6 Handy Tips To Make Perfectly Crispy Southern Fried Chicken

Minny from the film The Help was spot on when she said, "Fried chicken just tends to make you feel better about life." The sizzle of the chicken frying in hot oil is a singularly pleasing sound, and taking the first crunchy bite of this deep-fried goodness is nothing but sheer comfort. Yet, what is a rather unappealing prospect is chicken that is overcooked, burned, or simply not crispy enough. The ‘crispy-on-the-outside’ and ‘juicy-on-the-inside' aspects of crispy fried chicken can be tricky culinary aspects to achieve.

For a perfect southern fried chicken recipe that assures the freshness of the juicy chicken and the perfect crunch of the outer layer, there are some easy tips and tricks that can be followed along with the usual recipe. The simplest way to make fried chicken is to marinate the pieces in buttermilk and coat them with egg yolks, flour, and bread crumbs before dropping them into hot oil for deep frying. 

But often enough, fried chicken can turn soggy rather quickly after it is removed from the fryer, or the outer coating might come off in the hot oil. Read on below for some easy tips to get a good crunch on the fried chicken:

Soak Chicken In Buttermilk

Marinating chicken in buttermilk is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get its juiciness and crispiness just right. Make some thick buttermilk so that its acids and enzymes seep into the chicken to break down its proteins and make the flesh extra tender. A pro tip is to marinate the chicken a day before frying, giving it adequate time to soak in the buttermilk. This also makes for a soft layer upon which to coat the breadcrumbs.

Brine The Chicken 

A lot of times, if the frozen chicken or pre-cleaned cuts are brought home from the market, this process is easily skipped. But to make chicken extra tender and juicy, it is important to take the extra step of brining the pieces. This is a simple process that involves making a brine of salt and water and soaking the chicken in it overnight. Adding a bit of turmeric to the brine also helps give the chicken a nice yellow tinge.

Double Dip In Flour

Since this is an indulgent dish, in any case, be generous with the flour to ensure that the breading stays on the chicken. This creates a very thick and extra crispy coating for that massive crunch sound. Use seasoned flour, adding spices like chilli powder or paprika to the mix. To double dredge, dip the chicken in flour once, coat it with the egg wash, and then dip it in flour again before repeating the egg wash. Coat in bread crumbs for that extra crunchy exterior.

Use A Good Oil

Sometimes, stale oil can give the chicken a distinctly rancid smell or flavour, which can ruin the taste of a crispy fried piece. Use good-quality oil to dip the chicken in because oil has its own flavour profile and can be used to enhance the taste of any deep-fried dish. While lard is a popular choice to fry chicken, using peanut oil also renders it juicy and crispy in the most sumptuous proportions. 

Retain The Crisp

After frying the chicken, avoid settling it on paper towels or tissues to drain out the oil. This will make the chicken soggier and cooler much quicker. Instead, place the fried chicken on an oven rack and place it in the oven for a few minutes. Put the chicken on the cooling rack once it's out of the oven, and enjoy a crispy and crunchy outer coating that lasts. 

Fry In Small Batches

It is important to allow every chicken piece to fry properly. If the fryer gets too crowded, bits of batter will stick to each other, and separating them runs the risk of peeling off the carefully coated layers. Instead, fry the chicken in small batches, keeping an eye on the temperature of the oil. Adjust the heat to make sure that all pieces of chicken are uniformly golden brown and cooked perfectly without being burned on the outside or raw on the inside.