Tailgating With Chefhoo - W&M
Aug 31, 2011
Cook With Chefhoo To Win!
Tailgating with Chefhoo will appear on TheSabre.com on Wednesdays during football season. And here's some more great news: If you use Chefhoo's recipe at your tailgate, send in a photo of your spread email@example.com and you can win 1 month to the Sabre EDGE or other cool prizes!
Here we are ... it's getting cool outside and football is in the air. Virginia's home opener against William & Mary this weekend pits two of the oldest schools in the country against one another. Such history almost demands a traditional tailgate and the 6 p.m. start time gives us enough time to get it done. On this week's menu we have fried chicken and country ham biscuits.
- 1 package frozen buttermilk biscuits (I like Pillsbury)
- 1 8-ounce Country Ham
- 1 8-ouncepackage Mexican cheese blend (not seasoned)
- 1/2 stick butter - melted
- 16 pieces of chicken (I prefer legs and thighs ... if you use white meat, cut the breasts in half and leave the wings whole)
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 8-ounce (1 cup) hot sauce (I like Texas Pete)
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 onion, julienned
- 1/4 cup iodized salt or 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
- 30 turns of a pepper grinder or 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 8 cups flour (12 if you want to double-dip)
- 1/4 cup each - garlic powder, onion powder, salt, paprika
- 1 tablespoons black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper
- 1/2 gallon canola oil
Time To Cook
Country Ham Biscuits (Prep time 1 hour + 15-20 minutes in the oven)
It may sound like sacrilege to use pre-made biscuits, but the time you save will be worth it ... and they are just as good as homemade. Thaw the biscuits at room temperature for one hour and cook the ham in the oven according to the package directions.
Rough chop the ham once it cools. In a food processor, blend the ham and cheese until the mixture forms a chunky paste. If you don't have a food processor, mince the ham with a knife. In a large bowl, add the cheese and ham mixture to the raw biscuits and mix thoroughly with your hands (this will get messy). Put the dough on a floured cutting board and roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thickness (be sure the work surface and the rolling pin are well floured so it doesn't stick). Cut the biscuits with a biscuit cutter or glass 2 inches in diameter. Once you can't cut anymore biscuits, form another ball of dough from the scraps and roll it out again. Repeat until you've used up all the dough.
Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet about an inch apart and brush with melted butter. At this point, the biscuits can be frozen (you can also double the recipe and freeze for up to 3 months). Pull them out of the freezer 10 minutes before baking. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Brush with the remaining melted butter. You don't want to cook these too far ahead of time as they will dry out pretty quickly.
Fried Chicken (20 minutes prep on Thursday and 2 hours on Saturday)
Some people brine their fried chicken, some marinate it. This buttermilk mixture is actually both. On Thursday or Friday night, combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt/pepper and onion in a large non-metallic bowl or casserole dish. Add the chicken and mix thoroughly ... cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Make sure the chicken is completely submerged. Toss the chicken every 12 hours. The chicken can be marinated for as little as 12 hours, but I prefer 36.
Frying chicken takes time and energy. For easier cleanup, line your stove top with aluminum foil (trust me on this one ... oil spatters and your spouse will hate you). Combine the flour and breading spices in a very large bowl or paper bag. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture (reserve this mixture if you want to double dip). Completely coat each piece of chicken in the flour mixture (I like to shake it up in a large paper grocery bag). Shake off the excess. Redip in buttermilk and coat in flour again if you prefer a thicker crust. Place the chicken pieces on a cookie sheet and let them sit at room temperature for 45 minutes (this will help the crust be more uniform and not fall off the chicken - plus the chicken being at room temperature will help it cook more evenly).
Heat 1 inch of oil to 375 degrees in a very large frying pan (you can use two pans to speed up the frying process). If you don't have an oil/sugar thermometer, you will need one, as it's very difficult to judge oil temperature. Just before you begin frying the chicken, blast the heat to high to keep the oil temperature from dropping too much when the chicken is added. Drop each piece of chicken into the pan, making sure the chicken falls AWAY from you to avoid being burned by spattering oil. Leave at least one inch between each piece of chicken and keep the temperature on high until the oil returns to 340-350 degrees and then lower to medium. This is the ideal temperature to fry chicken. It can be tricky to keep the oil at 340-350 degrees ... you will need to constantly adjust the temperature between low-medium and medium-high to get it right.
Fry the chicken for 6-8 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Turn the chicken and fry for 6-8 minutes longer until golden brown on the other side. If you have a deep enough pan (like a Dutch oven) to completely submerge the chicken, then it should take about 12-14 minutes total. Test the first piece of chicken you pull out to make sure the meat is not pink and it pulls away from the bone. Taste to see how much salt you will want to sprinkle on the chicken as you pull it out. If the chicken is getting too dark on the outside, but is still pink in the middle, you can finish it in a 325 degree oven. Sprinkle with salt immediately after pulling the chicken out of the oil and place on newspaper to drain.
Personally, I like my fried chicken to be room temperature, so I let it cool down a bit and head to the game with it unwrapped. If you want to keep it warm, it's going to be tough to keep the crust crispy (especially if you are travelling more than 30 minutes to the game), but basically you need to make sure that you aren't completely wrapping it up, as it will steam and become soggy.
Enjoy and Go Hoos!
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