No, Fried Chicken is probably not Paleo, but it can be…
There are Several Caveats…
Let’s start out by saying that if you stop by B-Dubs and gorge yourself with 53 chicken wings, you probably can’t tell yourself “It’s ok… it’s Paleo!” Here’s why…
We already know that chicken is Paleo as long as it is pastured or organic. Again, organic chickens receive no drugs, no growth hormones, no antibiotics, have been raised in a natural habitat and are raised with organic feeds.
Breaded or Not?
We are used to the traditional way of eating fried chicken with breading. It definitely adds crisp and taste to the chicken which makes it yummier. With the Paleo diet, it is best if you avoid these breading as they are normally made up of all purpose or wheat flour- a big no-no because of its grain/wheat origin!
But if you really wish to eat breaded chicken, there are other alternatives you can choose from. You can coat your chicken with Paleo-friendly coating like coconut, almond or tapioca flour.
With the oil to be used in frying, you can choose from animal fats, ghee, olive oil, and avocado oil. But coconut oil is a sure favorite in the Paleo world. Eliminate using vegetable, seed or any processed oil.
Of course, frying the chicken under the right temperature is also a consideration. If you are deep frying your chicken, the best temperature is 350 to 375 degrees. This temperature provides a delicate balance, where the moisture inside the food keeps the oil out, but the oil keeps the moisture inside. If you fry below 325 degrees, the oil will be absorbed into the food, if you fry over 375 degrees, the food will dry out completely.
Smoke points affect foods. Most unrefined oils come with minerals, enzymes and other compounds which do not go well with heat and tend to be susceptible to rancidity or oxidation of fats. So when the oil used in frying the chicken is heated past its smoke point, the fat begins to break down, releasing the free radicals in it, which is absorbed by the chicken.
What experts say about Fried Chicken.. Is it Paleo?
“I’d give that a solid yes. With the right oils under the right conditions, fried veggies and meats are perfectly acceptable Primal delicacies. Are there better cooking methods? Yes. But again, with the right fat, temperature and food (no traditional batters in sight), frying is an an acceptable cooking method. – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about fried chicken and Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple. Primal Living in the Modern. Action Item #3: Make the Healthiest Choices Across the Spectrum. September 18.
The Paleo Mom. Pros and Cons of Almond Flour. November 2013.
Mark’s Daily Apple. Primal Living in the Modern. Can Fried Food Be Healthy?
Eat Drink Paleo. Making Sense of Healthy Cooking Oils and Fats. January 6, 2014
ALAN. Changes in food caused by deep fat frying – A review
International Food Research Journal 18: 615-620 (2011). Quality changes of chicken frying oil as affected of frying conditions
Did we miss anything?
Comment below and let us know what you think. Do you agree with our conclusion?
photo credit: Fat Casual – Smoked Fried Chicken