Sriracha and Beer Fried Chicken with Sriracha Honey Glaze. The best fried chicken I’ve ever made, and really simple.
The best fried chicken I’ve ever had was in a trailer park in Compton, a particularly rough part of South Central Los Angeles (you can read that story here). Since then I’ve had a mild obsession with perfecting the at-home fried chicken recipe. It’s an easy recipe to obsess over, its meant to be an at-home recipe. It’s origins are in home kitchens in the South, kitchens that don’t have fancy equipment or any need for expensive ingredients. It’s a recipe that often turns out better in a home kitchen than in a commercial one. Fried chicken is meant to be shared, made in larger batches, and eaten with both hands. I’ve learned a few things along the path of my obsession that help get that perfect bite that turns Fried Chicken into Crack Chicken:
1. Brine. Always, always brine. A mixture of beer and buttermilk gives you an incredibly juicy chicken that has no trouble standing up to the heat of a deep frier.
2. Sweet and heat. A little brown sugar and chili powder will give you a nice full, rounded flavor to your breading that can’t be matched. Don’t be afraid of the sugar, it’s a secret ingredient for many, many chefs and home cooks.
3. Wire rack. Skip the paper towel covered plate, it’ll make the bottom part of your chicken soggy. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and the entire thing will stay crispy.
4. Skip the spendy oil. Because of the low smoke point of olive oil, it’s the last thing you want to use. Use canola oil or peanut oil for best result. Some home cooks (particularly the Southern Grandma types) like to use a mixture of Crisco and peanut oil.
5. Use your oven too. It’ll take a while to cook 3 pounds of chicken, make sure that the first batch is as warm as the last by sticking it on a wire rack over a baking sheet and placing that in the oven while you finish up. It will also help keep the crispy coating from turning soggy.
6. Let it sit for a few minutes. Allowing the chicken to rest between the buttermilk/flour step and the deep frier will help your chicken cook more evenly and help the breading to stick to the chicken.
My last advice is to pair it with a highly carbonated, moderately hopped pale ale. But that’s your call. Have a great fried chicken tip? Please add it in the comments section!