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I prepare fried chicken (imitating broasted chicken) at home. Normally to make it tender and juicy I will add baking soda (gives unpleasant flavor) or glutamate, but it doesn't make it that tender. How do I make it as tender and juicy as broasted chicken in restaurants?

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Brine the chicken. Use 4 parts salt, 2 parts sugar, and 94 parts cold water. Mix mixture well until salt and sugar has dissolved. Put chicken and refrigerate. You can brine wings for 1-2 hours, whole chicken up to 24 hours. Rinse well, then cook. –  CookingNewbie Feb 8 at 11:39

5 Answers 5

The correct answer to any question following the template of "how do I get (some meat) to come out tender when I (some cooking method) it?" is: don't overcook it.

It's seriously not rocket science. Cooking meat dries it out as moisture evaporates.

The second, and perhaps dominant factor is that in overcooked meat—anything above about 165 F / 74 C, all of the proteins in the meat are fully coagulated. They have squeezed into tight little balls, squeezing out liquid, and taking on a rubbery texture. This effect cannot be reversed.

Overcooked meat is too dry, which gives it a tough and sinewy texture.

For other tips on making fried chicken more like what you've had in restaurants (very few of which are "broasting" it), see:

How to imitate commercial fried chicken?

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This answer misses some key points. If we were talking about pure muscle meat, like a boneless skinless chicken breast, then this would be perfectly correct. But that's not typically what is referred to as "fried chicken"--usually we mean whole pieces of meat with bones and sinew intact. The collagen from the connective tissue is key to understanding what makes meat--fried chicken in particular--"juicy". Also, final temperature is not the only factor in moisture loss. As others have mentioned, salt can be used to alter the structure of the meat itself to reduce moisture loss. –  Ray May 28 '13 at 19:51

Marinading the chicken before battering and frying has worked well for me. Some oil, lemon juice and spices is usually sufficient, but you can definitely get fancier and this has the added bonus of imparting flavor to the meat itself.

Another option, which I got from a Nigella Lawson recipe (it used to be online at cookstr.com but I can't find it anymore), is to marinade in whole milk for several hours, then boil the chicken in that milk (with some water for volume) until cooked through, and only then batter and fry the chicken. This sounds like it would fall into the overcooking trap, but it actually comes out very juicy and tender.

Finally, make sure you use a lot of very hot oil. A deep fryer is the best option. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but lots of hot oil will actually help keep the chicken from coming out oily. Too little, or too cool, and the chicken seems to absorb the oil and taste unpleasantly greasy.

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i agree with azula.. marinating the meat in lemon juice, vinegar, or papaya extract(or juice), tenderizes it.. and the meat it soft to eat!! for example cooking chicken in north indian dishes like chicken tikka..:) –  Shaima May 22 '13 at 5:38
    
nice answer! :) –  Shaima May 22 '13 at 5:40

I have found that putting the chicken in a brine (essentially like marinating) for up to a day ahead of time will infuse it with a lot of additional moisture. But use a simple brine like iced tea with salt (salty like the sea) or water. You can definitely use buttermilk or other liquids as well, but I've had the best luck with salty, watery brines.

Technically, Aaronut is correct on the overcooking. But beyond that, this is a great technique for increasing the tenderness.

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My grandma had a Cajun style restaurant in Lousiana.

Her fried chicken recipe entailed brining the chicken for one night, then marinating it in buttermilk the next night.

Then a 'double dredge' with seasoned flour alternating with mayonnaise & beaten egg and into the boiling pot of lard on her enormous Wolf range . Tender, moist, juicy & perfectly seasoned- every time.

I believe the more 'commercial' fried chicken restaurants inject brine, broth & msg into their birds.

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Season and flash fry in butter or (olive) oil.

"Flash fry" means cook for a couple of minutes at med-high heat in a frying pan. This will "seal" the meat, which will help lock in the moisture during the cooking process. Do this before adding all your finger lickin' spices and batter.

"Sealing" applies to most meats, not just chicken. If you're going to roast beef / pork etc which have longer cooking times, wrap them in foil AFTER sealing them, but before you roast them.

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Welcome to Seasoned advice! Unfortunately, the "sealing" of meat by heat and/or oil is a known urban legend. A high-heat sear may make sense aroma-wise, but it actually helps dry out the meat surface. –  rumtscho May 28 '13 at 16:26
    
The concept of "sealing" may be inaccurate, but it is not "urban legend". It's simply not what the term means. –  Ray May 28 '13 at 19:45

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