A savvy cook can make a fried chicken recipe look very easy so you may be wondering why you can't seem to get it right every time you try. Well, don't be too worried! You don't need any special expertise to make fried chicken; all you may have to do is learn about your mistakes and what to do instead.
1. You don't let the chicken defrost properly before cooking
Cooking cold — or worse, frozen — chicken can land you in the ER because parts of the chicken will be undercooked! When you fry cold chicken, its coldness causes the oil's temperature to drop drastically, leaving the chicken unevenly cooked.
To avoid this, all you have to do is make sure the chicken sits at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
2. You use the wrong oil for frying
Experts advise frying chicken in oils with high smoking points like sesame, peanut, and canola oils. On the other hand, be aware that extra virgin olive oil is a big NO!
3. You don't brine your chicken
For tasty fried chicken, let your chicken soak in a brine for a few hours before cooking starts. This will make the meat juicy, tender, and a savory delight for your tastebuds!
4. You don't pat the chicken dry well
This step is easily ignored because of its simplicity. However, don't be mistaken, if you don't pat your chicken dry, coating it with flour will be very difficult, and the chicken will eventually be finished with irregular lumps.
5. You fry the chicken at the wrong temp
Employ the use of a cooking thermometer to monitor the oil's temperature during cooking. This will help you avoid burning or undercooking the chicken. Just make sure that you're cooking fried chicken at a temperature between 300 and 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. You fry too many pieces at a time!
Don't let your hunger force you into a hurry if you don't want undercooked chicken. Never fry too many chickens at a time. Instead, cook them in batches to allow for easy flipping, and limit oil splashes.
7. You forget to season the flour for dredging
Want a delicious crust on your chicken? Mix salt, black pepper, and your favorite spices into the flour for dredging beforehand.
8. You don't cover the pan during frying
Cover the chicken during fry for even cooking and to give the chicken a very crisp exterior. While covered, the heat in the pan is trapped, helping the chicken fat render to produce deliciously crisp-on-the-outside, moist-on-the-inside fried chicken.
9. You don't double-fry
One of the delights of eating fried chicken is its crunchy shell, and the ultimate rule to achieving this is double-frying. To properly double-fry the meat, fry the chicken the first time and then let it rest at room temp for about 30 minutes before frying the second time.
10. You don't let the chicken rest after cooking
Hurriedly biting into the chicken after removing it from the pan will leave you with burns, and make the chicken dry out quickly. Instead, let the chicken cool for a few minutes to let the juices redistribute, rewarding you with super juicy chicken.
Other handy tips for cooking fried chicken are:
Drain the chicken ONLY on a wire cooling rack
Don't use too much flour to dredge the chicken
Use cornstarch for extra crunch
Reheat your fried chicken using an oven.
Last but not least, enjoy your fried chicken!