The folks behind 8 Hands Farm have raised the bar when it comes to fried chicken on Long Island: fresh birds that make their way from farm to fryer in four days.
The two-piece basket is on the lunch menu at the new food truck that launched Memorial Day weekend outside the farm on Cox Lane in Cutchogue.
Eight Hands hired the husband-and-wife team of Jonathan and Carly Copeland to run the stationary truck. The duo most recently worked at Shinn Estate Vineyards until the winery was sold in April. At 8 Hands, the couple reunites with Julien Shapiro, the farm’s butcher and chief charcuterie maker, with whom they worked in Washington, D.C.
The fried chicken is the highlight of a rotating menu that takes its cues from a farm that raises pigs, sheep and chickens along with fruits and vegetables.
Eggs from the chickens find their way into breakfast sandwiches ($7.50) that for an additional $2.50 can be topped with cured bacon, breakfast sausage or scrapple made by Shapiro, who mans a separate kitchen on the farm.
Shapiro’s hand-stuffed sausages are cradled by Tom Cat Bakery rolls and topped with sauces made using local produce. A recent example included a spring onion and lovage chimichurri. “There’s a lot of lovage over there,” Jonathan Copeland says, pointing to an overgrown bed of the pungent herb near the truck and joking, “this is going to be the summer of lovage.”
As for the fried chicken, pasture-raised birds are hauled off to Rhode Island by ferry on Tuesdays for slaughter. “The chickens just do better on the ferry,” Copeland said. “They don’t react well to the Long Island Expressway.”
They return Wednesday and are immediately plunged into a brine of salt, sugar, ground black and white pepper, chilies and dried garlic.
On Friday, the birds are removed, allowed to air dry and are dredged, successively, in flour, buttermilk and flour again. After a two-hour rest, the chicken is fried and paired with creamy cucumbers, coleslaw and a Calabrian chili honey.
The food truck is open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m. for breakfast and to 3 p.m. for lunch.
8 Hands Farm Food Truck is located at 4735 Cox Lane, Cutchogue; 631-533-2768, 8handsfarm.com