The Best Fried Chicken



The Best Fried Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

For the Brine:

  • 1 medium-sized chicken, cut into pieces (or you can purchase a fryer chicken)
  • 8 cups water
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, sliced in half
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • For Frying:
  • 1 liter vegetable oil
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt, for finishing

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First, cut your chicken into 8 pieces if you haven’t already (i.e. two breasts slices in half, making four pieces, two thighs, two wings) and place in your brine container, be it a very large, sturdy sealable bag, a large bowl, or some kind of sealable container. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized pot, place 2 cups of water, ½ cup kosher salt, ¼ cup honey, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 2 quartered lemons, 1 head sliced garlic, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the salt and honey are fully dissolved, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in your remaining 6 cups of water. Place everything in the fridge or leave on the counter until it comes to room temperature (because you don’t want to boil your chicken). You can also place some ice in the brine to cool it faster, if you like. Once the brine is FULLY COOLED (again, because you don’t want to cook your chicken yet), pour it over the chicken and place in the fridge overnight, or for at least 3 hours.
  3. When the chicken is ready, rinse it and pat it as dry as you can. Pour about 3 or 4 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided pot and bring it up to 320 degrees F.
  4. In a shallow dish, like a pie tin, combine your flour, garlic powder, paprika, chile powder, salt, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Divide the flour mixture in half, and place the other half in another shallow dish or pie tin. Place your milk in a medium-sized bowl. Set up your dipping station, starting with one dish of the flour mixture, the milk, and the other dish of flour mixture.
  5. It’s best to fry your chicken in this order: thighs, drumsticks, breasts, wings. Starting with the thighs, dip them in the flour, then the milk, then the flour again, shaking off any excess, then place them in the hot oil, making sure to adjust the temperature a bit after adding the chicken, as the temperature will drop once the thighs are added. Fry the thighs for 10-12 minutes, until a deep, golden brown. Remove them from the oil and place them on a cooling rack or paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the drumsticks, frying for 10 minutes or so, then fry the breasts for 10 minutes, until golden. Fry the wings for 8 minutes until (you guessed it) golden brown.
  6. If, at this point, you want to wait to serve your fried chicken, you can leave the chicken out at room temperature (assuming it’s a reasonable temperature out – I wouldn’t do this in the summer) on a cooling rack, so that air can travel under the fried chicken so it doesn’t get soggy in one place, for up to 2 or 3 hours. When you’re ready, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, and place the chicken on a cooling rack fitted inside a baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until hot and crispy. Obviously fried chicken is always at its best when served immediately, but this is the method I’ve used every year for Thanksgiving and it’s worked pretty well!
  7. Before serving, lightly sprinkle your fried chicken with sea salt, like fleur de sel. Serve with hot sauce on the side.

Source: The Crepes Of Wrath

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