Extra Crispy Fried Chicken
I declare that the Declaration of Independence be celebrated with extra crispy fried chicken. Here’s your fourth of July menu: fried chicken thighs, watermelon, garden fresh tomatoes, and blanched green beans. This is the kind of fried chicken that gets a double dose of breading. All of that breading becomes so perfectly crispy and keeps the chicken inside nice and juicy. It’s a perfect food marriage, and the not-so-secret secret is a buttermilk brine.
There was a time in my life when I did not fry things. I thought it was too hard and required special tools, like a deep fryer. I didn’t get the oil hot enough and things came out floppy. And let’s be honest, I thought it was unspeakably caloric. Well, folks, I’ve embraced my fry side and there’s no turning back! Nowadays, “oil for frying” makes a semi-regular appearance on my grocery list. Frying is not overly complicated. Imagine boiling something at a fixed rate and using oil instead of water. There you go, you can fry.
I’ve heard a lot of talk about fried chicken with bones versus no bones. It’s often thought that bones create a deeper flavor and provide more moisture to the final product. My personal feelings are that I don’t want to deal with bones. I hate eating around them, particularly when the meat is fried and it’s even more difficult to see where a bone may be. Every time I’ve made this chicken, the meat turns out so juicy and not at all dry. No bones about it, this fried chicken is the best! Happy 4th of July to you!
Whisk the brine ingredients and add the chicken to the mixture. Cover the mixture and allow the chicken to brine overnight.
When you're ready to fry, whisk the batter ingredients together. Place 4 cups of all purpose flour in a pie pan or other pan with a large surface area.
One by one, remove a chicken thigh from the brine, shaking gently to remove last drips of brine. Dredge the thigh in the flour and then coat it with the batter. Dredge the thigh in the flour one more time, again shaking excess dredge off the thigh. I like to complete this process for each thigh before initiating the frying. Alternatively, I will complete the breading for half of the thighs, put them in the oil, and complete the breading for the remaining thighs.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a frying vessel of your choice. I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Fry the thighs in batches of 3 to 4 for 6 to 7 minutes on each side. The outside will be very crispy and the inside should be white and moist.