For those learning classic American cooking techniques, you’ll definitely want to learn how to make fried chicken. While this might not be the healthiest dish in the world, learning to properly season and fry poultry opens up a wide range of options in American cuisine. Furthermore, learning this dish will give you an opportunity to master the simple art of pan frying. To make quality fried chicken, invest in a large cast-iron skillet, as these cooking implements are good at retaining heat and holding the desired temperature. In case a cast-iron skillet isn’t available, a large nonstick pan will also suffice.
Fried chicken recipe
Here is an easy fried chicken recipe courtesy of Food Network’s Alton Brown:
- 1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Flour, for dredging
- Vegetable shortening
Cover the chicken pieces in buttermilk in a plastic, sealable container. Close and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
After the chicken has sat for the specified time in the refrigerator: In a cast-iron skillet, melt the shortening over low heat to until there is a layer 1/3-inch deep in the pan. Allow the shortening to liquefy and modify the heat to raise the temperature of the shortening to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain this temperature without going over. (Use a kitchen thermometer to measure the temperature)
Drain the chicken in a colander. Combine the paprika, garlic powder, cayenne and salt. Stir this mixture together and season the chicken with it liberally. Dredge the chicken in flour. Shake off any excess.
Place the chicken skin side down in the cast-iron skillet. Thighs go in the center while breasts and legs go around the outer edge. The addition of the chicken should elevate the oil level to be about half way up the side of the pan. Cook the chicken approximately 10 to 12 minutes on each side, until it is golden brown. Monitor the temperature of the shortening to ensure it stays at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the chicken is approximately 180 degrees.
Drain the chicken on a sheet pan. Do not set the chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags, as it may stick. Be cognizant of the shortening if cooking on a gas stove, and do not dump hot shortening down your drain after you are done cooking.
Tip: Serve with fresh mashed potatoes and some grilled veggies to make it a full meal.