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Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

I've been fooling around with fried chicken for longer than I like to remember. This recipe is the best so far for crispy, spicy fried chicken. This recipe got rave reviews from the whole family (and some guests). Plus, it's just as good cold as hot. My next trick is to fry wings this way, and then season them for hot wings.

I gave up on recipes that had baking powder and/or baking soda in them, because they invariably made chicken with thick and heavy coatings. Plus, those coatings never seemed to adhere very well. I also wanted a recipe that didn't require buttermilk, which I don't normally keep on hand except to experiment with a chicken recipe.

This recipe is enough for one chicken, cut up into ten (or 12) pieces:

Two wings, without the tips
Two drumsticks
Two thighs
Four breast pieces

I usually cut the breast pieces in half to make them similar in size to the other pieces, yielding 12 pieces total. Before I cut up the pieces, I remove the backbone from the chicken with a serrated knife and poultry shears. Then I cut up the chicken into the 12 pieces.

If you need to increase the recipe, double the dry ingredients, but leave the wet ingredients as is.

If you don't already know how, see Cutting Up a Chicken to get the pieces you need. Now brine them for an hour if you have the time. In the meantime, you can use the wing tips, the back pieces, and all the stuff you find in the chicken cavity to make a delicious gravy while the chicken is brining.

Also while the chicken is brining and the gravy is simmering, get out a fairly large bowl and a gallon size Zip Lock bag. Or a paper bag. This is also the time to start the mashed potatoes cooking, and maybe heat up a veggie to go with the dinner.

Here's how to fix Fried Chicken:

In the bowl, mix

Two eggs
1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon MSG (optional, but really good!)

In the bag, put

3 cups flour
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper

If this turns out to be too tame, next time add more pepper(s).

Shake the bag to mix up all the ingredients.

Dip the chicken pieces in the bowl, let them drip a little, and then shake them in the bag. Put the pieces on a rack over a paper towel until it's time to cook them.

Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil (but the fried chicken purists will demand Crisco, and that's OK with me) in a skillet or heat a deep fryer to 325 degrees. In the skillet, the temperature will fall when you add the chicken, but level it out at about 325. Cook the chicken for about 20-30 minutes, turning frequently. Don't cover it. For the deep fryer, it will only take about 10-15 minutes at 375 (15 minutes for thighs, drumsticks, breasts, 10 minutes for smaller pieces like wings or partial breasts).

You can keep the chicken warm in a 200 degree oven on a wire rack over paper towels on a cookie sheet if you need to fry the chicken in batches. For the deep fryer, I can only cook three or four pieces at a time; fortunately the deep fryer is faster than the skillet.

This recipe also works great for chicken tenders or boneless breast pieces, as well as wing parts and other pieces you can buy frozen in big bags.

Of course as you make batches in the future, you will probably modify the recipe from time to time. But for now, I'm not experimenting too much on this one; seven people out of seven liked this better than KFC, and five out of seven liked it better than Popeye's. Maybe it's time to quit experimenting...


Copyright John P. Choisser - CookingDude.com 2005-2014