Who Invented American Fried Chicken? Fried chicken doesn’t have any one inventor. And it’s much older than you may think! English cook Hannah Glasse had the first published fried chicken recipe in 1747.
However, the earliest stories of fried chicken are thousands of years old. They come from China, the Middle East, and West Africa. However, the dish has changed a lot over the years.
We’ll likely never know who made the first American-style fried chicken which started in the American South. Some people think the recipe came from Scottish immigrants. However, many believe it was brought from Africa. There’s no doubt that African people who were enslaved in the US made the dish what it is today. They used West African spices in the breading mixture. This created a taste that was new to the Southern US. The dish quickly gained fame.
African American entrepreneurs, many of them women, started selling fried chicken as early as the 1730’s. Later, other people did the same. Fast-food restaurants selling fried chicken started opening up in the 1950’s. Many of them are still around today.
Up until the early 1900’s, fried chicken was a dish that was usually reserved for special occasions and holidays, due to the relative scarcity of spring chickens and the need for such a high volume of fat.
Today, just about all of the chickens you’ll find at your supermarket or butcher shop are broilers, which have been bred specifically to be suitable for all types of cooking, including frying.
Because older birds are tougher and require long cooking at low temperatures, in the early days only young chickens (cockerels or pullets) were suitable for the high heat and fast cooking time of fried chicken. The fact that these were only available in spring and summer made the dish even more of a luxury item. The lengthy preparation time also meant that it was rarely, if ever, found on restaurant menus.
When it comes to frying chicken, there are three primary methods: deep-frying, which will fry the chicken evenly and is the easiest method; pressure-frying (or “broasting”), which takes less time than traditional deep-frying and generally results in a juicier bird; and pan-frying in a cast-iron skillet, which is the most old-fashioned technique and is regarded as the best due to ample browning and a higher level of control.
Have you ever heard of Kentucky Fried Chicken? Colonel Harland Sanders was adamant that his chicken be pan-fried while operating his first restaurant, but he was also unhappy with the fact that the traditional method took more than half an hour, far too long for a conventional restaurant.
Sanders purchased one of the first commercial pressure cookers ever produced in 1939 and converted it into a pressure fryer (a very dangerous move, in hindsight), and found that the resulting chicken was just as good as his pan-fried chicken, and cooked in half the time. Not only did this development set the stage for KFC’s success, it also played a big role in taking fried chicken out of the home kitchen and into the restaurant.
Fried chicken has also continued to change. Nashville hot chicken, chicken and waffles, and Buffalo wings are just a few modern takes on the classic food. Some people even eat fried chicken wings dipped in gold!
People all over the world make versions of fried chicken. Some of them are similar to American fried chicken, and many of them are not. If you’re looking for some tasty varieties of the dish, order it in South Korea, Senegal, or Japan. In conclusion, now we know who invented American fried chicken.
Content for this question contributed by Chris Valiquette, resident of Walnut, Los Angeles County, California, USA