Frying chicken can be messy, dangerous and overwhelming, especially when using hot oil. However, celebrity chef Ted Allen from the Food Network's "Chopped" let us in on a little secret.
According to Ted Allen, half an inch of oil in your frying pan is all you need for crispy, delicious chicken! Read on to learn more of his cooking tips, and try his tasty fried chicken recipe to enjoy some digit-lickin’ results.
Ted Allen's Fried Chicken
- 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves (give them a whack or two to bruise and release the flavor)
- 1 quart canola oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Rinse the chicken under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
- In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, one tablespoon salt, one teaspoon pepper, the garlic, and the thyme. Add the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours (or preferably, overnight).
- Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan or Dutch oven — preferably something that can be covered — until it reaches 350 to 375 F on a deep-fry thermometer.
- Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt and one teaspoon pepper in a heavy resealable plastic bag.
- Working with two or three pieces at a time, take the chicken out of the buttermilk and place it in the bag. Close the bag and shake well to coat the chicken with the flour. Place the floured chicken on a baking sheet. Continue until all of the chicken has been coated.
- When the oil is hot, carefully place the chicken into the pan with tongs, skin side down. You may have to cram the pieces in — don’t worry about it; you can rearrange later. The important thing is to get them in before hot oil starts to splatter. Cover and cook for five minutes. Then uncover the pan and cook until the skin is nicely browned, five more minutes. Turn the chicken and continue to cook until well browned all over and cooked through, six to eight more minutes for the breast meat, eight to ten more minutes for the dark meat. If the chicken starts to brown too quickly, turn the heat down a little (you probably won’t have to).
- Line the baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels and drain the chicken on the towels. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Fried chicken is just as delicious cold, too.
- Note: It's better if you can let the chicken marinate overnight; the garlic and thyme infuse the bird with flavor and the salty marinade also assures moist meat. The dish will still work if you don’t have time to marinate, but if you can afford to plan ahead, take 15 minutes to prep the day before.