Sunday Dinner: Deviled Fried Chicken

There are a few reasons it doesn’t make sense for me to make fried chicken.

I don’t eat chicken.

Damon doesn’t like chicken.

Neither kid has ever had chicken.

I have never fried anything.

Raw chicken is gross.

Still, chicken is something my Dad used to make for me. It was actually his barbecued chicken, which he made on the grill every year for my birthday. At least until I stopped eating meat. That recipe was in his DNA, though, and I can find no written copy.

And if I’m going to jump into this Sunday dinner plan where I work through my Dad’s recipes, I’m not going to make it too far clinging to the produce aisle. I think Dad would have been pleased to be able to say he went his entire life without trying tofu.

I usually like to move in tiny increments. Pick pick pick at that Band Aid. Inch slowly into the pool. For this, though, I decided to go nuclear. No creeping in via grilled salmon or twice-baked potatoes. Chicken. A whole one. From a real chicken.

I went to the market and got an organic, free-range, happy-died-of-old-age chicken carcass (allow me my illusions tonight). I had the butcher cut it up for me and remove the innards. I did manage to take it from there, although I never touched the raw flesh. I am, it seems, quite handy with kitchen tongs.

The batter seemed great. Lots of powdered mustard, onion powder, coriander… interesting things. I learned in researching the recipe that “deviled” is a Southern term for anything highly spiced.

The frying was surpring. Everywhere I expected it to go wrong (batter clumping off, unstable oil temperature, a grease fire that burns down my house) it didn’t.

I didn’t eat the chicken. Neither kid did either, although I offered it. Damon, who doesn’t like chicken, at two pieces. The rest I took to a cookout and left there. Baby steps.

Recipe #2: Deviled Fried Chicken printed from, sourced from Bon Appetit, August 1998


3 responses to this post.

  1. i cooked a whole chicken myself recently. it was organic and happy, and Lynn Sawicki took the innards out for me and washed it and put salt and pepper on it. all i had to do was take it out of the bag and put it in the pan with a little olive oil dribbled over it. Which I did with gloves on.

    I’m going to try again, because it didn’t turn out great. I don’t know why I care so much, because I”m not even that crazy about chicken, despite my (apparent) mad skillz at frying chicken livers.


  2. Being a chicken newbie, I am constantly afraid of that chicken disease I can’t recall at the moment. What’s that nasty bug that sticks to your cutting board?


    • Salmonella. Having had salmonella before, I am terrified of it, and cannot prepare chicken without Windexing the entire countertop afterwards. I just got a chill thinking about it.

      If I have to deal with chicken, I don’t use a cutting board, I use a large Apilco dinner plate, because it’s huge, and it’s the kind that’s not a coupe, so it doesn’t slosh over the edge, and I figure it’s got the hardest surface in the house, so it won’t absorb anything. Then I scrub my hands with dishwashing soap and peroxide.

      I pronounce Salmonella “samonella,” like the fish. Because apparently I have higher aspirations for my deadly germs.


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