When it comes to fried chicken, we’ve heard so many different tricks and family secrets for getting the crunchiest and juiciest bites, from soaking in buttermilk to using a special blend of seasonings. And here’s another twist that recently caught our attention: “broasting.” This method uses pressure cooking and deep-frying to cook every part of the chicken evenly. The result: fried chicken that’s less greasy, yet is still moist and coated in a deliciously crispy crust. It’s the secret behind so many restaurant’s amazing fried chicken, and while traditional broasting uses a one-of-a-kind machine that simultaneously steams and fries, you don’t need an appliance to create broasted-style chicken — simply using a sturdy skillet and lid will do the trick. Here’s the scoop on broasted chicken and an easy recipe to make the next time you’re craving this comfort food classic!
What it means when chicken is “broasted”
Broasting is different from traditional, open pan-frying methods as it involves a special pressure fryer (don’t worry, though, you don’t need this as you’ll learn below). Brian Jupiter, executive chef and owner of the restaurants Frontier and Ina Mae Tavern in Chicago, notes that this machine fries the chicken in a closed environment. This creates steam and pressure that seals in the meat’s juices. It also prevents sudden drops in oil temperature that could cause the chicken to become greasy. “Broasting pressurizes the chamber of frying oil, allowing temperatures to stay consistently high for a certain amount of time,” he explains. “This creates a lighter and even crisper texture on the chicken.”
Jupiter adds that broasting was invented by engineer L.A.M Phelan in the 1950s. He designed equipment that pressure-fried chicken quickly and thoroughly, and his machine was eventually mass-produced specifically for restaurants and fast food chains, where broasting remains a staple method for frying large batches of chicken. But, you don’t need a clunky and pricey broasting machine to achieve the same golden brown and succulent results at home.
How to mimic the broasting method
A key aspect of broasting is steam, which is generated when the fryer is covered and the pressurized settings are applied. Although it’s tricky to create that same level of pressure in a normal skillet, cookbook author Pam Anderson says you can mimic the method with just a lid. The trick: “As soon as I get all my chicken pieces in the skillet, I cover the skillet for the first half of cooking time, then uncover it for the second half.”.The lid traps in moisture and heat to steam the meat while helping maintain a consistent oil temperature. Removing it halfway through lets the skin get nice and crispy.
Food writer and biochemist Shirley Corriher also swears by covering the pan during the first half of the frying process. “Covering the skillet does make a racket, though — it’s the drops of condensed moisture dropping into the oil that create all that carrying-on,” she says. This is why it’s a good idea to have an oil shield like BergKoch’s Splatter Screen (Buy from Amazon, $10.99) handy to prevent grease from splattering and making cleanup more of a hassle.
Hungry for broasted-style chicken? If so, we’ve got the perfect recipe for you!
A delicious broasted-inspired chicken recipe
Our Southern Fried Chicken recipe takes inspiration from the broasting method to create moist dark and white meat. Additionally, this recipe coats the chicken in self-rising flour instead of all-purpose for an even crunchier crust. Clearly, this recipe has all the makings for a finger-licking batch of fried chicken that your crowd will love!
Southern Fried Chicken
- 2 qts. vegetables or canola oil
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 1 (3 to 4 lb.) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Active: 30 mins
- Total time: 1 hr
- Yield: 6 servings
- In large pot or deep fryer, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking, about 350°F. Place rack over large rimmed baking sheet.
- In small bowl, combine garlic powder, salt and pepper. In shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and hot sauce. Spread flour in shallow dish or pie pan.
- Heat oven to 200°F. Sprinkle all sides of chicken pieces with garlic mixture; dip each piece into egg mixture, letting excess drip off back into bowl, then coat with flour, shaking off excess.
- Place first batch of chicken in skillet, cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Remove lid, flip and cook another 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and internal temperature registers 165ºF. (Check chicken after 5 minutes; if browning too quickly, flip pieces and reduce heat to medium).
- Transfer cooked chicken to rack on baking sheet. Place baking sheet in oven to keep warm while frying remaining chicken. Serve with favorite sides and enjoy!
To whip up more hearty classics at home, check out the recipes below:
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