I make really good fried chicken.
No, really. I do. Everyone says so.
I love my fried chicken. So even I say this.
That said, frying chicken is a pain in the ass. It’s not precisely a lot of work, but you have to stay on top of it, it’s go-go-go, it’s messy and you can’t get around that, and it’s hot.
Now, with that said, it is soooooooo tooooooootally worth it.
Kit’s Fried Chicken
- Chicken, I suggest tenders, doing it bone-in is even more of a pain in the ass
- Baking Soda (or, for the Brits, Bicarb)
- Seasoning (your choice: Italian Seasoning and/or Garlic Powder OR Onion Powder OR Cayenne Pepper OR Chili Powder or be creative)
- Crisco or, in the UK, Trex
How to do it…
- You will see I do not give measurements because I do not measure when I make my chicken. That is just how fabulous I am with making my chicken, I’m so confident it’s gonna be awesome, I don’t bother to measure. And it’s always awesome.
- However, THE NIGHT BEFORE (for best results, though, you can do this two hours before, but don't skip this step) put your chicken tenders in a full-on marinade (that being it covers the chicken entirely) that's made of buttermilk, salt and some good shakes of Tabasco sauce. Now, your chicken is gonna suck up this marinade, so although you want some salt in that marinade, the chicken will be too salty if you put too much salt and too hot if you go gonzo with the Tabasco. See the note below for some guidance on this.
- When you're ready to start frying, make your coating. It really depends on how many tenders you're making, but start with two cups flour with a tablespoon of baking soda (bicarb in the UK...or you can use baking powder) and then season to taste with salt, pepper and whatever other seasoning you want to use. Now, I try as hard as I can not to use Ziploc bags because our landfills and oceans could use a break from them, but this is much easier in a Ziploc bag. Just throw it all in, shake it up, scoop your tenders out of the buttermilk, squidge off as much of the marinade as you can, toss into the Ziploc, and shake it up to coat. If you're totally against Ziplocs, you can try to use a gallon Stasher (which, when I make these again, I'm going to do) or you can dredge on a plate. THE KEY is to have this coated thickly and really beat that coating into the chicken. You want it hanging on for dear life.
- Let's get on with frying. If you have a cast iron skillet, use it. It conducts heat much more evenly. If not, use what you got! Melt the Crisco or Trex in the skillet (apparently, for true Southern fried chicken, you’re supposed to use lard, and apparently part 2, lard is actually healthier for you, but lard freaks me out so I don’t use it and Crisco or Trex are loads better, in my opinion--lighter fried chicken (if there is such a thing)). You need a goodly amount of shortening. Your tenders need to be pretty immersed in it, at least halfway up the pan. Once melted, you'll know the oil is ready to toss in some chicken if you test it by throwing in a bit of flour. If that bit sizzles, it's ready to roll.
- Now, go slowly (I usually have two skillets on the go because when I do this, I don't mess about and I make a TON and that'd take forever if I only used one skillet). Fry 4-6 tenders in a skillet (no more because each time you throw in another one, it'll affect the temperature of your oil which will affect all around cooking). Brown on one side, turn over and brown on the other. We're talking 6-10 minutes each side (second side will go faster). This is chicken, it has to be cooked through, no mucking about. No one needs salmonella. You'll know if it's ready if you insert a thermometer and you get 170F reading or you can make a wee cut to see if there's any pink left.
- When a piece is done, set it on a plate covered in paper towel (sorry environment!) I usually have my oven set very low so I can put these in between batches to keep them warm.
- Cook all your chicken, and serve with mash, or seasoned fries, or coleslaw, or roasted green beans...or whatever! And dip in ranch or hot sauce or bleu cheese dressing, or a mix!
I will say, since I don’t eat dark meat and I’m a lazy eater so I don’t want to bother with bones and such, as mentioned above, I do tenders by either buying tenders or slicing chicken breasts in strips . Takes tons less time while frying and all yummy white meat! However, this is all the same if you do bone-in pieces. Just be careful to cook it through!
Here are some some indicators for the marinade that might help you: 1 ½ pints buttermilk; 2 tablespoons salt; 1 tablespoon Tabasco for 4 boneless chicken breasts.
But make this a few times, you'll find your own jam!