Uncle Jack Fried Chicken is a Malaysian restaurant chain that uses our Collectramatic pressure fryers to cook fried chicken. Ordinarily they placed the finished chicken in a display warmer for serving. To maximize holding time, they limited the warmer to 35°C (95°F), putting a limit on the amount of time they could hold cooked chicken before it was no longer fit to sell. We suggested they test our CVap holding cabinet, in the hopes of extending their holding time and improving food quality. The test results were exciting!
Holding Cabinet Preparation: The CVap Holding Cabinet was set at food temperature 54°C (129°F) and food texture at + 28°C (82°F). The evaporator was filled with hot water, and the cabinet was allowed to preheat for 45 minutes, to reach full temperature.
12:05pm: Chicken was cooked and removed from the fryer, and put into holding cabinet (15 pieces). Initial taste of chicken: crispy outside, moist inside and meat is very hot to touch and taste.
12:10pm: Cooked rice (wrapped in oil paper) is put into the same holding cabinets with fried chicken. Initial taste of rice: moist, sticky, and fragrant.
13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)
Chicken was still crispy outside (though very slightly less crisp than when first removed from fryer), moist inside, still hot, and color had not changed. The chicken breading remained crisp.
13:35pm (holding for 90 minutes）
Chicken was still crispy and moist. Color was good. Food retained flavor, with minimal loss of freshness.
13:55pm (holding for 2 hours)
The skin remained crispy, though not as crisp as when it was initially fried. Flavor and moisture were still good. Color had not darkened.
14:00pm (rice held for 2 hours)
Rice was hot and tasted fresh; not dried out at all.
15:35pm (3.5 hour holding time)
Chicken tasted good, skin remained crispy, meat was moist. Although the chicken was not “just cooked” fresh after 3.5 hours, it was still at safe temperature, and appetizing enough to serve.
15:40pm (after holding for 3.5 hours)
Rice was hot, and texture was good.
These photos, taken at different times over the course of testing, give you an idea of the appearance of the food.
Electricity Consumption: 800 watts
Holding Capacity per Cabinet: 13 full size sheet pans, each rack equals one basket (4 heads) chicken, or 338 pieces
CVap Holding Cabinet Test Conclusions
Goals for Future Testing
- Extending the holding time for the chicken without compromising the texture, taste, and food safety.
- Testing other products, (wrapped rice was incorporated).
- Improving staff work flow.
- Staff can pre-prepare chicken during lean hours in preparation for peak hours, thus shortening the waiting time while producing the best tasting fried chicken.
- During lean hours, customers can still savor the taste of freshly fried chicken from the holding cabinet.
- Minimize food shrinkage.
- Minimlize food waste.
- Extension of holding times for other foods is possible, since CVap cabinets are versatile enough to hold both crispy and moist foods.
One Final Note – CVap Technology is great, but it’s not magic.
The very nature of fried foods (crisp outside with moist interior) promotes evaporation. CVap technology is the best available to maximize holding time, but even CVap, using the necessary high differential setting (the difference of food texture setting over the food temperature setting) will eventually lose the battle to maintain food temp and freshness. It’ll hold fresh longer than the competitors, but if the food is crunchy (fried chicken, French fries, etc), it can only be held for so long.
On the other hand, moist foods, such as rice or noodles, are perfect for CVap, and can be held for many hours with no loss of temperature or quality.
The consensus of the Uncle Jack test was that it was possible to lengthen the holding time for chicken. More testing would be needed to perfect the texture, taste and crispiness, to come up with the Uncle Jack Standard Operating Procedure.
Winter may be waning, but the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken sure isn’t. We decided to try our hand at preparing a big batch. It was as good (and hot!) as promised.
Nashville Hot Chicken’s powerful poultry story originated nearly seven decades ago, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Apparently Thorton Prince was quite the lady’s man. Tiring of his late night escapades, his gal served him up a Sunday breakfast of fried chicken, generously doused in cayenne pepper and other fiery spices. Her revenge backfired – rather than crying out in pain, he loved it, and the inspiration for Nashville Hot Chicken was born. If you’re interested, read the whole story on Prince’s website. Numerous other restaurants and chains, inspired by Prince’s, have put their own twist on this Nashville classic.
We brined in the fridge overnight using a simple 6 % brine. If you want to learn everything you need to know about brining go to our friend’s site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header). We lightly dusted the chicken with our seasoned flour, and then dipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.
Then we tossed lightly again in our breading mix, giving us a light double breaded chicken. Double breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried. Properly prepped, it was ready for the Collectramatic fryer.
The chicken was open-fried for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After draining excess oil, we painted with the spicy special sauce using a pastry brush. It was as good as we had hoped, delivering a delicious heat that delighted our taste buds while making our faces flush and our brows sweat.
This chicken can be held for two hours in a CVap holding cabinet. After frying, place it directly in a CVap set to 135 +50. Apply the sauce just before serving.
Here’s a pared-down version of the recipe (in case you’re not feeding an army).
Nashville Hot Chicken
- 2 – 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into ten pieces (breasts halved)
- 1 gallon of 6% brine
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. (You may use your own special flour mix if you’d like).
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups) (unless, of course, you have a Collectramatic fryer handy).
- 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
- If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer; pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
- Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning once after 15 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces registers 185°F and 165F white meat. This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn for a total cook time of 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.
- Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.
The Collectramatic Open Fryer OF59C uses FilterFry technology to cook chicken and other foods to golden perfection. Its patented cold zone prevents cracklings from scorching and tainting your shortening. The OF59C is an open fryer with 18 lb (8.2 kg) capacity and an 8-channel programmable control.