Chick-fil-A has grown into the fast food superstar it is today thanks to its signature fried chicken dishes. The company's proprietary recipes make their chicken irresistibly flavorful, juicy, and crisp, and one key factor in achieving this perfection is the cooking oil it employs. The Chick-fil-A website proudly declares, "Ever since our founder Truett Cathy created the Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, we've been cooking our hand-breaded chicken exclusively in fully refined, heat-processed peanut oil."
If you have ever made fried chicken, you will know that the oil you use for frying is as essential as any other factor, including spices and breading, frying time, and the quality of the chicken itself. Whether or not you use a refined oil with a higher smoke point will determine the final product's flavor. Peanut oil is a viable frying choice, but with the looming risk of allergies among diners, it is important to be aware of its use.
What Makes Peanut Oil Perfect For Frying
According to the Chick-fil-A company, peanut oil plays a crucial role in the tastiness and pursuit of a healthier chicken. The company website claims: "The purity of the oil enhances the flavor of the chicken, and we feel good serving our customers chicken cooked in oil that contains no trans fat or cholesterol and contains a balance of 'good fats' (mono and polyunsaturated)."
There is even more to using peanut oil than its flavoring properties and comparative health benefits. Peanut oil is a common choice for deep-frying because of its high smoke point, meaning it can bear high temperatures without burning. The high-heat oil quickly cooks the chicken without absorbing too much into it, making for a cooked-through and crispy end product. Peanut oil is actually the best oil for frying chicken according to renowned chef Thomas Keller. Like Chick-fil-A, peanut oil is the only type of oil that burger chain Five Guys uses in its food.
Is Peanut Oil A Real Allergy Concern?
The reasons that Chick-fil-A (among other restaurants) uses peanut oil are sound, but with the ever-growing rates of allergies in the United States, consumers may be concerned. As of 2019, studies have found that over 6 million Americans have peanut allergies (per FARE). The comparable frying qualities and cheaper prices of other oils, like canola and vegetable oil, beg the question of whether the use of peanut oil is worth isolating potential customers with peanut allergies.
Chick-fil-A addresses allergy concerns by noting that its peanut oil is "refined, bleached and deodorized, which means the proteins in the oil are stripped out during the processing." The absence of peanut proteins in the oil should be considered since the proteins are what cause allergic reactions.
Ultimately, though, the decision to try out Chick-fil-A should be on an individual basis. There are plenty of peanut-free chicken sandwiches on the market.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.