Fried chicken is one of the few items on a menu that can really be called enticing. This special occasion dinner is more popular than it has ever been as a result of the fierce competition among both casual and upscale dining establishments for the title of “best.” The weekend picnic favourite is getting close to its optimum season, and it’s about to be ready to be served on a dish surrounded by mashed potatoes and greens or to be sandwiched between pickles and coleslaw on a soft bun. Many meat-lovers find fried chicken to be tempting, but preparing it at home may be challenging for even the most experienced chefs.
Despite the fact that the majority of recipes agree that chicken should be brined, dredged, and then fried to produce the greatest results, the manner in which we get there is up for discussion, with differences in the kind of flour to use, components in the brine, and which oil is most effective. Don’t worry, hungry readers; we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves (including an unexpected ingredient) for the most delectable chicken breasts, thighs, and legs you’ve ever sunk your teeth into, and just in time for National Fried Chicken Day on July 6! (mark your calendars).
Prepare Your Chicken Using This Unexpected Ingredient in the Brine
The marinade or brine that is often asked for in recipes for fried chicken is a salty liquid that the uncooked chicken is soaked in for anywhere from two to twenty-four hours, depending on the preparation process. The chicken is less likely to get dry after being cooked if it has been brined beforehand, which is why bringing is so crucial. Because of osmosis, the liquid hydrates the muscle fibres in the meat, and the combination just has to consist of salt and water to accomplish this. However, why should we stop there? According to Wonder How To Food Facts, a brine for fried chicken that contains alcohol results in a crust that is more evenly crisp. According to Serious Eats, as the alcohol evaporates at a quicker rate than water does, it helps prevent the creation of gluten and dries up the crust of the chicken, turning it into something that is light and crispy rather than dense and gummy. You may use vodka to get a taste that is more neutral while adding bourbon will provide more flavour. There is no need to be concerned about the amount of alcohol present since the vast majority of it will evaporate throughout the cooking process.
The addition of other components might bring your boozy brine recipe to the next level. Cayenne pepper and hot sauce are added to the brine of the famed Nashville hot chicken to give it its signature level of heat. Another popular dish these days is pickle-brined fried chicken, which involves first submerging the chicken in pickle juice for a whole day and then coating it in buttermilk. According to Scrambled Chefs, doing so yields tasty and moist chicken that does not need as much seasoning in the latter stages of the cooking process because of the chicken’s inherent taste. After bringing your chicken, the next steps will allow you to finish it off to perfection.
Dredge it to a very high degree.
When the inside of the chicken has reached the desired level of taste, it is time to coat or dredge the individual pieces to create the crust. To begin, one of the many ways to botch fried chicken is to not pat it dry with a paper towel before dredging it, which prevents the crust from sliding off later. This is only one of the many ways to botch fried chicken (and what a shame that would be). The coating may be prepared using almost any kind of flour or a mix of flours, and the only seasonings necessary are salt and pepper. In order to generate a crunch that can be heard, James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock incorporates cornmeal into the crust in addition to all-purpose flour. On the other hand, the recipe in Bon Appétit asks for a blend of all-purpose flour and cornstarch in the same proportions.
Although the chicken batter used for fried chicken should always be seasoned, the brine and/or the finishing condiments often provide the greatest flavour. According to the BBC, fried chicken may be found in every culture throughout the world. When making their marinade, the Japanese include soy sauce, garlic, and ginger; on the other hand, Guatemalans season their fried chicken with citrus and spices before frying it. And what many refer to as “Korean fried chicken” is really fried chicken that has been coated with gochujang, which is a spicy chile sauce that is thick, sweet, and salty.
Follow These Steps to Make Crispy, Golden-Brown Fried Chicken
The interior of the chicken has been seasoned with brine, and the outside has been seasoned with a combination of flour and spices; it is now time to fry the chicken. The temperature of the oil should ideally be maintained at roughly 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and chefs can make use of frying thermometers in order to achieve this. Vegetable oil that has no discernible taste will have a high smoke point and will bring out the natural characteristics of the chicken. On the other hand, the mix of lard and butter that is recommended by chef Sean Brock will result in a flavour that is smoky and robust. Food editor Andy Baraghani recommends that cooks remove the chicken from the pot once it has achieved the desired level of browning, and then finish it off in an oven preheated to 400 degrees until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees. This recommendation applies regardless of the type of fat used.
If, on the other hand, the internal temperature of your chicken is 165 degrees but it still has a pale crust, Wonder How To Food Facts recommends doing a double fry. Take the chicken out of the oven and let it on the counter for at least a quarter of an hour to cool down. Before serving, bring the oil back up to temperature and fry the chicken until it is golden brown. This will allow the outside to brown while the inside will reheat without further cooking. Cooks may save money by reusing frying oil, which is a blessing in this day and age of sky-high oil prices. To finish off your chicken, season it once more with salt, and then allow it to rest for fifteen minutes so that it may become the juiciest, crunchiest, and most delicious chicken you have ever tasted.