On Tuesday Husk executive chef Sean Brock tweeted out a photo of a new fried chicken dish available at the Nashville outpost, calling it a "[t]rial run" and making it available in a very limited quantity, only that day, only for lunch. As a refresher, several years ago Brock tested the fried chicken waters at Husk in Charleston, making it available only through him with 48 hours notice required. That version never officially made it on to the menu, but now, after three years of R&D, he's ready to introduce it to the world. Brock took a few minutes to give Eater the low-down on what makes this incarnation different and where he gathered his inspiration.
In a previous interview with Eater, you were quoted as saying that you "[didn't] want to serve [fried chicken] unless it's really memorable." What's happened over the past several years to get it to a point where you're now ready to put it out there?
Well originally the idea was to render down all of these fats, chicken, country ham, bacon, a few others, and then pan fry it, and it was just a pain. It took too long. I knew there had to be an easier way to do it. So I was out in Portland, Oreg. and got inspired by this little honky tonk dive bar called Reel M Inn. It's just one lady behind the bar, you order the fried chicken, she goes over to the freezer, pulls it out, drops it in the fryer. And it was great. She showed me a trick that I'll use forever. And then I was recently taping a segment for The Chew where I made fried chicken and it made me think back to that.
So along with that trick, what is the preparation and cooking process?
The trick I learned is really simple and is typically used in shady places, dives. You just pre-bread the chicken, so that way when it's done, the chicken skin stays on. I hate it when you take that first bite and all of the skin just comes off. So what we do is quickly brine the chicken, not overnight, just 7 or 8 hours. We took a look at the Colonel Sanders secret spice recipe, referenced that for the breading. Then we take flour, no buttermilk, pre-bread it for a minimum of three hours and let it sit. Then fry it in the five fats the same way we did before, and add cayenne and paprika to the fry mix. Then we dust it with a mixture of mash from our house-made hot sauce, and add some spray-dried vinegar powder, which just soaks up all of that fat. So it's really a hybrid of 5 or 6 different types of chicken: gas station, honky tonk, Colonel Sanders, Husk five fat, hot chicken and buffalo wings.
I understand that this is the beginning of a 'meat n two' special Husk will be running during the week?
Yeah. I love plate lunches, meat and threes. I could eat at Arnold's every day. That type of food to me is just special, homey and comfortable. So we are basically going to do an ode to the Nashville plate lunch. Monday through Friday, lunch only, we'll do a $12 'meat and two' special, and the protein will stay the same for each day of the week. We're planning on having roast beef, fried chicken, meat loaf, pork chops and fried catfish. We've just been doing off-menu test runs this week, and it could roll out on the menu as early as next week.
· Sean Brock [Twitter]
· Sean Brock's Secret, 'Old-School, Old-Fashioned' Fried Chicken [ECH]