Ever wanted to create golden fried chicken, but end up disappointed? Don’t worry, that’s happened to most home cooks before. Read on for great tips to make your next deep fry super successful!
Use the right pot
It goes without saying that you need the right vessel for deep frying. And a Dutch oven is the perfect candidate. The pot is heavy, which means it retains heat better (in other words, the temperature stays more consistent), and the high walls prevent oil splattering everywhere. Use a large enough size to make sure you don’t overcrowd the pot.
Use a thermometer
In order to fry correctly, your oil must be at the correct temperature. The only way to measure this accurately, is by using a deep fry thermometer or a candy thermometer. Even better if you can use a clip-on thermometer. Then you can monitor the temperature continually, and you will know immediately if the oil becomes too hot or too cold.
Fry at the right temperature
Using a thermometer is great, but you actually need to follow the rules. For the best results, the oil must be between 350°F and 375°F (180°C to 190°C). If your oil is too hot, the food will become too dark (or even burnt) while the insides are still undercooked. If it’s too cold, it will absorb way too much oil and you’ll be left with something that’s greasy.
Setting your breading
Making breaded chicken (or anything else breaded) can be quite tricky. To make things easier, make sure to use a wire rack. Once you breaded the food, let it rest on the wire rack – this gives the breading a chance to set and it won’t separate as easily. Once you finished frying, you can use a similar rack to let the excess oil drain off.
When frying foods (like fried chicken), you might be tempted to use a fork to flip foods. But this is not a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, you can pierce the meat, causing it to lose its juices and become dry. Secondly, it’s difficult to work with and you can burn easily from oil splatters. Rather use a pair of tongs that will give you a good grip on the food you’re frying.
There is no reason why you only need to use oil once. You can actually reuse it several times, depending of course on which foods you fry. If you are making breaded or battered foods, then use it only up to four times. But if you’re making chips or fries, you can use it as much as up to eight times! Just make sure to strain it through a sieve after using it.
Using the right oil
Not all oils are created equal. While olive oil is suitable for sauteing vegetables, it’s definitely not suitable for frying or deep frying. The low smoke point will cause it to start breaking down if heated to a high temperature. Rather go for peanut oil or canola oil that has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point.
Overcrowding the pan
Unfortunately, deep frying is not a quick method. You need to have patience and work in batches. If you’re tempted to add all your foods to the oil at once, you will be left with undercooked or overly greasy foods. Rather work in batched and make sure to cook over medium heat. Increasing the temperature won’t make the process faster.
Keep moisture away
To avoid excessive splattering and possible burn injuries, make sure that all the foods are dry before deep frying them. To much water will cause the hot oil to splatter and this could mean injuries. Pat the foods dry with towel paper before adding them to the deep fryer, and it should be fine.
Old, used oil can actually block your drain, so never pour old oil down the drain! Rather cool it down, pour into its original bottle and add it to the garbage. You can also add it to other waste (like cat litter, vegetable waste, or old paper), just make sure that your garbage bag doesn’t have holes in it!