Cooking the Unthinkable: Chicken Skin

Cooking the Unthinkable is a series that examines some of the more eccentric ingredients.  Whether you are a fan of the bizarre or are preparing for the eminent collapse of Western society this series will help you better stomach weird food.

Thanks to the factory farming of poultry, chicken no longer has much taste.  Dark meat has a little flavor but the white meat is totally devoid of it, save for the skin.  That’s why I have never understood people who pull the skin off of chicken.  That’s where all the flavor is.

I know that a lot of people who remove the skin because they believe it’ll make it healthier.  Poppycock!  Removing the skin may eliminate some of the fat but the dangers of chicken are not in fat or calories – it’s all of the additives.  What good is it to be skinny if you die of cancer at 40?

Chicken CracklinsIf I get my hands on raw chicken skin I’ve got a two-pronged approach – boil it then fry it.  Boiling the skin for 15 minutes or so will render out most of that fat hippies are so afraid of.  Then frying it makes it crispy and delicious in just a few minutes.  If you are totally against frying anything you can bake it for about 30-45 minutes.  However, it is a pretty involved process where you have to lay the skin flat inside sheets of parchment paper topped with a heavy, oven-proof dish to keep it flat.

Whether you fry it or bake it when you pull it out of the fire a little salt sprinkled on top is essential.  Ignore the USDA and Mayor Bloomberg, salt is not bad for you.  The sodium that causes problems in humans is not sodium-chloride but rather sodium from preservatives like MSG and sodium-benzoate.  There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that good old table salt causes anything serious.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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