Believe it or not, I’ve never made American-style fried chicken. My husband loves to chide me about how the recipe that I included in Into the Vietnamese Kitchen is fried chicken light, the modest pieces coated in bread crumbs or panko and fried to a crisp, served with a fish sauce-inflected sweet-and-sour sauce. He grew up with large pieces of chicken coated in flour and fried to a crisp. While that was a standard for him, it was exotic to me. When we shared an apartment in college, my brother and I sometimes ate Kentucky Fried Chicken as a novelty splurge.
Chinese lemon chicken and Korean fried chicken were good but not the same as old-fashioned American fried chicken, my husband contends. While we were in the South last year, we had wonderfully salty, crisp fried chicken at Uncle Lou’s in Memphis. I was looking for a good guide to making American-style fried chicken and decided to let Michael Ruhlman lead me.