Let's be honest — as amazing as fried chicken is, it's a total pain to make.
And to make it perfectly?
Well, that's impossible… as long as you keep making these simple mistakes.
"I feel like a Kentucky fried idiot!"
Here are some ways you're screwing up your fried chicken — and how to fix it.
Some people swear by salt water brine for juicy fried chicken.
But if you want to avoid the time sink of drying each piece before breading and frying, try buttermilk instead.
Buttermilk actually sticks to the chicken better, which helps with the breading, while giving the same juicy benefits as brine.
Robbie Melvin, who works as a recipe developer for Time Inc. Food Studios, told MyRecipes, "Buttermilk is a classic Southern style… soaking chicken in buttermilk acts as a brine."
"Buttermilk, yeah? It's brilliant for marinating chicken.”
If you're not adding cornstarch in your breading, you're missing out on an opportunity to take your crust to the next level.
Cornstarch helps keeps the chicken tender, which is one reason Bon Appétit recommends using a 50/50 ratio of cornstarch to all-purpose flour, which promises to give your fried chicken an "audibly crunchy, beautiful browned exterior."
Other chefs suggest skipping the flour entirely and using only cornstarch, but either way, cornstarch is a fried chicken game-changer.
"Another good trick, I always add cornstarch too."
KFC's secret formula has been debated for years.
In 2016, the formula's 11 herbs and spices were supposedly uncovered, but according to a hard-hitting Chicago Tribune expose, even that didn't result in chicken like the Colonels.
Until, that is, they added an MSG-based flavor enhancer called Accent.
Chicago Tribune reporter Joe Gray wrote that once the MSG was added, "Our chicken was virtually indistinguishable from the batch bought at KFC."
Turns out the answer was right in front of us all along — the chicken just needed a little southern Accent.
"Mm, I think this is the best Kentucky Fried Chicken I ever had!"
Logically thinking, it would seem like the sooner you get the breaded chicken into the hot oil, the better your chances of a superior crust, right?
Not according to executive chef Ben McLean, who says this will only ensure all that glorious crust falls off with that first bite.
The way around that?
He spills his secret to The Takeout, explaining, "What we do is once we bread it, we let it sit on a rack in the fridge and let air circulate overnight."
"It'll allow the moisture of the chicken to soak through the breading, and it makes it super tacky, allowing the breading to stick to the meat itself."
Frying chicken can be a pain — we get it.
But if you've already committed to the oil and the splatter and the mess, frying the same chicken a second time really isn't that big of a deal, is it?
And it's totally worth the effort.
"Who loves chicken? You do!!”
"Delicious chicken swing on through!"
Serious Eats explains that one of the biggest problems with cooking fried chicken is that in order to get the crust as crunchy as possible, you've got to cook it for a long time.
And in the process of getting that extra-crispy crust, you end up overcooking the meat.
No matter how amazing your crust is, nobody will want the dried out chicken underneath.
To combat this conundrum, give your chicken its usual dunk in the hot oil, then remove it as you normally would.
Let the chicken pieces sit for at least 30 minutes, and then fry it again.
This way, the meat has had a chance to cool down, and the second trip to the oil bath won't do any harm — it will just make your crust unbelievably crunchy.
There's no greater sin than subjecting your leftover fried chicken — which you worked so hard to perfect — to the microwave.
To properly reheat your fried chicken you need to use an oven.
And there are a few tricks to ensuring that it's just as good as when you pulled it out of the fryer the first time.
First, the chicken should sit out for a 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature before reheating.
This guarantees that all the differently-sized pieces will heat evenly.
Once the chill is off, put the chicken on top of a wire rack on a baking sheet, and cook in a 400 degree oven.
Time will vary depending on the size of the pieces; around 16 minutes for breasts, and 12 minutes for legs and thighs.
"IT'S FINGER LICKIN' GOOD!"
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