Broasted chicken is a popular fried chicken dish that is known for its crunchy exterior and juicy interior. The cooking process for broasted chicken is unique and results in chicken that is remarkably crispy and flavorful. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what exactly broasted chicken is, how it differs from other fried chicken preparations, and the step-by-step process for cooking it.
What is Broasted Chicken?
Broasted chicken refers to chicken that is cooked using a specialized pressure frying method. It was invented in the 1950s by a company called the Broaster Company as an alternative to traditional deep frying. The term “broasted” is a portmanteau of “broil” and “roast”.
Broasted chicken is cooked in a pressure fryer, which is a large counter-top electrical appliance that looks similar to a traditional deep fryer. However, broasting uses a combination of pressure cooking and deep frying to cook the chicken. The pressure allows the chicken to cook very quickly from the inside out.
This rapid cooking method results in chicken that is exceptionally moist, tender and flavorful on the inside, with an ultra-crunchy and browned exterior. The chicken gets perfectly cooked in its own juices while absorbing minimal oil. Just a small amount of oil is used compared to the gallons needed for deep frying.
Some key features of broasted chicken include:
- Very crunchy, crispy skin with a thick crust
- Tender, juicy meat that is seasoned throughout
- Distinctive flavor from broth-based marinades
- Lower fat and calories compared to many fried chicken recipes
How Broasted Chicken Differs from Fried Chicken
While broasted chicken is a type of fried chicken, the cooking process differs quite a bit from traditional fried chicken. Here are some of the main differences:
- Cooking method – Broasted chicken is cooked using pressure and heat, while fried chicken relies on submerging in hot oil.
- Breading – Broasted chicken tends to have a thicker, crunchier breading than most fried chicken.
- Flavor – Broasted chicken is marinated and seasoned throughout, giving it very infused flavor.
- Oil usage – Broasting uses significantly less oil than deep frying.
- Nutrition – Broasted chicken tends to be lower in fat and calories than fried chicken.
So in summary, broasting is a distinct cooking method that produces chicken with its own unique textures and flavors compared to traditional fried chicken. The broasting pressure method allows for great crunch and juiciness without the oiliness associated with deep frying.
Broasted Chicken Cooking Process
Cooking broasted chicken involves a specific series of steps. Here is an overview of the complete broasting process from start to finish:
- Cutting the chicken – The chicken parts are cut into portions such as breasts, thighs, drumsticks, etc.
- Marinating – The chicken is soaked in a broth-based marinade for several hours.
- Breading – The marinated chicken is coated in a seasoned breading.
- Pre-cooking – The breaded chicken is partially cooked under pressure.
- Cooling – The partially cooked chicken is cooled.
- Final cooking – The chicken is fried and browned until crispy.
- Draining and seasoning – Excess oil is drained off and seasonings are added.
- Serving – The broasted chicken is plated and served hot.
Now let’s take a more in-depth look at each of these key steps for making broasted chicken.
Cutting the Chicken
The first step is simply to cut up the chicken into the desired portions. Typical cuts for broasted chicken include:
- Leg quarters
The size of the cuts can vary depending on preferences. Uniformly sized pieces will broast the most evenly. Remove any excess fat or skin if desired.
Marinating the Chicken
Marinating is key to infusing broasted chicken with maximum flavor. The chicken is soaked in a broth-based marinade before breading. Typical marinade ingredients include:
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Spices like garlic powder, paprika, chili powder
- Herbs like oregano, basil, rosemary
- Acidic liquid like vinegar, lemon juice or buttermilk
The chicken should marinate for 2-12 hours in the refrigerator. The broth helps keep the meat moist and tender. The salt and acidic ingredients help break down muscle protein, further tenderizing the meat. And the spices and herbs infuse the chicken with flavor.
Breading the Chicken
After marinating, the chicken pieces are coated in a seasoned breading mixture. This helps form the signature crispy broasted crust. The breading is typically made up of:
- All-purpose flour
- Ground black pepper
- Dried herbs like thyme, oregano, basil
- Spices like garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder
The exact blend of spices and herbs can be customized to taste preferences. The chicken pieces are first dredged in flour to lightly coat them. Then they get dipped in the marinade liquid again. Finally, they are coated thoroughly on all sides with the seasoned breading mixture.
Pre-Cooking the Chicken
Here is where the broasting magic happens. The breaded chicken pieces are loaded into the pressure fryer basket. The pressure fryer is preheated to around 350°F. The chicken is partially cooked under pressure for about 10-15 minutes.
This pressure and heat allows the chicken to quickly start cooking from the inside out. The meat begins to firm up while retaining lots of moisture. At the same time, the breading forms a thin crust and adheres tightly to the exterior.
Cooling and Resting
Once the partially cooked chicken comes out of the pressure fryer, it is left to rest and cool down for 5-10 minutes. This brief resting period allows the pressure-cooked meat to relax. It also helps carryover cooking to occur, evening out the interior temperature.
After resting, the chicken goes back into the fryer for the final crisping and browning. At this stage, the fryer temperature is increased to around 375°F. The chicken pieces fry for 3-5 minutes until the crust is perfectly golden brown and the meat is cooked through.
The chicken may be flipped and rotated during frying to ensure even browning. Frying in small batches also helps the crust develop properly. This second fry creates that signature shatteringly crunchy exterior while locking in the juicy tenderness.
Draining and Seasoning
Once fried, the broasted chicken pieces are removed from the fryer basket and left to drain briefly on a rack or paper towels. This helps remove any excess residual oil.
While still hot, the chicken can be seasoned additionally with a sprinkle of salt and whatever other dried herbs or spices are desired. Popular seasonings to finish broasted chicken include garlic powder, lemon pepper, ranch seasoning or cajun seasoning.
Finally, the hot broasted chicken pieces are plated and served immediately. Broasted chicken is best enjoyed fresh out of the fryer while the crust is still crispy. It can be served on its own, with various sauces or glazes, or as part of full chicken dinner with sides. Leftovers can also be refrigerated to enjoy later.
And that completes the full process for making broasted chicken! It takes some time and effort, but the results of broasting are hard to beat in terms of taste and texture.
Tips for Broasted Chicken Success
Here are some helpful tips to ensure broasted chicken perfection every time:
- Use uniform chicken pieces of around the same size and thickness.
- Marinate the chicken for at least 4-6 hours for best flavor infusion.
- Fully coat chicken pieces with breading, pressing gently to adhere.
- Do not overcrowd the fryer basket when cooking.
- Allow the chicken to rest before final frying for juicy meat.
- Maintain oil temperatures carefully when cooking.
- Fry the chicken pieces in batches for even browning.
- Let chicken drain briefly after frying to remove excess oil.
- Eat chicken immediately while the crust is crispiest.
Broasted Chicken Pairings and Serving Suggestions
Broasted chicken is extremely versatile and pairs well with many sides, sauces and seasonings. Here are some serving ideas:
- Honey mustard or barbecue sauce for dipping
- Coleslaw, potato salad or macaroni salad
- Baked beans or collard greens
- Mashed potatoes or french fries
- Biscuits, corn bread or buttermilk rolls
- Ranch, blue cheese or honey mustard dressing for drizzling
You can keep it classic with just chicken and traditional side dishes. Or get creative with fusion flavors and global inspiration for broasted chicken meals.
Broasted Chicken Storage
Properly stored, broasted chicken will keep well for several days. Here are some tips for storage:
- Let chicken cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Store chicken pieces in sealed containers to prevent drying out.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.
- Use refrigerated chicken within 3-5 days for maximum freshness.
- Reheat chicken thoroughly to 165°F before eating.
- Chicken can be frozen for 2-3 months for longer storage.
With proper refrigeration and reheating, broasted chicken leftovers can be just as delicious as when first cooked. The breading may lose a bit of crispness but can be recrisped in the oven.
Common Broasted Chicken FAQs
What cut of chicken is best for broasting?
Chicken thighs, drumsticks and leg quarters work especially well for broasting since they stay juiciest. Breasts can also be broasted but may need extra marinating time to prevent drying out.
Can you broast a whole chicken?
It’s best to broast chicken in individual pieces rather than a whole chicken. Trying to broast a whole chicken makes it difficult for the heat to penetrate fully and cook the meat through. Stick to cuts like breasts, thighs, etc.
Does broasted chicken have a crunchy skin?
Yes, broasted chicken develops an exceptionally crispy, crunchy crust from the breading and frying method. The skin itself becomes quite crispy too if still attached to the pieces.
What oil is best for broasting chicken?
A high smoke point neutral oil like peanut or canola oil works well for broasting chicken. Avoid using extra virgin olive oil, as it has too low of a smoke point.
Is broasted chicken fried in pressure cooker?
Broasted chicken is partially cooked in a pressure frying appliance that uses pressure and hot oil. A regular pressure cooker cannot achieve the same crispy broasted results.
How unhealthy is broasted chicken?
Broasted chicken is lower in fat and calories compared to many fried chicken recipes, since it uses less oil. In moderation, it can be part of a balanced diet.
Broasted chicken is a uniquely delicious fried chicken dish cooked using a specialized pressure frying method. The process results in chicken that is remarkably crunchy and full of flavor, thanks to broth-based marinades. While broasting takes some time and practice, the crispy and juicy results are hard to rival. With the right prep and cooking steps, you can achieve broasted chicken success right from your own kitchen. Serve it up for a perfect meal any day of the week.