Charles Gabriel on his Frying Secrets, KFC, and Trendy Chicken
Today, in the second half of the interview, Gabriel tells us about his fried chicken technique, his thoughts on how trendy fried chicken has gotten, and sounds off on KFC.
So it was essentially your mother who taught you to fry chicken?
Yes, she taught me how to season it. She made up a seasoning, a dry seasoning, and you've got to put it on the chicken and let it sit for at least eight hours. You put it in the fridge for the next day. Eight hours at least, or you won't get the taste of the chicken.
So you season it with a dry rub before frying it -- do you do a soak in buttermilk too?
No buttermilk, just regular milk and eggs. And the special seasoning is [also] in the milk and in the flour, so...it goes all the way: in the chicken and the flour and the milk, to season the crust...you've got to know how much to use so it doesn't get too salty.
What kind of oil do you fry in?
I use soybean or canola oil.
Is that also what your mother used to use?
We used Wesson oil. We didn't have those others. So when I got here, I was testing to see which came closest.
Do you have any particular advice for home cooks who want to fry chicken?
The main thing is to season the chicken overnight. Then you're going to taste the chicken. If you don't, it's going to be bland. You want a nice thin crust, so first an egg wash and then into the flour and then into the pan. It won't be heavy or nothing, just a nice thin crust. And make the oil about 375.
And how often do you turn it?
You've got to turn it, but first you've got to let it start browning. And then when you see it's browning, you turn it every minute. Because otherwise it's going to burn if it sits there. And the pan should be only half full of oil, so not all the chicken is going to be underneath.