I recently made fried chicken for one of our favorite clients that come to Lake Tahoe several times a year. Every time I cook for them I make a big fried chicken dinner one night during their stay. They ski all day at Northstar California Resort and come home to a delicious, comforting meal.
No dressing up, heading to a restaurant and dealing with meltdowns because someone is hangry, just conpy yoga pants, a glass of wine and a home-cooked meal to enjoy with your family as all the kiddos are running around playing. Relaxing right?!
On to the fried chicken! So there are a few things that you will need when making fried chicken, setting yourself up for success and making your life a heck of a lot easier.
First off, you need a dutch oven, something that is deep enough to fry in. Frying always freaks me out. Grease fires! Use a deep dutch oven, not a skillet. The chances of the oil bubbling over are higher in a skillet. So dutch oven it is. I love my Le Creuset dutch oven, I’ve had it for years, it works great and is so pretty. It’s a kitchen staple that you will have forever.
Any old candy thermometer will work fine; I think I got mine off of Amazon. You just need to make sure that the oil temperature when frying remains at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. No one likes soggy oil soaked fried chicken; we love that crispy, crunchy crust. Am I right?
After I fry our chicken, I place it on a baking sheet to drain and continue cooking inside the oven. I have to fry the chicken in batches. This keeps the chicken warm a crispy as you are frying the other pieces. We never make just a small amount; let’s be honest leftover fried chicken is the best!
Dark meat only? White meat only? Or a combination?
Everyone is different but, if I was cooking for myself I’m a bone-in, skin-on, dark meat only kind of gal! Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with chicken breast, but for me, there is a time and a place for it. Fried chicken in my book is made for that juicy thigh meat, drumsticks and wings, oh don’t forget the wings. I butcher down several whole chickens, save the breast for another time by packaging inside the freezer, section off the dark meat and remove the spines for bone broth gravy. No chicken will be wasted. I butcher down several whole chickens, save the breast for another time by packaging inside the freezer, section off the dark meat and remove the spines for bone broth gravy. No chicken will be wasted.
Yes, brine your chicken! I know it takes preparation and planning on your part, but you will not regret this step. Brining helps to build flavor and tenderize your meat. I use a simple buttermilk brine for our chicken. Place the chicken and brine in a double ziplock bag and inside the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Oh, all the possibilities! You can coat your chicken in pretty much any type of flour. I’m sure you’ve seen it all, but my personal favorite is Pamela’s Gluten-free all-purpose flour mixed in with a little salt, pepper,
Like flours, there are many oils that you can use to fry your chicken in. I like to use a good neutral, high heat cooking oil, like avocado oil or grapeseed oil. At Fed & Full, we do not use vegetable oil, canola oil or peanut oil. These oils can spoil quickly!
Heat, light, and oxygen can turn these oils rancid. Rancid oil won’t necessarily getting you sick right away, but over time, our bodies react to them. It’s a personal preference thing for me, and I don’t use them for my business. Here is a link if you want a better understanding of why these oils are gross.
So, I remove the buttermilk chicken mixture out of the refrigerator two hours before we are going to dredge it in flour. I just plop the ziplock in a large mixing bowl and let it start coming to temperature while I take care of everything else for the meal. Once the chicken has come to temperature, I add my seasoned flour to the mixing bowl.
When you bring the meat up to temperature, your meat cooks more evenly. We don’t want a raw centerpiece of chicken or a completely overcooked piece of chicken! We are going for juicy fried chicken. It’s not going to kill you if you are smart about it! If you would like to get a better understanding of bring meat to room temperature read this article from Basically.
No one wants chicken gunk all over the kitchen. Section an area off near the stove to dredge, fry and bake the chicken. Then you only have one area to sanitize when you are done.
Open the brined chicken and toss each piece with the seasoned gluten-free flour. Set the coated pieces of chicken aside on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
This helps me stay organized frying the larger pieces first like the thighs and ending with wings. If you were using chicken breast I would recommend cutting those in half starting with the breast, thighs, drumsticks, and ending with the wings. Make sense?
You want your oil hot! Once the oil is at 350 degrees Fahrenheit add a single layer of chicken in the dutch oven. Once you add the chicken into the frying oil the temperature will drop slightly, crank it back up to 350 degrees. Fry the chicken on each side until golden brown. After the chicken is golden brown, place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to drain; sprinkle with salt and finish cooking inside the oven at 350 degrees, repeat until all chicken is at an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
After all the pieces are crispy and golden brown, remove from the oven and lets rest for a few minutes. Once cooked through, arrange on a platter and serve.
Looking for a great side dish to accompany your fried chicken dinner? Check out our Brown Butter Roasted Rainbow Carrot recipe. You won’t be disappointed!