The Quest for Perfect Fried Chicken

Ugh…who knew frying chicken was so hard? A friend, with a notoriously unsatisfiable palate, challenged me to make a really good spicy fried chicken wing (perfectly). Unable to turn down a challenge, I stepped up. Now for some strange reason, me and fried chicken have a horrible history. Waaaaay back in the day of living in the dorms in college on an electric range, I made my first attempts at fried chicken. The first time I tried it, I served raw chicken (salmonella is NOT yummy). The next time I tried I think I burned the oil (had it on to hot) and all the flour kept freaking falling off. The last attempt was done with this weird wet batter I whipped up. Suffice to say, it started out as weird raw batter and ended up as weird cooked batter. So I gave up and since then have not really attempted to fry chicken.

So I figure now that I’ve got a few more years of cooking under my belt and with considerably better cooking equipment I felt prepared to rise to the challenge. Stopped at the store and got a jumbo pack of chicken wings and a huge jug of oil and was ready to go.

Attempt #1:

Ingredients:

  • 6 whole chicken wings (to be fabricated into the smaller pieces)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Method:

  1. Mix all seasonings together. Use half of this as a dry rub on the chicken and mix the other half into the flour. Put the seasoned flour into a pan.
  2. Whisk eggs and put in pan.
  3. Heat oil to 350F.
  4. Bread chicken wings: first in flour, then with egg wash, then again in flour. Do this immediately before frying.
  5. Fry chicken wings in oil for 5-6 minutes until golden brown delicious. Set on paper towel to drain off excess oil.

Sooooo…I did just that. And they were good (in my opinion) and just okay in my friend’s opinion. They still weren’t: (a) spicy enough and (b) they got kind of soft after sitting for a while — they were good straight out the oil but not after they sat around. The best my friend could say was that at least they were seasoned well….which was an improvement in his opinion on my everyday cooking.

Have you ever wanted to throw hot chicken grease at someone? Third degree burns aside, I’m going to try again. Have a few more tricks up my sleeve….we’ll see if I get there.

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