For Chef Todd Richards, executive chef of White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails in downtown Atlanta, great fried chicken is no accident. Richards tells The Daily Meal, “People assume that fried chicken is a casual endeavor, but fried chicken is really one of the most sophisticated and difficult techniques to do correctly.” Richards goes on to detail his process for his famous fried chicken, which has won six awards throughout the Southeast and is banned from one competition in particular as Richards’ chicken has won too many times. The chicken is brined for 28 hours, seasoned with over 15 different spices, and fried at a temperature of exactly 310 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Daily Meal hosted a pop-up previewing Richards’ highly anticipated fried chicken concept, Richards’ Southern Fried, which is set to open in Atlanta’s Krog Street Market this spring. Offerings included Richards’ Hot Chicken Sandwiches with pimento cheese, chow-chow, and pickles; three different kinds of fried chicken: Classic, Hot, and Richards’ Hot; and banana pudding with pastry cream, bourbon, and wafers.
On his top tips for making fried chicken, Richards stresses the importance of starting with great, quality chicken. Other tips included planning ahead of time as there are several time-consuming steps to making fried chicken, using a thermometer to fry the chicken at just the right temperature, not being afraid to season, and of course, to always make more than you anticipate eating.
The event was sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms, whose chicken was used for the event. Regarding Springer Mountain Farms’ chicken, Richards says, “I think it tastes good, and that’s the most important thing. If it didn’t taste good I wouldn’t serve it.” He continues to say that the combination of great-tasting chicken that is also raised correctly is a “win-win” in Richards’ book.