Rep Note:
Fried Chicken
10 May 2019

¶ After a good deal of disappointment, I have returned to my original method for frying chicken: breading. I’ve given battering a much longer try than it deserved.

Why one is better than the other, I have no idea. But battered chicken is all to often flavorless. Instead of being juicy, the meat is watery. The crusted skin is bland. If I’m making it for company, I’m embarrassed, because fried chicken is one of my specialties. Of course, nothing’s simpler. But I never liked the way the batter tends to roll off the chicken skin. 

This evening, I ran through the steps of breading more quickly than I’ve ever done before, but the result was the same. A very jolly discovery! Here they are: 

  • Brine the chicken, and then drain it. (I do not fry white meat. Three drumsticks and three thighs, all on the large side, are my standard order.)
  • Soak the chicken in buttermilk for half an hour or more, and then drain it. 
  • Combine flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper and salt in a bag. Drop in the chicken pieces and shake. 
  • Remove chicken to a wire rack over a plate. (I find that a circular cake rack fits perfectly over a medium pizza pan.) 
  • Refrigerate the chicken for at least half an hour. 
  • Cook the chicken in hot (375º) peanut oil, turning often, for twelve to sixteen minutes. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool slightly. 

If I’d thought about it, I should have sprinkled the cayenne into the buttermilk. 

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