A Legendary Chicago Chef's Secret To Great Fried Chicken: Very Low And Slow

Welcome to The Fried Chicken Show!, a three-episode series where we solicit some of our favorite chefs for tips and techniques for frying chicken. In this first episode, we were lucky to have Ina Pinkney, the legendary Chicago chef whose restaurant Ina's was the breakfast spot. Pinkney's acclaim spawned a cookbook, a documentary, and the moniker of Chicago's "Breakfast Queen."

For many years, Pinkney served her buttermilk-brined fried chicken at her restaurant, and her cooking method differs from many of her chef colleagues: Pinkney keeps her oil temperature at 280 degrees Fahrenheit, considerably lower than most recipes that calls for 350 or more. This solves one of the common problems amongst first-time chicken fryers—a scorched exterior with a raw interior.

Pinkney's other strategy involves staggering the cooking times based on the cut of the chicken. First she'll add the breast piece, wait 10 minutes before adding in thighs, then the legs 10 minutes later, and finally wings—all in the same cooking vessel—until everything is cooked through and can be served at the same time.