@ flipflopgirl and koukouvagia:
We all have different approaches to many of the same things, I suppose. Unless I misunderstood ChefTalk's mission statement, this is the place to come to share ideas, experiences and perhaps, discover a new thing or two.
That being said, one of the things that I learned in over 3 decades of working with food is never criticize another cook's methods unless and until you try it yourself. And then, don't criticize another cook's methods, unless, if course, that cook works for you. Once I learned this painfully simply rule, my experience in the kitchen became much more pleasant and more importantly, more productive. That is when I really started to learn something about food.
To that end, I will explain the method to my madness for fried chicken that seems to be the subject of so much controversy.
-Yes, the skin provides a slight insulating factor in terms of heat transferal from the oil to the meat near the bone. More importantly, however, since when does a breast, thigh or leg have skin that completely covers 100% the meat? Correct answer? NEVER. Result: uneven cook and coating that has pulled away from the meat and floats around in the oil making tasty little bites. Has either of you ever bit into a piece of fried chicken and burnt your mouth on that pocket of hot oil or juice that is hiding between the meat and skin? Unless you serve your fried chicken cold or have never eaten fried chicken before, the answer is YES.
-Making a small incision or poking small holes with skewers makes possible a uniform cook to the bone and throughout even the thickest chicken parts. Also, the likelihood of burnt coating and less than cooked meat is practically nil. No one wants to bite into a thigh or leg and see that disgusting burgundy color near the bone with bluish purple veins. Period. While we in the food world understand and accept that as a natural part of fried chicken, paying customers typically do not share that advanced understanding. A small incision no bigger than the end of a small, sharp pairing knife or well placed punctures made by a kabob skewer are virtually unnoticeable and allow the hot oil to cook the meat near the bone at the same pace it cooks the meat on the outside. Result? No burgundy colored bones or bluish purple veins and a cook time that is dramatically reduced - rather important, especially if friend chicken is run as your special and you want to turn over tables faster.
-Brining the chicken before hand? I've done it. I agree with its benefits when roasting a chicken. But, I fail to see its advantages in fried chicken. Biology 101: water in solution (like salt water) tends to flow from areas of higher saturation to areas of less saturation across semipermeable membranes. When chicken parts are brined, the natural moisture within the chicken will pass from the chicken to the brine and be replaced by salt water in an attempt to reach equilibrium. So, brining actually replaces natural juices with salt and water. Isn't salt already an ingredient in the batter? Most recipes that I have seen for fried chicken batter call for generous amounts of salt. If so, why add more? Salt in the meat masks the flavors of the herbs and seasoning in the batter. Salt is intended to enhance flavor, not be the flavor. What's the point of adding flavorful seasoning like smoked paprika etc if it is diminished by a disproportionate level of salt?? I don't want the natural moisture in my chicken to be replaced by salt water and then, have the meat be reconstituted by hot oil. If I thought that was a stunning idea, I would forget fried chicken altogether and indulge in a bucket of the Colonel's finest.
You see, its not the likelihood of whether or not either or you have some information or knowledge that I don't already know that's important. What is important is the respect of giving you both the benefit of the doubt that you may know something I don't and be afforded the opportunity to express yourselves in that regard. To put it in flipflopgirl's eloquent vernacular, "Im not trying to start a throw down or nuthin" either. But, then again, it was not me who crossed the Rubicon here.
I would, however, like to understand both of your reasoning, which you both have yet to explain despite each of your unsolicited and prickly criticisms. Again, I freely admit the possibility you may provide some insight that I am not yet aware of.
So, I am very curious to hear both of your reasonings why you believe your methods, which neither of you have actually mentioned anywhere in this thread, are so worthy and mine are not. I trust you both will be just as quick and eager to qualify your respective positions as you were to criticize mine, right?
The floor is all yours.