How to Cook the Best Fried Chicken in the World

There’s no better feeling in the world than eating the best fried chicken in town. Think about it: you’re holding a glistening drumstick in your hand. The coating is gorgeous; it’s nothing but golden-brown ripples that guarantee a good crunch. As you bring the chicken closer, you smell the spices — pepper, onion, garlic and smoky paprika.

The first bite is always heavenly. As your teeth sink into the crust and the juicy flesh of the chicken, you can’t help but enjoy mouthfuls of chicken after this first drumstick. If only you can eat chicken for the rest of your life (if not, the rest of the hour at least).

Fortunately, you don’t always have to order fast food to satisfy your fried chicken cravings. You can make honest-to-goodness, crispy and finger-licking delicious chicken at home. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a first-time fryer, you can easily make your own batch of juicy fried chicken within the comforts of your kitchen.

Essential Steps in Frying the Best Fried Chicken in the World

fried chicken on stainless steel tray
Photo by Shardar Tarikul Islam on Unsplash

Frying fried chicken can be done anytime, but if you want the best chicken, consider it your weekend cooking project. You’ll need a couple of hours to finish it, but once you’ve perfected the technique, you can fry more than one batch at a time for special occasions or moments when you want to devour an entire bucket of chicken (Please don’t, though. It’s not good for the heart).

Here are the steps to follow when you want to make juicy fried chicken at home.

Step One: Buy the Chicken Pieces

When it comes to fried chicken, the drumstick is always the piece everyone wants. To avoid arguments at the dinner table, buy the pieces you want instead of breaking down a chicken by yourself. If you’re serving fried chicken to a group of drumstick enthusiasts, shop for drumsticks instead. Drumsticks are also ideal if you want a faster cooking time since the breast part takes a while to cook. Mix it up by adding some thighs to the bunch.

But if you’re not picky with your chicken pieces, you can always buy a whole chicken to fry.

Step Two: Make the Chicken Juicier with a Dry Brine

Dry brining refers to salting your chicken first. You can do this for just 30 minutes before coating and frying or overnight in the fridge. Salting is an important step since it gives you moist and flavorful fried chicken. The salt gives the chicken its flavor and tenderizes it at the same time.

Step Three: Make Your Spice Mixture

In 2016, KFC’s secret spice recipe was leaked to the public by the Chicago Tribune. 

According to the report, KFC uses plenty of spices in large amounts, but it can be too strong for some fried chicken enthusiasts. If you want a delicious spice blend with a kick, consider the following spice mix recipe:

  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt

Mix the seasoning blend while your chicken is dry brined.

Step Four: Use Cornstarch, Alcohol and Egg Whites for a Crispier Coating

While flour is a constant ingredient for coating, you can always add an extra crunch to your egg and buttermilk mixture by adding alcohol (e.g. vodka), more egg white and cornstarch. These odd ingredients create a crispy coating the gives your chicken a super crunchy look and texture.

Step Five: Fry Your Chicken In a Dutch Oven

While most people use a cast-iron skillet or any pan to fry their food, a Dutch oven remains one of the best places to fry your chicken. Its high sides prevent oil splatters while the depth of the oven regulates the oil’s temperature as you fry more chicken.

Cooling and Serving the Chicken

Fried Chicken on stainless tray
Photo by Lucas Andrade on Unsplash

Once you’ve finished frying your chicken, move the pieces to a cooling rack set over a paper towel or a baking sheet. The chicken must sit directly on the towels to remove any excess grease. This practice also creates a steamy spot that prevents the skin from becoming too soggy.

Instead of devouring the chicken immediately, let it cool for at least 10 minutes. Proper cooling ensures the chicken’s crust sets well. It also lets the towel absorb the condensation, which keeps your chicken crispy for longer.

Fried chicken is heaven-sent comfort food that can make anyone smile. Keep smiling by learning how to cook up your batch of the best fried chicken in the world.

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