With Sissy's Fried Chicken, Like all Fried Chicken, It's All About That Skin-to-Flesh Ratio

Categories: Whimsy

Sissys_SaraKerens_ChickenCloseup.jpg
Sara Kerens
While interviewing Jeffery Hobbs about the fried chicken at Sissy's, the subject of this week's review, I asked a number of questions about his process. I've only fried chicken at home a few times (the smell!) so I'm not well versed it its mechanics. I did, however, page though all my cookbooks to learn a little about what makes for good fried chicken from a cook's perspective. I used some of that info during my interview.

I asked Hobbs to tell me about the birds he was using. He couldn't remember the name of the farm but it was near Pittsburgh. He mentioned the birds were small, "about 2 1/2 to three pounds." That number jumped out at me.

I'd read it in the fried chicken recipe in Ad Hoc, a cookbook by Thomas Keller that takes a super-refined approach to casual home cooking. The only reason I remember the number is because I tried to find those birds at a handful of grocery stores but couldn't. Your average bird runs three to four pounds. Some get up to five or more. (You can get smaller birds if you ask ahead at many groceries.)

Keller calls for smaller birds because smaller birds yield a higher skin-to-flesh ratio, and we all know the best part of fried chicken is the skin. Hobbs echoed the sentiment exactly. He added some language about portion size, but the real reason was the skin. It was a small attention to detail that's apparent in all great cooking.

I haven't had a ton of fried chicken in Dallas, but I'll tell you Sissy's serves up some fine bird. Don't even touch it till you get a bottle of sriracha in hand. It's not real sriracha -- like many things at Sissy's the sauce is made by hand -- and it may even be an improvement on the sauce. So sweet. So smooth.

Location Info

Sissy's Southern Kitchen

2929 N. Henderson Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant


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9 comments
Melissa
Melissa

La Michoacana and some of the other carnicerias tend to have smaller whole chickens than the regular grocery stores also if you want to try to find them there.

Melissa
Melissa

You can't get the meat done enough without burning the crust with great big chicken pieces.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

My Mom and Grandmother both pan fried chicken, they said 2.5 lb was ideal. Don't forget the bigger the bird the longer to cook the harder the crust.

Sarah's Bakery and Grocery, Richardson, TX (just E of Central/Springvalley) has chickens in the 2.5 lb range, they appear to have a full butcher shop on site. They're Halal so the meat's hormone free, lamb, beef, chicken. The pita bread alone is worth the trip.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/sara-b...

Stirthekettle
Stirthekettle

the birds are actually from Pittsburgh, TX 

matt
matt

2.5-3 lb local windy meadows chickens are all over if you are in need. That's what I use for my Thomas Keller baked chicken nights

primi timpano
primi timpano

 The breasts tend to dry out in the larger birds.For whatever it's worth, I pulled out my 1949 edition of A Taste of Texas.  Mama's Garlic Fried Chicken calls for two 2 1/2 lb frying chickens.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

 I'm still shaking off the North Eastern cobwebs. I hear Pittsburgh, I think Black and Yellow. 

Thanks for the catch. It's updated.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

If you're correct then the cook and the writer are dumbasses..I'm not familiar with the cook, but I am with Scott..I'm figuring you're correct.

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