Friday, September 20, 2013

Crispy Fried Chicken

I have wanted to make fried chicken for a LONG time. It's one of my favorite things to eat (not sure if that's due to growing up in VA or because it's so good). I've always been a little wary of making it, because it seemed like it would be a lot of work and really messy. This does take a fairly long time, but it really wasn't that hard. Mostly, it was a lot of prep work.
Ingredients for marinade (minus water)
The first step in making this fried chicken is to make your marinade. You add all your ingredients in a big pot (including your halved lemons) and 1 gallon (or 16 cups) of water and bring to a boil. You let it boil until the salt has dissolved.
Once your marinade is done, you need to chill it so as it doesn't cook your chicken. I popped a couple ice cubes in it and put it in the fridge. I hadn't read this step, so it threw me for a loop. I think it takes about an hour to chill in the fridge. Once it's chilled, put your chicken into the marinade and let sit in your refrigerator for at least 4 hours. After the four hours, rinse chicken, pat dry and lay them out on parchment paper. Allow them to sit for about an hour or until they come to room temperature.
The chicken after it's 4 hour soak

 Ingredients for the coating
You are now ready to make your mixture for the coating. You need 2 bowls for the coating, and 1 bowl for your buttermilk.  Evenly split your flour and spices between 2 bowls. Add 3 tablespoons buttermilk to one of the bowls until the mixture is crumbly.  Your mixtures should look like the pictures below.
 Crumbly mixture (right)
Dry mixture (left)

Set up your bowls as following: Dry bowl, buttermilk bowl then crumbly bowl. Place a parchment paper lined baking sheet next to the last bowl.  Pour your oil into a pan and heat until it reaches 320 degrees. I used a deep fryer thing that my MIL had and a candy thermometer. On a separate baking sheet, place paper towels and a cooling rack on top for the chicken to drain. Now prepare to get messy! Coat each piece of chicken in the dry mixture, then dip into the buttermilk. Allow the excess to drip off, then roll the chicken through the crumbly mixture. Lay on your parchment paper and repeat with each piece of chicken.
Chicken in dry mixture
Coated and ready for frying!
Once your oil is heated, drop your chicken in carefully (I had a basket, but if you don't use tongs). I fried 3 drumsticks at a time. Cook 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. I cooked about 9 min and cut into the first pieces to make sure they were done. Use your tongs to take your finished chicken out of the oil and place on the cooling racks.

Chicken getting cooked!
My first finished pieces!
Allow to cool and enjoy!! I served mine with garlic mashed potatoes and peas and this meal was a big hit. I'm actually going to make it again next week, but I might try adding some hot sauce (just a little) for a bit more spice.  I've heard conflicting things about whether to add it to the buttermilk or the crumbly mixture, so if anyone knows the answer, let me know! Oh and wondering if the girls liked it?
Kae loved it ;0)
Recipe: (Adapted from The Rookie Cook)
2-3lbs Chicken Drumsticks
For the Marinade
3 lemons, halved
1/3 cup dried parsley
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 gallon (or 16 cups) water

For the Coating
3 cups flour, divided
2 Tablespoons garlic powder, divided
2 Tablespoons onion powder, divided
2 teaspoons paprika, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 cups + 3 Tablespoons buttermilk, divided
For Frying
1 Quart Canola Oil (I needed a bit more than that)
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a large pot.  Bring to a boil stir for about 1 minute, or until salt dissolves.
Remove from heat and chill the marinade (about an hour). Then add your chicken. Chill for about 4 hours.
Take chicken out of marinade, rinse under cold water, and pat dry.  Let sit for 1 1/2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
Take out 3 medium sized bowls.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of flour in each, and divide the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper equally between the two bowls.
Add 3 Tablespoons of buttermilk to one of the bowls and mix til it is crumbly.
In your last bowl, pour the remaining 2 cups of buttermilk.
Set up your bowls with the dry bowl first, then the buttermilk, than the crumbly mix.  Place a parchment lined baking sheet or pan next to the last bowl. 
 Pour oil in a large pot (you want it several inches deep), and using a thermometer, bring the oil to a temperature of 320°. If using a deep fryer, set to setting for chicken ( I still tested heat with thermometer)
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place a cooling rack on top the baking sheet for the cooked chicken to drain.
Coat each drumstick with the dry mixture, then dip in the buttermilk and let the excess drip off.  Then, roll the drumstick in the crumbly mixture and place on the parchment covered baking sheet.  Repeat with your remaining chicken.
Once the oil is heated, carefully lower drumsticks into hot oil and fry for 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. 
 Remove chicken from hot oil using tongs and place on prepared cooling rack. 
Repeat with remaining chicken .  
Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Extreme Chicken Closeup