Friday, May 24, 2013

Revamped : The Best Fried Chicken I've Ever Made (part two)

Revamped: The Best Fried Chicken I've Ever Made (part two)
So, I went about ranting + raving for actually pulling off southern fried chicken to relative success, but I knew I would soon revamp the recipe to make it better... and um, yeah SO much better. I switched up quite a few things and I'm super glad I did. I simplified the battering technique, because sometimes less is really more, and that never happens around this joint. I bumped the spices by adding a little sugar, ground mustard, and ground thyme. Thyme pairs amazingly with chicken, trust me on this. The wet batter dip is thinned out and is spicier than usual, which we obviously love. But, that is always up to personal preference. I found out that self-rising flour is great for frying chicken, who knew?!? I added a little cornstarch for extra crunch and a little thing that we like to call "chicken nibblets". These crunchy nuggets are a mix between heaven + hell and hold onto your hips for dear life, but heck, enjoy the ride while ya can because it's totally worth it :) All that's left is frying it in a ratty-ole cast iron skillet that's deep with bad-good fat (bad as in unhealthy, good as in super tasty). I bought lard this time, but threw in some bacon fat and duck fat, juz'cuz I could. You know, a good southern woman always has that to go to in the freezer. Oh and PS, check out my next post for slammin' spicy hot sauce!! Enjoy :)

For the Brine:
8C Lukewarm Water
1C Sugar & Kosher Salt (each)
5-6lbs Chicken Wings, Drumsticks, & Thighs (we like a mixture of only dark meat really)

For the Dry Rub:
1T Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 ½t Paprika & Ground Mustard
¾t Cayenne & Granulated Sugar
1t Garlic Powder & Onion Powder
Prepared Brined Chicken, Completely Dried

For the Flour Coating:
3 ¾C Self Rising Flour (AP Flour can be substituted)
½C + 2T Cornstarch
1t Ground Thyme
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
Prepared Dry Rubbed Chicken
¼-½C Buttermilk (to be used in the last step of the breading process) 

For the Wet Batter Dip:
1C Buttermilk
½C Water & Milk
¼-½C Hot Sauce (depending on your heat preference)

For the Fried Chicken:
Brined, Seasoned, & Coasted Chicken Pieces
Fat, For Frying (Peanut Oil, Vegetable Shortening, or Lard for this… even a mix of each one)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
Honey, Hot Sauce, Pepper Vinegar, or Maple Syrup, For Serving

1. For the Brine: Place the chicken into a large Ziploc bag. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in large bowl and whisk until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour the brine over the chicken and refrigerate for 4-12 hours. Once brined, drain & dry the chicken, and then set aside.
2. For the Dry Rub: Whisk together all of the seasonings until combined. Rub this mixture all over the dried, brined chicken until completely coated. Place the chicken into a bowl, cover, and chill overnight. Once the chicken has marinated, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
3. For the Coating: In a brown paper bag, combine the flour, cornstarch, thyme, salt, and pepper. Shake the rubbed chicken in the flour mixture and get rid of  the excess flour from the chicken, and then place them into baking dish that has the mixed combination of buttermilk, hot sauce, and milk/water. Dip the chicken into the wet batter and let the excess batter drip off.  Right before you are ready to fry, drizzle in some of the excess buttermilk into your breading flour mixture. Using a whisk or a fork, stir it around and mash up the larger pieces of flour chunks to form chicken “nibblets” or extra crispy pieces of batter. Finally dredge it in the remaining “nibblet” flour and coat them well. Gently shake off anything excess, but don’t waist no “nibblets”, ya hear!
4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or cast iron skillet to 350 degrees (we prefer cast iron skillets).
5. Frying the Chicken: Fry the chicken until they are a deep golden brown and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes (possibly longer if you’re chicken is larger, just make sure the juice runs clear, if not, refry or keep warm in the oven to bring them to temperature). Once they are fried, remove them to a wire rack or a plate of paper towels to drain, sprinkle with a little salt & pepper, and keep the chicken warm until ready to serve. Serve with Jack Daniels Maple Syrup, Fresh Serrano Hot Sauce, or Red Pepper Flake Infused Honey… or ya know, some delicious buttermilk waffles.

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