Friday, April 30, 2010

Broasted Chicken - What is it?

At a number of buffet restaurants when you go up to the fried chicken on the hot buffet server, there is a sign above that says BROASTED CHICKEN. Shady Maple is a buffet that serves "Broasted Chicken". It looks like fried chicken but it is "broasted", what the heck?

I always wondered. In fact, I wondered about this for a lot longer than when I started go to eat at buffets. When I was a kid a take out restaurant opened in a nearby community called the "Broaster House". Always seemed to be just fried chicken, but they had the slogan, "It's not fried, its broasted!" Hmmm. So broasted - broiled roasted? No actually, not at all.

Broasted is a cooking process that has been around for more than 50 years. It is a pressure deep frying process. It requires special equipment that is made by and distributed by one company - Broaster. Only food that comes from their equipment may be called Broasted and the process can be used on not just chicken, but other meats and fish as well. The name is trademarked and the process must be done in their equipment with the Broaster Company's marinades and seasonings.

So what is the difference between Broasted Chicken and Fried Chicken? The machine is a pressure cooker deep fryer - frying the food under great pressure. Regular fried chicken is either put in a wire basket and sunk into a vat of hot oil or put in a frying pan with a layer of oil in it. The Broaster Company claims that chicken made by their process contains less carbs than fried chicken such as KFC, etc. They also claim there are less calories and less fat in Broasted Chicken. The process results in a more tender, juicy, and flavorful piece of chicken. Sinking the chicken into a plain vat of hot oil as is usually done will toughen the meat of the chicken. Some people think that the chicken when cooked under pressure will have the oil pushed into the chicken, but the company has proven that this is not true and in fact, results in less fat than open frying.

I recently went to Shady Maple Smorgasbord just to check out the broasted chicken. (I hope you don't believe that was the only reason that I went to Shady Maple - there was a lot more that I wanted there than just the Broasted Chicken, but I figured it was a chance to enjoy and critically taste Broasted Chicken with this article in mind.) So, is there a difference. The Broasted Chicken is moister than fried chicken that I have had at other buffets - OCB comes to mind. It is also cooked properly - not over done (as is often the case, again at OCB). The taste is good. Is it the best fried chicken that I have ever had - no, Mrs. Rowe's fried chicken gets that honor - see my article about Mrs. Rowe's a few weeks back. But the Broasted Chicken is good and it should be consistent due to the cooking process.

So next time that you go to Shady Maple or any buffet that has Broasted Chicken over the fried chicken being served, take a bite and know exactly how that chicken was made and why it is not "fried" but "broasted".

Broaster is a registered trademark of the Broaster Company.

1 comment:

Amy k said...

I live in Michigan and broasted chicken is very common. Another commonly broasted item is potatoes. Usually, with the skin left on and then cut into wedges or large pieces. Crispy outside, super soft and fluffy inside. So yummy!
Growing up, broasted chicken and fried chicken were always thought of as two different dishes. I guess that comes from having a wise Yankee Dad trying to keep the peace with his Southern Bride. Besides, my Memaw fries a mean piece of chicken and only a fool would dare to compare it to anything else. ^_^