Bird fancying

Despite what a certain Kentucky "colonel" might have you believe, the key to good fried chicken isn't the secret herbs and spices; it's the simple matter of cooking it on the bone.

In Australia of late, restaurants have begun to fry more chicken and fry it better. Two of the best examples are near-neighbours in Sydney's inner west, Mary's (pictured above) and Hartsyard. An industrial-looking pressure-fryer is one of the secrets of the former, while the latter serves its version with Lowcountry sausage gravy and a buttermilk biscuit.

In Melbourne, the Wednesday-night special fry at Rockwell and Sons has recently clinched the lead, while Korean chain Kyochon still holds the title for Brisbane's best bird (Naruone and Arisun are also front-runners in Sydney).

Morgan McGlone, a chef who left Sydney for the charms of the American south, now heads the kitchen at Husk restaurant in Nashville, a city considered the mecca of deep-fried birds. His current approach sees the birds broken down into eight pieces, all on the bone, and brined in buttermilk and Crystal hot sauce. "I drain the chicken on a rack for an hour and toss it in a mixture of flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, celery seed and pepper." He fries the chicken for 13 minutes in peanut or canola oil, and likes to serve it with butter-bean succotash, braised mustards and watermelon. "And," he adds, "no self-respecting Southerner would ever use a fork to eat fried chicken."


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