This is a ‘Money Back Guarantee’ recipe! A bold claim? Yes. But I say this without a hint of doubt. Chiefly because: 1) it truly is the best Fried Chicken recipe that I have ever cooked (and I was raised in Alabama)! and; 2) I’m giving it to you for free. It’s been awhile sine the last post and I’ve missed sharing some of my favorites eats with you. This has been a busy summer of settling in: new client, new home, new city and thus, a bunch of new local restaurants to discover! Which leads me back to this Brined Fried Chicken recipe.
I’m not much of a pact rat – not a fan of clutter. But there is an exception. My DVR. It’s filled with shows that I have watched and can’t bring myself to erase and unwatched shows/movies that I keep meaning to get around to. I’m a regular ole “DVR hoarder.”
Just the thought of ‘cleaning out’ my recorded list can turn into epic internal battle on what to delete. Do I erase the At Home with Giada episode with the citrus, herb tilapia? Or the Bobby Flay grilled chocolate dessert episode? Or Eric Ripert’s Avec Eric show on wild boar? Impossible decisions. So, the episodes sit, gathering virtual dust, waiting for me to watch and cook.
Recently, I’ve decided to tackle this electronic mountain. First up was a comfort food focused Martha Stewart show featuring cooking demonstrations for crème filled doughnuts, flakey biscuits and brined fried chicken. There was little question as to where I would start. Fried Chicken.
As someone raised in Alabama, I’m no stranger to fried chicken recipes. But there was something about this recipe that stuck out. Developed by the creative force behind the Brooklyn restaurant, Pies n’ Thighs, I was intrigued by the simplicity fo the seasoning and frying following a 24-hour brine. Also, it didn’t hurt that Martha gushed about how great the chicken was when she ordered it during a recent date night at the restaurant. Watching the show, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, we’ll see about that.”
So, I invited a few friends over to help me test drive the recipe. (Unfortunately, I had forgotten that one friend is a vegetarian. Awkward.) But vegetarian aside, it was a runaway hit. Unlike many fried chicken recipes, it’s not heavy and overwhelming. The chicken was crispy on the outside, insanely moist on the inside, full of flavor and had a hint of peppery spice. You taste a bit of the paprika and cayenne – not enough to turn off people who are sensitive to spicy foods. The spice just hangs around in the background giving the chicken a little something extra.
A word on brining. For those not familiar with the process it may seem that soaking the chicken in water with so much salt is just asking for trouble. But brining actually makes the chicken moist and well-seasoned. Why? Through science. Osmosis actually – the theory of molecules moving from an area of high density to an area of relative lower concentration. Meaning, that the water molecules seek to move from the higher density of the salted water to the relatively lower saline density of the meat. As the water moves into the meat, it brings some of its flavoring with it. Thus, a more flavorful and moist piece of meat on your plate. (Ok, enough with the science.)
A must try recipe!
TASTIEST FRIED CHICKEN, EVER!
Recipe adapted from the Brooklyn restaurant, Pies n’ Thighs
Brined Fried Chicken
2 tablespoon paprika
4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
¾ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
Canola Oil for frying
Mix paprika, cayenne and black pepper in a bowl and set aside. Meanwhile break whole chicken apart into eight pieces (if the breasts are large you may want to further divide each in half). Rub chicken piece with the paprika mix – each piece should have a generous coating. Set aside.
Bring 3 cups of water to a bowl in medium saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in kosher salt and sugar into hot water until both dissolve. Pour brine into a large mixing bowl. Add enough ice (about 3 cups) or iced water into bowl until water is complete cooled.
Place chicken pieces into cold brine. Make sure that all of the pieces are completely submerged in the brine. If needed, place a small plate on top of the chicken to keep it submerged. Place chicken in the refrigerator and let marinate for 24 hours.
Pour oil into a large skillet – about 2’ inches deep. Over a medium high flame, heat oil to a temperature of 350°F.
Spread flour across a large plate. Set aside.
Remove chicken pieces from brine and gently rinse off excess brine solution with fresh water. While chicken is still wet from the rinse, immediately dredge it in the flour – it should have a complete coating of flour – and place the chicken piece in the hot oil for frying. Repeat with as many pieces that can fit in pan without overcrowding.
Cook for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 10 minutes for white meat and 12 minutes for dark meat or until chicken is done.
Drain pieces of a paper towel.