Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken

January 31, 2011

One year ago I said that I would try the spicy version of  the Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken. This week I got a chance to cook 7 pounds of it; finally. However, after re-reading the full Extra-Spicy, Extra-Crunchy recipe; which called for 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper and 4 tablespoons Tabasco sauce; I wimped out. I was afraid it would be too hot for my family (my kids can be finicky), so I only added about 1/2 the spices.  The result was not at all hot. In fact, it had much better flavor than the plain Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken.

Better than last time; 5-stars.

It is important to remember that this is a shallow fry recipe, not a deep fry recipe. Add only 3/4-inch of oil to bottom of your Dutch oven. Last November I made this recipe as a deep fry, but the results were only 4-stars.

Today’s results were 5-star. I will never make Chris Kimball’s plain Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken again; it needs the extra kick of more spices as shown below. Still, I promise to try his full cayenne/Tabasco recipe soon; I just couldn’t risk the 7-pounds of chicken.

Additional Comments:

  1. Chris Kimball warned me that the key to this recipe is having the oil at the proper temperature (as specified below at the various stages). Otherwise the interior and exterior will not cook at the same rate. This had been my downfall last November.
  2. Supposedly, a single batch can have up to 3-1/2 pounds of chicken. However, I have found that I should not exceed 2-1/2 pounds per batch based upon the potency of my stovetop.
  3. The recipe calls for 4 to 5 cups of vegetable shortening or peanut oil. But peanut oil would cost be $14/gallon, so I use my regular Wesson vegetable oil that frequently goes on sale for $4/gallon.
  4. Chicken has been on sale this week. I paid just $5.50 for my 7-pounds of chicken parts. What a deal!

Rating: 5-star.
Cost: $7 for 7-lbs of chicken.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Medium/High.
Start time 4:00 PM. Dinner time 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original Extra-Spicy, Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken recipe is here.  My tame version and the descriptions of how I cooked it today are given below.

2 cups plus 6 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons salt
3-1/2 pounds bone-in chicken parts.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups vegetable oil

  1. If substituting clabbered milk, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add 2 cups buttermilk and 2 tablespoons salt in large bowl. Stir until the salt has completely dissolved.
  3. Add chicken to the brine; stir to coat; and cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Don’t over-brine or your chicken will be too salty.
  4. In another medium/large bowl, add flour, baking powder, thyme, pepper, and garlic powder together. Whisk briefly, then add the final 6 tablespoons of buttermilk. Mix with your hands until fully incorporated and mixture is like coarse wet sand. (Do NOT try the whisk!)
  5. Working in two batches, add two or chicken pieces at a time to flour mixture and gently press flour mixture onto chicken to coat. Shake any excess flour from each piece. Place the chicken on a wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Coat only enough chicken for your first batch.
  6. Heat 3/4-inch deep vegetable oil (about 4 to 5 cups) into large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 375-degrees. Because it is only half the regular amount of oil, it will heat up surprisingly fast; so be careful.
  7. Working in two batches, place chicken skin-side down in oil. Fry covered for 4 minutes. Remove the lid and rearrange the chicken to ensure even cooking. Let the first side cook uncovered for 4 more minutes. You may need to adjust the heat if the oil is hotter or colder than 300-degrees.
  8. Flip chicken over and continue to fry uncovered about 8 minutes longer. You may need to adjust the heat if the oil is hotter or colder than 315-degrees.
  9. Remove when the chicken is deeply golden brown, and place on a paper-towel lined plate.
  10. Keep it warm in the pre-heated 200 degree oven while you repeat from step 5 with the second batch of chicken; coat, fry, flip and drain.
  11. Let drain for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4.  Preparation time is 2 hours.

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