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Test Kitchen: Nothing beats a good piece of fried chicken

By Jessica Rodrigo
Aug. 7, 2013 at 3:07 a.m.

I made coleslaw and baked red beans to to go with my fried chicken, but the usual mashed taters and corn on the cob would have been equally as tasty.

A good piece of fried chicken has crisp skin and a crunchy coating. The meat is cooked throughout but still juicy.

To achieve this stature of succulent, tasty poultry, there are a few things to remember.

If you brine your chicken or marinate it in buttermilk, it'll produce a juicy piece of bird. This goes for baking or grilling, too. A brined bird is a happy bird.

You always want to cook it long enough to get that brown coating everyone is looking for.

For a crispy skin, you have to leave enough space around the chicken pieces as they fry - a crowded pan will steam the coating, so it won't have a chance to get crunchy. Unless you have a deep fryer - that'll do the trick nicely.

Defrosting the chicken and leaving it out to reach room temperature helps when cooking it, too. Rather than frying a piece of chicken that is fresh out of the fridge, give it a chance to warm up before dropping it in hot oil. This way, the meat nearest to the bone has a chance to come to a high enough temperature (about 165 degrees).

The coating is also an important factor. If there is not enough flour, you won't get that crunchy coating. Remember to also season your coating mixture. Salt and pepper are your friends, along with granulated garlic, red chile flakes or herbs.

You can also mix half corn meal with flour. For more of a grainy texture in my recipe, I add a bit of cornstarch. I've worked at restaurants where they've deep-fried calamari in cornstarch, and it produces a gorgeous color and wonderful texture.

Have a recipe or a dish you want my to try? Email me at jrodrigo@vicad.com or tweet me via @eatseatseats. I'm always hungry.

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