Fried Chicken 101 (and where to find it)

Buttermilk Channel Fried Chicken

Up until this summer, I could count the number of times I’ve had fried chicken on one hand (including the time my mom and I packed K.F.C. into Tupperware and brought it to a potluck). But for the past three months, I grabbed ice-cold beers and sunk my teeth into the best-battered birds North of the Mason-Dixon line.

What I learned:

  1. Classic fried chicken pairs excellently with champagne.
  2. K.F.C. also refers to Korean Fried Chicken, which is often fried twice and covered in garlic or sweet and sour sauces.
  3. A “dry brine,” also known as a salt rub, works along the same lines as a normal brine, but some prefer it because the lack of water means the fats won’t be diluted before cooking. On the other hand, a “wet brine” is usually done with salt water or buttermilk, which can enhance the flavor of the meat and make it more tender.
  4. Fried chicken descendants date back to the Middle Ages and include European fritters and West African chicken fried in palm oil.
  5. New Yorkers: You don’t need to trek out to Flushing to get delicious Korean Fried Chicken – Midtown and K-town have plenty of options.
  6. A twice-fried chicken has crispier skin, but less meat on the bone!
  7. Chicken fried steak refers to a piece of tenderized steak that is breaded and fried in the same style as fried chicken (so it’s about as chicken-y as chicken of the sea).
  8. Fried chicken is often brined in buttermilk because it is acidic and breaks down the meat fibers for a more tender dish.


Unidentified Flying Chickens New York


The best fried chicken spots in NYC for:

Champagne pairing {Birds & Bubbles} The latest addition to New York’s long list of fried chicken joints, Sarah Simmons pairs her dry-brined savory fried chicken with half bottles of champagne, hand picked to elevate your bird. Lower East Side

Korean Fried Chicken {Unidentified Flying Chickens} (Pictured above) If the name wasn’t enough to already convince you, the extensive list of beers on draft and incredible K.F.C. served with sides like pickled radish should do it. The twice-fried chicken, unlike other K.F.C. I’ve had, was still meaty and juicy. Add some sweet garlic sauce and you’re flyin’ high. East Village

Classic Southern Chicken {Buttermilk Channel} (Pictured at top) Simply put, I’m in love with the fried chicken at Buttermilk. Served with maple-infused balsamic vinegar, cheddar waffles, and savoy cabbage slaw, the trick is to get all four elements on the fork and into your mouth at once for a perfectly balanced bite of perfect fried chicken goodness. Oh, and according to our incredibly friendly waitress, it’s Beyoncé’s favorite fried chicken too (so now we have one thing in common). Carroll Gardens

Trendy Fried Chicken {Root + Bone} The sweet tea brine on this fried chicken makes for a perfect combination of two southern classics, taking the edge off the salty lemon-dusted bird. I highly recommend adding the buckwheat waffle with cheddar and whiskey maple syrup. Alphabet City