d sit in his spot (usually the booth closest to the kitchen), in a perfectly ironed white or blue shirt sleeve shirt, hand on his cane. His hair was white and he still wore it in a same short 1950s style.

He had zero tolerance for anyone not abiding by the rules of his tiny restaurant. That was his domain. They sold 40s of 2 or three domestics and the only sides were beans, dirty rice, and white bread.

The service took forever and a day. Each son and Gus had their own chicken when they were cooking and that was their profit for the day on sales during their cooking shift.

Remember the place was very small and wide open - the “kitchen” was just a couple of fryers right behind the cash register.

After Gus passed they’d shut the restaurant down when Judge Judy was on - if you were in there you were good but the screen door would be locked and there would often be a line forming outside while everyone - wait staff (all family) and cooks alike watched.

Another fun fact - the second gus’s wasn’t the one downtown. For a short time one of Gus’s sons ran one in Jackson, TN. This was way before the franchise agreements.

Lots of memories from that place. IMHO the original will always be the best and the one downtown is as close to the original as you can get. All others are good but not great (I’ve been to a couple that should be shut down due to quality." -Benefit of Mr. Kite (also Reddit)




(Special Note to My Readers: Also, be sure to check out my other Gus's Fried Chicken postings as these have additional information on spices for this recipe) (Update August 2017: Be sure to see my more recent posts on the recipe and photos from my August 2017 visit)


Today, I came as close as I have gotten to figuring out the Gus's Fried Chicken recipe.

I started this blog back in March of 2013.

It is not the Saveur Magazine recipe and it is not the Nora Jones recipe (the two most common recipes that show up when one does a search on the Internet).

The secret is that it is a slurry. You may want to think of it as a batter, but I think slurry is almost a better description since the cornstarch doesn't really fully blend in with the buttermilk (you need to keep stirring as it does separate out if left sitting). You have to mix corn starch and buttermilk to the right consistency, and then add just the right amount of paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, etc. followed by just enough Louisiana hot sauce to make it work. Too much hot sauce will affect the crispness. It needs to be a slightly thicker batter ( I would describe it as crepe batter consistency, or, a slightly thinner pancake batter). (Although: I also want to try a straight hot sauce and cornstarch experiment, an icewater and cornstarch experiment, and also a whole milk and cornstarch experiment in the future).

I switched to Canola oil for a while ("Canadian oil low acid"), ignoring my personal opinion that Canola oil gives food a fishy smell and taste. But I am back to recommending Crisco oil or peanut oil as my personal preferences. I just don't like Canola oil.
So, here is what needs to come together for this to work.

The important thing is:
Buttermilk - 1 1/4 cups buttermilk to....
Cornstarch - 1 cup corn starch to make the basic slurry
(experiment with reducing the amount of buttermilk to corn starch to make a thicker slurry)
(note: I've tried a water and corn starch slurry but wasn't pleased with the results. I haven't tried a water and egg with corn starch slurry though…the egg would add viscosity)

Update August 2017: It appears that a critical component is a 24 hour soaking in the slurry.

And then you will want to season to taste (I have specifically not given guidelines here as I want you to do your own homework; use your best judgement. Everyone's taste buds are different)

Paprika (this will help darken the chicken, giving it some color; I will usually do 1/4 tsp)
Cayenne (this will add heat; I will usually do a 1/2 tsp)
Black pepper (this will add heat; I will usually do a 1/2 tsp)
White pepper (this will add heat; I will usually do a 1/2 tsp)
Garlic powder (personally I just use a pinch because, for me, garlic powder adds an aftertaste to the chicken; but that is just a personal bias)
Salt (go easy on the salt; you can always add salt at the table)
Louisiana hot sauce (start off with 8 dashes per above buttermilk/cornstarch slurry)
MSG (most commercial chicken has some MSG in it; start off with 1/4 tsp and adjust to your preference with the next batch that you make)







Gus's Fried Chicken Recipe - "This Fellow" (GQ Article That Mentions This Blog)

Imagine my surprise to get a link and a shout out as "this fellow" in a GQ article on Gus' Fried Chicken. Yay me.

Possibly my favorite take comes from this fellowwho wants to make clear his recipe is NOT the same as the Norah Jones formula. If you read down into the comments, he’s still tweaking the recipe in search of the perfect Gus’s clone, three years after his initial post. "


www.gq.com/story/gus-fried-chicken-is-the-best-chicken


A Love Letter to Gus's, the Best Fried Chicken in the World*

This week, Lang Whitaker takes us down to Memphis, where it's maybe worth side-stepping the barbecue lines for some seriously addicting fried chicken
Every culture has their indulgences, a food that soothes the soul while eventually hardening the arteries. As a born and bred Southerner, fried chicken is my birthright. It is one of my earliest food memories, as my grandmother on her farm in Alabama used a bag of crushed potato chips to create a salty, crunchy crust on her birds. I now have my own fried chicken recipe, painstakingly developed over time, which TBH I probably will never share with you unless we become much better friends. 
All that to say, I take my fried chicken seriously. Which means I do not say this lightly: Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken might very well be the best fried chicken in the world. 
The very best foods transport us to places. The first time my teeth cracked into a thigh at Gus’s and that boiling rush of chicken juices hit my tongue, suddenly I was no longer in Memphis—instead I was a kid again just outside Atlanta at a church potluck luncheon, where some woman had brought along a Tupperware container of her best homemade fried chicken for all of us to enjoy, bless her heart.
Since my initial visit to their downtown Memphis location one year ago, I’ve thought of Gus’s often. Sometimes daily. Even thinking of Gus’s elicits a thrumming deep in my soul. Is it excitement? Hunger? Triglycerides?
While many people spend time arguing about the best barbecue in Memphis, I am perfectly fine with letting that debate rage while I sneak over to Front Street and walk south until I hit the line snaking outside of Gus’s. (Its second location, it's worth noting.) The restaurant isn’t much—a low-slung brick building with a dining room that seats maybe 50 or so folks, with checkerboard tablecloths and laminated menus.
Gus’s bills its chicken as “hot and spicy,” which is a bit of a misnomer. Certainly it is hot and, sure, it’s spicy. But it isn’t unbearable. As Gus’s website explains, “[T]he heat is more gentle, like the touch of an old friend.” (Well, perhaps an old friend who just dipped their hand in cayenne pepper.) Either way, Gus’s is never overwhelming–there’s a reason they leave bottles of hot sauce on the table. (While I can appreciate spicy food, my stomach does not.)
What makes Gus’s chicken so perfect? It starts with the skin, which is deep-fried to the color of bourbon while remaining brittle, with the crunch of an eggshell. Then lurking below that crunch is a subterranean flesh so moist and tender that it almost defies reality. While the textural interplays are superb, the flavors are even better, as a bold saline note underlines all that amiable spice. 
A disclaimer: I can’t speak to Gus’s white meat chicken, because I’ve never had Gus’s white meat fried chicken, because nobody who truly loves fried chicken likes white meat.







gus-fried-chicken-02.jpg
Lang Whitaker
As a home chef, part of the allure of Gus’s was trying to reverse-engineer the chicken once I got home. Thanks to this video from the Food Network, we know there’s a liquid batter involved, but that’s really all we know. How long is it marinated? What’s in the marinade? What is the crisping agent? Is the oil seasoned? I have performed many Gus’s deep dives on the internet, and found a simplistic version from Saveur, as well as, randomly, an attempt at Gus’s recipe from jazz crooner Norah Jones.
Possibly my favorite take comes from this fellow who wants to make clear his recipe is NOT the same as the Norah Jones formula. If you read down into the comments, he’s still tweaking the recipe in search of the perfect Gus’s clone, three years after his initial post.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized I don’t want to know how it’s done. There’s something magical about Gus’s chicken, the way all these elements are expertly balanced in a way nobody can decode. There’s also the context: When I make fried chicken, it’s event cooking, requiring gallons of oil and extended time in the kitchen overlooking the vat of flammable fat bubbling furiously on the stove; at Gus’s, I can just sit and eat and smile and get free refills of sweet tea and go home fat and happy.
I was willing to consider that since my first visit, absence may have made my tongue grow fonder—because I can’t eat at Gus’s weekly or monthly, I probably value it even more. (If Gus’s doesn’t come to you, you must go to Gus’s.) Although Gus’s is expanding aggressively, my current home of New York City doesn’t seem to be in their plans anytime soon. 
There may be better fried chicken out there somewhere, but I have not found it. Doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop looking, though.

Gus' Fried Chicken Recipe - Photos and Video Links to YouTube


























Gus's Fried Chicken - You will hear me talking about Gus's Fried Chicken on this blog and elsewhere, not because it is the best fried chicken that I have ever had. But because the batter was unique enough that it had me scratching my head on what was in it. I haven't done any experimentation as of this date with brown rice flour. But I can confirm that a 50/50 ratio of wheat flour and corn flour comes closer than a straight wheat flour recipe.  My other guess is that there is some sugar in it. Dylan at Boomtown Coffee confirmed to me that sugar will contribute to the crispness.  Anyway. Here is a video or two of what we are talking about.

(Update: I will discover that the base is a slurry of 1 cup cornstarch to 1 1/4 buttermilk)

So cool that Pollos Hermanos on Breaking Bad owner and all around bad guy is Gus.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZN-BdcoR1Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMFQifuTL2g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEqezc4IrJQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBFm8xILzRU





The Fried Chicken Blog - One Man's Journey - (Really? No One Has Created a Fried Chicken Blog Yet?)

As discussed on my Facebook page, this all began with a road trip that took us to Memphis, Tennessee.  Now, I am not a novice at frying chicken. I have done it for years. I think that the reason I have is because I am more sensitive to salt than most people, and most of the commercial fried chicken establishments put too much salt in for my taste.

My default recipe over the years has been a buttermilk and flour batter. These days, my go to has been the recipe in Donald Link's book "Real Cajun" (which also has a spectacular German chocolate cake recipe).

Additionally, I have been going to the Czech Catholic church picnics in Central Texas for many years now and have put videos up on YouTube of the events.

When my wife and I were in Memphis a few years back, several people recommended Gus's Fried Chicken. It had a very thin and a very crisp crust. I was very interested in this batter. When I peeked into the kitchen, I saw stainless steel containers with the chicken pieces sitting in a very red bath (I spied big bottles of Louisiana hot sauce on the shelves). To me it didn't look like they were flouring the chicken before it went into the fryers. Now I suspect they were working with a slurry instead of a dredge in flour.

I have been all over the 'net searching for a recipe. There isn't one. There are some purported copycat recipes showing up from Saveur and also there is a Nora Jones recipe that is supposed to be similar. But these are buttermilk/flour recipes.  And as time will prove, neither is like Gus's. Gus's is doing something different.

And so, my research begins. With the trusty Internet, a copy of John T's "Fried Chicken", and the anticipation that comes every year when the church picnics begin in Texas, I hope to test out as many variations as possible and report on them. Many of these will be good.

(Update Note: See my recipe for Gus's style fried chicken later on in this blog)


San Antonio Non Dairy Fried Chicken Recipe from the Meadow Restaurant

Fried Chicken – San Antonio “Meadow Restaurant” Dairy Free Feb 2023


A recipe gleaned from a San Antonio Cooks cookbook from the Meadow Restaurant. Author of the book is Julia Celeste Rosenfeld. The book is available via Amazon or your local bookstore. I note that it calls for smoked paprika and also Spanish paprika. Now, historically, one defaulted to Spanish paprika when one wanted a smoked paprika. Also noted, I'm not too sure about that Mexican oregano. If I make this, I will probably reduce the amount or eliminate altogether. I'm comfortable with the other ingredients and I think that dry mix for the batter is going to be a good one. The soy sauce in the marinade is another interesting riff. That adds salt. 


I look forward to dining at The Meadow, to sample their fried chicken on a future visit to San Antonio.

 

1 tbs sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Mexican oregano

1 tsp Spanish paprika

½ tsp mustard powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

(Spice Mix)

 

1     3 ½ lb chicken to which you add 2 tbs of the above spice plus ¼ cup soy sauce plus 2 tbs Crystal hot sauce

 

Batter

1 cup AP flour

¾ cup cornstarch

¼ cup rice flour

 

Store leftover spice

Chicken pieces in bowl. Add ingredients above. Refrigerate 12  hours

 

To make batter, combine batter ingredients above in bowl, add 1 ¾ cups cool water to make batter. You can soak chicken in batter and refrigerate up to 2 hours. 

 

375 F

Picnics - Fried Chicken Picnics in 2023

















































I am thinking about starting the 2023 calendar events a little later in the year than usual. I've been doing it for many years now. In *the meantime, I am recommending that you subscribe to PolkaBeat's newsletter that will list the picnics as they occur, along with postings for great music and festivals in 2023. 


Youngblood's Fried Chicken Secret Recipe

UPDATE 2023:

Larry Bell provided me with this information on Leslie's Fried Chicken, a precursor of the article below.

Leslie's Fried Chicken from Larry Bell



My friend, Paul Galvani's book on Lost Restaurants of Houston came out in May 2018.

He interviewed family members and writes about Youngblood's, beginning on page 171 of his book, and provides an updated recipe based on those interviews. It's a much simpler recipe than the one indicated further on in this piece.

Youngblood's Fried Chicken Batter
1/4 cup salt
1 cup milk
1 cup buttermilk

Flour

Dissolve salt in the milks. Dip chicken in the milks, then in the flour.

Amazon - Lost Restaurants of Houston by Paul Galvani


The people working for Youngblood's Fried Chicken back in the day went on to create their own, now famous, fried chicken franchises. Here is some information that I found on the web that needs to be preserved for future generations.




Kay Potts advised:
   
"Ok, people, here it is: 

This is the recipe for Leslie’s Fried Chicken, my mom and dad worked for both and they both used the same recipe

Have a bowl with flour, we have seasoned it a bit with white pepper and a bit of salt, to taste.

Dip your chicken pieces in the flour and then dip in the following mixture and back into the flour.

1 Cup powdered whey (Baking type- sweet powdered whey)

This is not readily available in grocery stores, we found in online at 
http://www.berryfarms.com

3/4 cup powdered non/fat dry milk

1/4 cup salt (was a little salty- I might reduce this slightly next time)Try using just half of this or less, depending on how much you put in the flour.

2/3 cup water (I had to guess on the amount of water)

This mixture needs to be thin, the combination gives it the batter texture.

Dust chicken in flour, then into wet mix, then back into flour, shake off excess, cook in oil at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Evidently the whey is what gives it the flavor. We have also used buttermilk powder in place of the dry milk and whey and it comes pretty close! This works best in a deep fryer, rather than pan frying.

The crust is amazing, holds up well a couple of days in the fridge."





  • This is kind of interesting. I was going deep in the internet and came across a forum that was discussing Youngblood's > Leslie's > Church's Fried Chicken recipes. Both the Leslie's and Church's chains came out of Youngblood's. Here, supposedly is the secret recipe in industrial portions.
  • "You are not going to believe the original proportions. They used 7 lbs. salt, 2 lbs. whey, 1 lb dry milk. I asked him how they could use so much salt and have it taste good. He said it was mixed in a lot of water in proportion to the salt but that it still tasted very salty. Later they reduced the salt but he didn't know exactly how much. He said to add salt to taste which he said would be somewhere around 2 cups whey, 1 cup dry milk, and 1/4 cup of salt. It still tasted too salty to me and their measurements were by weight not by volume. So the only consistent thing we have is the 2 lbs whey and 1 lb dry milk, then salt to taste. This is all for the liquid part. I asked him if they seasoned the flour at all and he said they did not while he was with Youngblood's. When he moved to Denver and started the Drumstick chicken restaurants they did season the flour some but I don't know with what yet.
    He said when he makes fried chicken at home he puts white pepper and salt in the flour, then mixes 1 egg and 1 Tbsp. water for the wet mix. He dips the chicken in the flour, shakes off excess, dips it into the egg/water mix, and back into the flour, shakes off excess, then into 350 oil. 
    The other thing I want to try is to find cottonseed oil. They used it at Youngblood's and Leslie's because it was the cheapest and he said it lasted longer than the other oils. He said it didn't make any difference in taste but I can tell a difference between peanut oil, vegetable oil, and Crisco. So I wonder if the cottonseed added anything to the flavor. Another thought I had was that he was at Youngblood's in the 50s. I would imagine the recipe changed with time so they may have been seasoning things more in the 60s. I know Leslie's started using buttermilk in their wet mix. 


    Lots of fried chicken to experiment with! It may take us all but at least we have some direction. I really like the taste of the sweet whey in the mix. It added a flavor that is very nice."
    John Dupree Comments:
    "Interesting. You call this Church's Fried Chicken, but you follow none of the recipe of the real thing. Not saying yours is bad chicken, but it just ain't Church's. I used to manage for them like 30+ years ago, and the first thing you have to do is marinate the chicken. The commercial recipe was 30 gallons of water, 25 lbs. of salt, and a 1-lb. "flavor packet," a euphemism for pure MSG. It marinates for 22 hours. We then cut the chickens up and panned the pieces. Coldness is the key! Chicken must be cold, and the batter must be ice cold! If the batter or chicken isn't cold, coating will fall off during cooking, and the shortening burns the chicken. Dredge the pieces in flour, dunk them in the cold batter (a very thin, watery mix I never learned the ingredients of), and dredge the chicken in flour again, and into the vegetable shortening, 340 degrees for 13 1/2 minutes."