Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On The Menu: Fried Chicken

*Disclaimer: This is not a healthy recipe. If you try it, do not complain that it is greasy, fatty and delicious. If these things bother you, you shouldn't eat fried chicken...ever.

So, this was the first time we've ever really attempted to make "real" fried chicken. For our first attempt, I'd say it was pretty good. Luckily we did it in two batches so we could learn from the mistakes of our first batch.  This recipe is modified from one found on the Food Network website from the Bobby Flay fried chicken throwdown challenge (this was the competitor's recipe).

What we used:
Four chicken thighs, bone in/skin on, thawed (it's best to not used chicken that has been frozen for this)
1 Pint Low-Fat Buttermilk
A couple tablespoons Sriracha or simlar hot sauce
About 4 tablespoons minced garlic (from a jar)
2 Cups Flour
2.5 Cups Corn Oil
1 Stick Butter
Salt & Pepper
Chili Powder

 1. Mix together your buttermilk, hot sauce, and garlic. Coat the chicken and let it sit in the mixture for at least two hours, but preferably overnight. We let ours sit overnight and all the next day until we got home from work. This step is extremely important, so try not to cut corners.

2. Take the chicken out of the fridge and set aside. Heat your corn oil and butter together over medium heat. Also, get out a baking sheet and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

3. Mix together your flour along with two tablespoons black pepper, 1 Tablespoon salt, and paprika and chili powder to taste. To be honest, our chicken wasn't spicy at all, and we could have used a lot more spices - so go crazy! Add what you think looks good!

4. Once the foaming from the butter has subsided, remove the chicken from the buttermilk one piece at a time, and let the excess drip off. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture and place skin-side down into the hot oil. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Ours could only handle two at a time.

5. Now the tricky part. You don't want to continually flip the chicken, or it will be soggy and greasy. The trick is to just let them sit in the oil for about 10 minutes on each side. The difficulty for us was finding a temperature that would cook the inside of the chicken completely but wouldn't burn the outside. We actually turned down the heat on the second batch so it would cook a little slower. Try to only flip the chicken once.

6. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but it's also important. When you remove the chicken from the oil, place it on a baking sheet and into your preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes. This helps the chicken cook through and makes the outside crispier.

7. The top picture is from our first batch, and the bottom is from our second. The meat was really good, although I wished the seasoning had been spicier. I would also recommend setting the pieces on some paper towels to absorb any extra oil - it makes eating it a lot easier. When we got a piece that had been cooked perfectly, you could really taste the buttermilk that it sat in and it was SO good.

Overall, making fried chicken requires a lot of patience - something everyone knows I don't really have. But now that we've done it once, it's not so scary, and we'd be willing to try it again. It's amazing that something that's such an American staple is so difficult to get right! Feel free to click on any of the pictures above to enlarge.

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