Easy Fried Chicken
Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! I hope you’re taking some time today to celebrate our nation’s Independence with some quiet time with family and friends. If you’re still looking for some extra to put on your dinner table today, you still have time to make these fried chickens. I’ve been singing praises of fried chickens for a while on this blog; and I am on the never ending quest for something simple that I can make at home, but also awesome result. Perfectly fried chickens are a pure indulgence meal: juicy chicken meat under crispy spiced skins… life really doesn’t get better than it, does it? I made these Baked Chicken Drumsticks, somehow hoping to replicate that beautiful crunchy goodness in the outer skin of the chickens. But I’ve somewhat learned that it is hard to replicate that perfect crispy skin of frying the chicken other than… well, frying them.
My kids love eating chicken drumsticks, even my almost five year old, who basically only probably eats two bites of meat per week; and she’s also very picky on what type of meat. My two-year old son, on the other hand, is absolutely obsessed with everything meat: chicken, pork, beef. And broccolis. He’d even pick a fried chicken drumstick, over ice-cream or dessert. He definitely has my gene of favoring everything savory instead of dessert. This recipe seems to be the perfect happy medium, of using both the frying method to perfectly crisp the outer skin, and then finishing them off in the oven, to ensure the chicken meat is cooked perfectly. The buttermilk soak with a little bit of seasoning makes sure that the meat is infused beautifully with a burst of flavors. And then that batter recipe for the skin, yes, it’s delicious. It is thin, perfectly flavored, and just crisp to perfection. If you’ve always been hesitated of making your own fried chickens at home, this recipe is yours to try! Have a great weekend!
Easy Fried Chicken
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
dash hot sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 1/2 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (legs, thighs or breasts - I normally just use all drumsticks)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups peanut (or vegetable) oil, for frying
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the buttermilk, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, the hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add the chicken, turning to coat both sides with the buttermilk mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours (I've soaked mine, somewhere between two, six, and overnight. The longer soak was definitely the best flavored).
Preheat oven to 400 F. Set a wire rack inside of a rimmed baking sheet. Add the oil to an 11-inch straight-sided saute pan (or Dutch oven) and set the pan over medium-high heat. Heat the oil to 375 F.
Meanwhile, in a wide, shallow bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, remaining 2 teaspoons pepper, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder, remaining 3/4 teaspoon paprika, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Add the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and, with your fingers, work it into the flour mixture until small clumps form. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, pressing to ensure a thick, even coating. Transfer the coated chicken to a large plate, skin side up.
Once the oil has reached temperature, add the chicken pieces to the pan, skin side down (a few at a time so you don’t drop the oil temperature too drastically). Cook on the first side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, then gently flip and continue cooking on the second side until golden, about another 2-3 minutes (the crust will darken slightly in the oven while it cooks so no worries if it’s not as brown as you’d like at this point). Transfer the chicken to the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken, allowing the temperature to climb back to 375 F if necessary.
Bake the chicken for 15-20 minutes, or until breasts register 160 F and thighs/legs 175 F on an instant-read thermometer. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe source: The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2012