We are excited to share with you our top tips for making the perfect Southern-style fried chicken.
First things first, let’s talk about the importance of salting your chicken in advance. By doing this at least 24 hours before frying, you not only ensure that the meat is well-seasoned throughout but you also limit excess moisture in the breading. This leads to a crispier chicken with less liquid sogging up the breading. Plus, you can incorporate some spices while salting for an added flavor boost. For a Southern-style fried chicken, we recommend using a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and oregano.
Next up, the three-step breading process. We recommend tossing the chicken in a coating of plain all-purpose flour before doing anything else and letting it rest for at least an hour. This resting step helps the breading bond to the surface of the chicken, creating more texture and surface area for the liquid in the next breading stage to adhere to. For the second flour dredge, we recommend using a mixture of flour and starch, like potato starch or cornstarch, to avoid excess browning and tough breading.
Now, let’s talk about our super secret special ingredient: baking powder. This is the key to making better fried chicken because it accelerates the formation of air pockets in the breading, leading to super crispy craggy bits when fried. We recommend adding about two teaspoons of baking powder per pound of chicken to your flour dredge, along with some spices for added flavor.
When it comes to frying your chicken, we recommend using a neutral-tasting oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, or peanut oil. The temperature of your oil is crucial, so invest in a deep fry thermometer to ensure that your chicken gets cooked through at the same time that your breading gets nicely browned and crispy. For smaller cuts like tenders or nuggets, fry at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For larger cuts, like bone-in chicken, fry at around 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you like your chicken extra crispy, try the double fry technique. After the initial fry, let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before frying it again at the same temperature or slightly higher. This will re-crisp the exterior and make the breading extra crispy.
And finally, using high-quality chicken is key.
In summary, the key to making perfect Southern-style fried chicken is in the preparation and attention to detail. Salting in advance, using a mixture of flour and starch for the second dredge, and adding baking powder to your flour dredge are all important steps to achieving that crispy, flavorful breading. Fry at the right temperature and consider using the double fry technique for extra crispiness. And most importantly, use high-quality chicken to get the best results.
We hope you found these tips helpful in your quest for the perfect Southern-style fried chicken. Happy frying!