“…Just tend to make you feel better ’bout life.” – Minny Jackson, The Help
I’m not sure how true that line is for you, but fried chicken in addition to some great side dishes, sure does make me feel better, sometimes! Growing up, I enjoyed my grandmother’s (both of them) fried chicken, my mom’s and my dad’s! Each person had their own way of seasoning and I’m sure that each had their own frying techniques. I probably took the leap of frying chicken for the first time about 4 years ago. I think the first time, it was pretty good, but the second time…It was absolutely beautiful! With absolutely NO taste. The same was the case for the cornbread that I made with it (I followed some recipe from my Grandmother’s old cook-book. I should have gone with my gut and added sugar as I’d seen Grandma do. Hmph). Anyway, I was a bit sad, as I’d spent all this time on making a fabulous meal for my family and friends just to end up with a bland meal on the table. Things have since changed! I’ve moved with the spirit. 🙂 Frying chicken requires you to pay attention to someone else’s technique (seasoning, testing for “done-ness”) and then creating your own. I think you’ll find that your chicken tastes better when you’ve allowed yourself to season with your favorite spices. As a general rule when making any type of chicken, I always brine my chicken in a simple salt water brine, first. Cold water + kosher salt = flavorful chicken. Trust me. Depending on how much chicken you have, you’ll need to eyeball how much flour mixture you need for the frying. I generally don’t use measurements for frying chicken but I’ll be as detailed as possible.
Oil for frying (I prefer canola, but I’m told that peanut oil is the best)
2 c flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
1/4 c Cornmeal
Salt, pepper, lemon pepper, red pepper flakes (not a lot), paprika
1. Place chicken in reasonably sized bowl (or use the sink, if needed), and rinse with cold water and kosher salt, kind of like a wash. This will remove excess oils that are on the chicken. After this is complete, run more cold water into bowl, adding kosher salt. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and put in refrigerator. Allow to sit for at minimum 1 hour.
2. Remove chicken from salt water brine and dry each piece with a paper towel, making sure that your chicken is as dry as possible.
3. Place chicken pieces in a zip-loc bag. Season with about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of lemon pepper, 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes; season liberally with pepper and paprika. Shake bag to ensure that each piece of chicken is covered in seasonings. (I like to massage the bag with the chicken and seasonings in it as well, making sure that each piece is as coated as possible.)
4. Fill frying pan or skillet with canola oil about half way up the side of the pan. You’ll want to eyeball it to make sure that you don’t put too much, but this should be more than enough oil for deep-frying. Turn fire to about medium-high heat.
5. In another zip-loc bag (or brown paper bag if you wanna go old school lol) place flour seasoned with salt and pepper and cornmeal. Shake. Add up to 3 or 4 pieces of chicken into the flour mixture bag and shake, ensuring that the chicken is fully coated in flour.
6. When the oil is hot enough (ways to check oil temperature), remove flour coated chicken wings from bag, shaking off excess flour. Place up to 4 wings in the hot oil, spacing them to avoid over crowding. After about 6 – 7 minutes, turn each piece of chicken over. Your chicken should be a delicious caramel color with visible crispness. Allow chicken to cook for another 6 – 7 or 8 minutes. By this time the chicken should be visibly crispy all over; should it not, feel free to turn it over again. My favorite way to test the “done-ness” is to stick the wing with a fork, near the bone; if the liquid that comes out is clear, it’s done. If not, turn that wing again!
I hope that your chicken turns out as delicious as mine did! Leave me questions and comments!