Photo by Stacey Ballis

It's just crackers, man

Stacey Ballis
September 10, 2018

When I was growing up, the cracker aisle was not the vast display of abundance that we enjoy today. Most grocery stores pretty much carried the basics: Triscuits, Ritz, Town House, Wheat Thins, saltines, water crackers and Club House. The fancy ones also might have Stoned Wheat Crackers, the large green tin of Bremner’s wafers, and the black box of “Entertaining Assortment,” but the really great ones also had Chicken in a Biskit. These grammatically suspect snack crackers were often found near the equally linguistically troubling Cheez-Its. Whatever spelling issues Nabisco was having in its product development department, their tasters were on point, and these crackers packed a chickeny punch that my young self just adored.

It is probably also important to note that as a child I liked to open a package of Lipton Chicken soup mix and eat the powdered bouillon off a licked-damp finger. But the point is that the crackers didn’t taste so much like real chicken as they tasted, deliciously, of chicken flavored bouillon. The “biskit” part of the equation was more of a basic butter cracker, and essentially served as a chicken-flavor delivery device.

I have not had a Chicken in a Biskit cracker in decades, but the sense memory was recently awoken when, traveling abroad, I found myself in possession of some Walker's Sensations roasted chicken and thyme potato chips. Poking around in the bottom of the bag for the salty shards of broken chips and powdered flavoring, I wondered what had become of Chicken in a Biskit. As the proud wife of a Kentucky bred gentleman, I have worked hard to get my biscuit game strong. Which made me think, could I hack my own Chicken in a Biskit … in a biscuit?

Turns out, folks, I can. And so can you.

Swap out rendered chilled chicken fat for your usual butter or shortening. Add in some poultry seasoning mix, and some powdered chicken bouillon.The extra bonus is little nuggets of crispy chicken skin. These biscuits are amazing on their own with just butter, but honey is great on them just like it is on fried chicken. And if you want to go all meta, you can put actual cooked chicken in your chicken biscuit for the most uber chicken experience possible. Slap an egg on it if you wanna get take it all galaxy brain.

Chicken in a Biscuit

Makes 9 large or 12 small biscuits

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon
1½ teaspoons poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ cup crispy chicken skin bits (optional: see note)
½ cup frozen rendered chicken fat, cut in cubes (Note: chicken fat softens quickly even at fridge temperature, and your butcher will sell you this in tubs.)
1¼ cup buttermilk, as cold as possible from the fridge

Directions

2 tablespoons melted butter mixed with ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

Heat your oven to 450°F. Place a piece of parchment on a sheet pan.

Put all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to be sure the seasonings are fully combined with the flour. Toss in the bits of crispy chicken skin and mix so that they are well-distributed. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the chilled chicken fat into the flour roughly, leaving a variety of sizes throughout the flour. Add in the buttermilk, and stir through. Check your dough to see if it needs more flour, you want a ragged slightly tacky dough. If your dough is too wet, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until you get the right consistency. Chicken fat melts very quickly so you want to handle this dough as little as possible.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, flour the top of the dough, and flour your hands. Pat the down into a thickness that you would like for your biscuits, between ½ inch and 1 inch depending on how tall you like them. I like a rustic square biscuit because it means less dough manipulation, but if you want round ones, feel free to cut them with a floured cutter. I just pat my dough into a rough square and cut them with a floured bench scraper into 9 squares.

Place the biscuits about an inch apart on your prepared baking sheet, and brush the tops with the seasoned melted butter. Bake for 12-15 minutes on the center rack of your oven until golden brown on the outside and fully cooked. Serve hot or warm with butter, honey, or the topping of your choice.

Note: To make the crispy chicken skin bits, either ask your butcher to reserve half a pound of chicken skin for you, or, if you have plans for a chicken dish, remove the skin from 6 large chicken thighs, since thigh meat is the part of the chicken that can happily survive being cooked skinless. Place the skin spread out as thinly as possible on a greased rack over a sheet pan, season with salt and pepper, and bake in a 400°F degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Let cool on the rack then chop fine. For a different taste sensation swap out for chopped French’s fried onions.

You May Like