Who doesn’t like fried chicken?
I’m going to tell you up front this is anything but fast and easy. You’ll have to prepare and work for it. The idea of eating fast food chicken a.k.a “Dirty Bird” never really has appealed to me…you know the places I’m talking about!
Okay, here’s the thing about cooking temperatures. I’ve seen posts going as high as 350-375F. It’s too hot. It will burn the bejesus on the outside. In my experience I find 300-325 to be the sweet spot. If you have a temperature controlled deep fryer you’re golden. Start with 300F first and work your way up on your next batch. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find the right heat.
Relax…don’t do it….sorry had to say that. Don’t rush this, take your time it’s not a racing cook off.
Don’t add to many pieces in at the same time! In my pot I can add 4 maybe 5 pieces at a time. If you over crowd it the oil drops too low in temperature and the pieces will become a mess. Do this in batches. It’s okay trust me. If your goal is to make 12 pieces and it take 3 batches so be it.
One Oil Fact and Tips
- Fact #1: Deep frying is just not good for you. So let’s get over it and cook with the good stuff.
- Tip #1: Oils to use: Peanut, Sesame, Lard or Canola. Forget using olive oil it has a terrible taste, keep that for your salads!
- Tip #2: Don’t use Panko bread crumbs. They will not stick to the chicken, works only with baking.
- Tip #3: Don’t fry cold chicken. It will lower the oil too fast and the chicken won’t cook evenly and you might as well kiss the crispy skin goodbye. The tip is to let the chicken sit for 30-45 min on the counter to get to room temperature first. Do this before you put the pieces into the flour seasoning.
- Tip #4: Frying temperatures: Start at 350F and try and maintain 300-325F after all the chicken has been added. If the oil temperature is too low then your chicken is going to absorb more oil. And if it’s too hot it will just burn. So be patient and get it right, yo!
- Tip #5: Use a wired rack after frying and oven cooking. Don’t use paper towel the steam will just make the crust soggy.
- Tip #6: As soon as you pull the chicken out onto the rack. Give it one more blast of salt…lightly don’t go nuts.
- Tip #7: For the love of God throw out your general store paprika. Go buy the $10 jar of Hot Smoked Paprika.
Pickle Juice: The first step is to marinade in Dill pickle juice, it’s the real magic. I personally have no use for the pickles so I dump the whole jar onto the chicken parts for 24 hours.
Buttermilk: Take the chicken pieces out and put them into another container of buttermilk for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours.
Seasoning: The world is your oyster. Just stir into the flower.
Reminder: Make sure the chicken is at room temperature before you season.
Season: Some people use egg before flouring. I think it’s a waste of egg. The buttermilk alone is good enough. When you add the seasoning apply it thick just like in the picture. If the flour gets too gooey. Make more. It needs to be coated well.
Action: As soon as you add the chicken to the oil the temperature is going to drop quite a bit. So start the temp high around 350F. The trick is to maintain cooking at 300-325F. Cook your chicken for about 20-25 min or until you reach an internal temperature of 165F. If your oil doesn’t cover all of the chicken. Then just turn over halfway through cooking time.
Finish: As soon as I put the chicken on the rack to cool. I give it one more dusting of salt. I have no problems letting the chicken cool for 5-10 min before chowing down. Don’t rush it I assure you it will still be hot and letting the chicken rest is always a good thing.
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