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Damn Good Fried Chicken: My Recipe

posted by in Recipes

The secrets? A quick brine and hot oil.

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My childhood meals of memory are filled with fried chicken. It’s my Dad’s favorite food and when Mom wasn’t in the mood to cook, we’d hie off to a certain fast food joint that claimed fame by way of its fried chicken.

I’ve mentioned before that when it comes to cooking, I’m no good at two things, grilling and frying. Because of this, I don’t get to eat much fried chicken, and the ones I do eat however, don’t give justice to my memories. Stringy and painfully dry, they’re just that – painful to eat.

Recently, I’m faced with a yearning for fried chicken. And – as food cravings are wont to do – they’re merciless and endless. Clearly, the madness has to end or I may start running around like a headless chicken.

As with everything I do, if it’s to be done, it has to be done right. So I consult with my chef-friends, scour my cookbooks for recipes, and I bone up on the secrets of frying.

Turns out there are no secrets, after all. The fried chicken that I want, full-flavored and crackly crisp, benefits from brining and lots of hot oil. Brining is an added task but its benefits are huge. A solution of water, salt, and spices, it tenderizes and flavors food, imparting tremendous juiciness.

As for my frying oil, I still have a lot of Minola Coconut Oil left over from when I make granola. I discover that coconut oil is a terrific frying medium. It has a high smoke point and is able to withstand high temperatures without altering the structure of its fats that have health-promoting qualities. These fats are the saturated medium chain fatty acids, the most abundant being lauric acid which is noted for its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

Thus, a one-two punch of brining and lots of coconut oil give me the fried chicken of my dreams: soft, with a flavor that just won’t quit, and extreme juiciness – honestly, I didn’t think fried chicken could be this succulent. In true Southern US-style, I serve the chicken with some buttermilk biscuits on the side, layered, fluffy things perfect for sopping up the chicken’s juices. Tonight, the biscuits are accompanied with some honey-balsamic sauce for a drizzle of salty and sweet.

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Crackly chicken, crispy biscuits.

Just how good is this fried chicken? Well, let’s put it this way. When I ask my daughter, Boo, if she likes it, she replies, “I don’t like it, Mom. I LOVE it.”

Damn Good Fried Chicken
Yield: One whole bird – you decide how many people that can feed.
As for the biscuits and the honey-balsamic sauce illustrated in the photos, I will share those recipes another time. The fried chicken is the star here.

Quick Brine for Chicken

If you’ve got the time, then omit the ice water step below.

1.5 liters water from the tap
100 grams / 8 tablespoons (approximately) rock salt
2 heaping teaspoons each: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, peppercorns (whole and/or crushed)
1 chicken, pre-cut, washed and dressed
500 grams (approximately) or ½ kilo of ice (optional)

In a large saucepan deep enough to submerge chicken, combine water and salt. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine spices. Rub half of spice mixture over dressed chicken, and pour the other half into the salt-water mixture. Set chicken aside and bring brine mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to ensure spices dissolve evenly. When brine starts to bubble vigorously, remove from heat.

If you’re not in a rush, cover chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate while waiting for brine to come to room temperature. If you’re impatient like I am, then gradually add the ice to the hot brine until the brine is lukewarm. I use the finger test: the brine is ready when you can stick your finger into the brine and not wince. Stir the brine with a wooden spoon.

Now, you’ve got two options: you can either drop chicken pieces into the saucepan holding the now-cooled brine OR place the chicken pieces into a large and deep mixing bowl, plastic bag, or air-tight plastic container, and pour the brine over. Whichever vessel you choose, make sure that the chicken pieces are completely submerged in the brine. Save remaining brine (if any) for another use.

If you’ve got a monster-sized craving going on, then allow chicken to luxuriate in the brine at room temperature for just 2-3 hours. But if you can wait (ah, the patience of a saint!), then refrigerate chicken in its brine for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

Remove chicken pieces from brine and drain over a large wire rack. Discard the brine. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels, no need to exfoliate the poor bird, just dry it down a bit so it’s not dripping wet. At this point, it would be ideal if you could cover the chicken pieces in plastic wrap and let them chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, but if you haven’t got the time, don’t sweat it.

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Fired up and ready to fry! My deep fryer’s been with me since 1999 and it’s still going strong.

Fit To Be Fried
Now we fry the bird. I get the best results when I use my deep-fryer so my instructions reflect that. Even if you’re one of the superstars who can fry using a regular fry pan, the secret to fabulous frying is still the same – lots of clean, hot oil.

Brined chicken
Enough flour for dredging
One 2-liter pack Minola Coconut Oil

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There’s nothing quite like the sound of sizzling oil. My mouth waters at the sight of it.

Fill fryer with oil to the fill line. If your fryer has heat settings, adjust temperature to 350°- 375°F.

While waiting for the fryer to heat up, dredge chicken pieces in flour. Don’t be tempted to add any more salt and/or packaged seasonings to the flour as the chicken is already salty enough from the brine. Transfer dredged chicken pieces onto a plate.

When fryer is ready, carefully place as many prepared chicken pieces in the fry basket as can fit; do not crowd. Lower basket into the oil. Fry time is dependent on several factors so you be the judge. Test if chicken is done by slicing into it; if juices run clear, then it’s done.

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Will you look at the bubbles on that bird: Crrrispy!

Place fried chicken onto a serving plate lined with paper towels. Cover cooked chicken with a paper towel to keep warm. Continue frying the rest of the chicken. Serve hot to fully appreciate the crackly skin. Consume with biscuits, as I do, but chicken goes well with just about any side dish.

17 Responses to “Damn Good Fried Chicken: My Recipe”

  • Hi Lori!

    Everything looks mouth-watering! Can’t wait for your recipe for the honey-balsamic sauce. I recently tried what’s being touted as the No. 1 Buttermilk Fried Chicken in the metro (the resto’s down south) and more than the chicken, I LOVED the honey-balsamic sauce they served on the side. The bread they served didn’t work for me, but the combination of the chicken with the sauce was amazing. I’ll check back for your version of the honey-balsamic sauce!

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:


    Hi Ana,
    I know that restaurant you’re referring to ;-) I hope to try it sometime also. For now, I hope you try my recipe.

    [Reply]

  • Oh my crispy goodness Fried Chicken! I bet those are crackling lickin’ good Ms. Lori!
    My intestines kicked me just now!!!

    When I saw this, remembered the Oh so juicy, crispy, TENDER chicken of Sincerity chicken in Binondo. Did you try their chicken there? If not, you should try! Another one is Koko Buri’s (well for me WAY WAY BETTER than BON CHON). Their first branch were from my place, Clark Angeles City, Pampanga. Now they have their branch at BGC, Taguig. You might want to have some FRIED CHICKEN Adventure! :)

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:


    Hi Ivy,
    A fried chicken adventure sounds terrific to me. Thanks for all your recommendations.

    [Reply]

  • Hi Lori,

    Thanks for this wonderful chicken style cooking… will try this with my son, Papillion. ;)

    [Reply]

  • Oh, Lori, how I always love reading your posts. I just love the way you write! I was chuckling while my mouth was watering. You’re so funny. Good things come to those who wait, so when I make this, I’ll brine it overnight. I had to learn patience the hard but satisfying way by making your cheesecake in the DCF book.

    [Reply]

  • Yummy! Thanks for mention!

    [Reply]

  • So the oil specifically has to be Minola? Or any other palm oil will do? Palm oil in general works great for deep frying.

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:


    Hi Gusto-
    You can use any frying oil you wish, of course. I happen to use Minola which is why it’s featured here.

    [Reply]

  • Hi Lori ,

    We have just sent you a message through your contact regarding our project.

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    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:


    Thanks for getting in touch with me, MyTaste. I’ll look at your message.

    [Reply]

  • I love fried chicken! Crackly skin, with its natural (or briny) juices intermingling with some glorious fat… Drool alert!

    By the way, instead of flour, I use a mixture of cornstarch and corn meal. It stays crispy longer than when you use regular flour.

    [Reply]

    Lori Reply:


    Misao-
    Yes, cornstarch and cornmeal make a terrific dredging base!

    [Reply]

  • Patience and fried chicken. What a combo. hahaha. I can almost hear the crunch just looking at the photo Ms Lori!

    [Reply]

  • Hi Lori!

    Can’t wait to try this Minola fried chicken!

    Nonna

    [Reply]

  • One of my favorites! Chicken :D It will surely be delicious. I’m so hungry right now.
    http://kaibril.com/

    [Reply]

  • looks delicious and agree with Misao that corn starch/corn meal makes it extra crispy.

    btw, can’t wait to learn your biscuit and honey-balsamic sauce. hope you post it soon.

    have a nice day.

    [Reply]

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