I’ve had a revelation. A revelation on what makes chicken into THE BEST Fried Chicken. Ready?
It’s the not flour, the breading, the oil used for frying- that makes Fried Chicken good. (Although no doubt these things could aid in supplementing a decent bite a time or two.) Nope.
The secret is in the Brine. “Brine?” you say? Isn’t that the stuff Grammy uses to marinate Thanksgiving turkey? Yup. Yes indeed. But this is no Turkey Day Brine. This is Delectable-Knock-Your-Socks-Off-Crunchy-Lick-Your-Fingers-Licious Fried Chicken Y’all!
This recipe was adopted from a segment from Barefoot Contessa’s kitchen, and The Neely’s kitchen, and Iron Chef’s kitchen. Ok, so it’s a medley of all good foodies making good fried chicken. Here ya go:
For the Brine:
- 1 gallon water (Yeah- it’s LOTS of water)
- 1 cup kosher salt
- Honey (a little goes a longggg way)
- 12 bay leaves
- Head of garlic cut in half
- Black pepper corns
- Sprigs of thyme
- Flat leaf parsley
- A few lemons cut in half
Bring it all to a boil for 1 minute, and pour the brine into a container. Cool completely.
Refrigerate with chicken overnight– just ‘Let it Go.’ (Don’t get me started).
The next day, after you get home from work, school, the cattle ranch, or wherever it is you spend most of your daylight hours, make the dry batter:
- Flour (If you’re into the whole ‘wheat, NOT white’ thing, then use that)
- Cayenne pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Chili powder (Adds a bit of a kick. All depends on how hard you want to be kicked.)
Now here’s a key: Take the chicken out of the brine mixture it was marinating in so magically the night before and RINSE the chicken. Yup, give that chicken a quick bath. This will wash off that salt and herb residue that might be left. No worries, you’re not washing off the flavor of the chicken, just the potentially excess mouthful of salt you might get if you didn’t otherwise.
Put chicken in dry batter, then place it in buttermilk (can be seasoned with hot sauce and salt/pepper for super extra bold flavor- so this is highly recommended), then back into dry batter, and then fry.
For frying, place the chicken in oil (canola, olive, I’m not a big fan of peanut oil but you could use that too) at 340 degrees. As the chicken is frying, give it a shake from the bottom with your frying spoon so the whole thing can get crispy and there are no soft spots. Fry that bird for about 6 minutes, till its golden brown and there’s nothing left but crispy-delicious-power-packed-with-flavor-Ain’t-you-chicken, chicken.
In the words of Rachel Ray: Yum-O!