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reheating fried chicken

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
First time poster, long time reader. I'm catering an outdoor wedding for 175 next weekend, southern, family style, and my only worry is the fried chicken (a major special request on their part that i would have normally said "no" to) I'm subing it out to a local fried chicken place, but need advice on the best way to reheat it onsite.

The location is about an hour away, so i feel my best option is to have them fry the chicken for me on Friday, put it in the cooler and reheat it onsite on Saturday.
I will only have access to a home kitchen onsite (double oven), but could also could bring along one of my smaller countertop convection ovens. Everything else is being transported hot in Cambros but i'll take whatever suggestions yall have to offer!
Thanks!
post #2 of 23
Depending . Maybe you could have someone pick it uo right before service. And keep it hot in styro holders, them right into chaffers. You do not have enough oven space to do it correctly at least not for 175 wedding guest. It would take you hours to reheat cold chicken for this amt. of guest in 2 tiny ovens.
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post #3 of 23
Fry that morning, serve room temp.....
styrofoam, cambro, etc it will be soggy......
reheating in an at home kitchen, just not pratical.

You might wanna talk them into mirabelle or some "stew like" chicken dish that can reheat easily on site.

Though several years ago I catered a three entree wedding, same # as you only...no kitchen on site. Hot Salmon, Leg of lamb, sides all good....BUT I was sweating the chicken fingers....a friend of mine was exec chef of a hotel 8 blks from the site & fried off commercial chicken fingers....Those abherrant things stayed crisp and crunchy for days, freaks of nature.
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post #4 of 23
Completely agree with shroomgirl and Ed that your best strategy is to p/u the chicken from the supplier the morning of. You don't have adequate facilities to reheat; and warm to room temp chicken is better than hot anyway.

Agree with shroom, but disagree with Ed. Any sort of foam or closed container will make your chicken soggy.

Running with sogginess and shroom's suggest of a different chicken recipe better suited to holding and serving in chaffers -- what about smothered chicken? It doesn't get much more southern than that. All the same sides work. You can even have the supplier fry the chicken before you smother it in onion gravy (mine has mushrooms too). Easy to hold and reheat. Only drawback is that it isn't what the client specified.

BDL
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post #5 of 23
yum, smothered chicken.....works for me!
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post #6 of 23
Yes, I am with that idea, smothered in a white wine and mushroom sauce....

Maybe a suggestion for the client ?
Reheating fried chicken for that many people without it going soggy ? I just don't see it.

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Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
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post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
ok, smothering is not an option, southern fried chicken is the groom's favorite and that's what it's got to be, although will keep that in mind for the future.

About picking it up hot that morning: I was mainly worried about food safety issues for transporting it--how long will i have to keep it safely? Need to leave at 10:30 am at latest and probably won't serve until 1pm.
post #8 of 23
I say that time frame should right about do it, any longer you may have a problem.

Petals

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(163 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(163 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
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post #9 of 23
Thats ok providing it is kept warm. At one time I kept meatballs with a piece of foil on top in the sunlight and turned out great. Cooked fish in foil on manifold of truck.
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post #10 of 23
I just saw that you are in TN, part of the real South. Make sure to find out how his mom cooked it when he was growing up. Pan frying makes a firmer crust on the skin, pressure frying leaves more juice, and deep frying creates a more flaky meat. It's a detail that will make him remember you and get you references(We take our chicken seriously around my part of the world.)

If it's deep fried, you're in luck big time. Use a giant stock pot on an outdoor propane ring full of oil and show up about two hours early. You can probably get it all done on site, you may need to bribe someone to be your assistant in exchange for some good eats.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #11 of 23
You may be able to reheat pre blanched or make chicken hot at the site using that large stock pot idea, But there is no way you can cook the chicken from a raw state for 175 guest in 2 hours. You are just fooling yourself and will wind up with raw on the inside chicken.
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post #12 of 23
Yeah.

I read back through and saw the size of the guest list and had second thoughts. Par-boiling and finishing in oil would be needed to go that route for that many people all eating at once.

Edit: Light bulb!

Fry it before hand and reheat in the oil. The second frying(a short one) might eliminate enough of the water in the crust to re-crisp the chicken.
Experimentation on a small batch is needed first, I would say.
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post #13 of 23
I believe I said blanch in post or pre cook in above post.
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post #14 of 23
Sorry. I didn't read your post. :o
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post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
no chance of me cooking it on site--it's defnitely going to be done by my local fry-guy before i leave for the event....the question is just whether to have him do it on Friday, or Saturday morning, and if transporting it, how to hold it for 2-2.5 hours til served!
post #16 of 23
Fried chicken is very good served warm or at room temperature -- maybe even best. That's why it's such wonderful picnic food.

I'd pick it up, last possible minute, on Saturday. That leaves about 2 - 2-1/2 hours, which isn't very long.

When you get it to your site, you could hold it covered with paper towels, on baking pans lined with paper towels, in a warming oven for awhile. Can you say, "Alto-Scham?"

It depends on what type of service your customes are planning, but you could hold for the whole 2-1/2 hours or any portion of it in cloth-towel lined and cloth-covered, inexpensive, woven baskets. Go gingham, of course. That's about as southern as it gets.

BDL
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post #17 of 23
yep, smart to have someone else fry it......honestly that's a huge part of catering. Finding resource/suppliers that can do the yucky things that take specific equipment and is just a huge pain to be making prior to an offsite event.
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post #18 of 23
You have a 4 hour time frame to serve a product that has not been temp. controlled. What ever happened to the cold fried chicken we used to eat on picnics? Now that's southern!
post #19 of 23
ok, I have two ideas here. first off fried that is not hot and crispy is just simply "leftovers quality". Fried food transported in a cambro or covered at all will steam and not be crisp.
Best option, find a source for the fried chicken close to your event, either "pickup or delivery"the holding time will be much less and crispness will be much better. second option find someone who can pick-up the chicken about 1 1/2 hrs. before the event to deliver it at the last minute while you are finishing sides, set up and other details.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Post event wrap up!

thanks for everyone's input! here's what i finally did: I forgot to mention that these had to be locally raised TN free range chickens, so i couldn't buy my chicken from just anywhere :)
  • after talking to my fry-guy--he said he'd be more comfortable if we fryed it on Friday and reheated it, just for food safetly issues since his name would be on it too. I went with his suggestion.
  • Fried Chicken late Friday evening, put in cooler.
  • Transported cold, then reheated in the home oven on site (nice double oven) on sheet pans lined with parchment. 4 shelves at a time, 325 for about 20 minutes, took about an hour and 15 minutes to do it all
  • Kept it in an uncovered chaffer, and in the ovens on 170 til serving time
  • All in all, i was pleased with the result. It was warm, nice crunch and not dried out.
post #21 of 23
Thanks for following up! (many don't).
Glad it all went well.

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post #22 of 23
What Jim said.

BDL
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post #23 of 23
Thanks Holly, come back anytime.
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