After you have the perfect fried chicken in a restaurant, making it at home can seem a little underwhelming. Maybe your chicken is coming out dry, or perhaps the coating is bland or oil-soaked. It doesn't have to be this way! Here are a few tips to help you make delicious, restaurant-quality fried chicken at home.
Brine the chicken.
If you're just taking the chicken out of the fridge, coating it, and frying it — that's where you're going wrong. The best fried chicken starts with a buttermilk brine. Season the brine with plenty of salt, paprika, and onion powder, and immerse the chicken overnight. This results in really tender, juicy chicken.
Use a cornstarch and flour coating.
There are numerous recipes for fried chicken coating out there, and which one is best is really a matter of personal preference. But one thing is for sure — you need to use a mixture of cornstarch and flour, not just flour. Cornstarch makes the coating lighter and crispier, so you're not going to get that oil-logged finish.
Fry in shortening or duck fat.
It's common for home cooks to try frying chicken in vegetable oil or canola oil in order to make it "healthier." But if you want that authentic flavor, you need to stick with the old standbys. Most restaurants have fried their chicken in shortening for years. Duck fat is an alternative used by some higher-end restaurants, and it adds an extra layer of flavor.
Shallow fry it.
Even though it is called fried chicken, deep frying is not the best method for cooking it. Instead, you want to shallow-fry the chicken, which means frying it in a pot that's only filled about halfway with oil. The chicken should not quite be covered by the oil -- you will turn it over halfway through to ensure all parts are cooked evenly. Shallow frying gives you more control than deep frying.
Fry at 325 degrees F.
Many people try to fry their chicken too hot. Then, it ends up way to crispy, but raw on the inside. Bring your oil to 350 degrees F before dropping in the chicken. The temperature will drop down to about 325 degrees F after you add a few pieces of chicken. Adjust the heat to keep it there.
With the tips above, your homemade fried chicken should improve substantially! Keep on practicing for perfection. For more information, contact a company like Big Chic.