I'm a huge fan of fried chicken but sometimes it's hard to find a recipe that's not overkill on the batter. Fried chicken should NOT be a piece of poultry inside of a pancake, this isn't a corn dog. Too many recipes don't get it crispy, or the breading burns before the chicken is fully cooked. This recipe cures both of those problems and results in the best fried chicken you've ever had. Perfect for a summer picnic, the chicken is delicious served hot out of the fryer, room temperature, or even cold out of the 'fridge for a late night snack. There are two secrets that help make this version of fried chicken irresistible: one is the corn starch, which results in a crackingly crisp exterior; two is the lack of any dairy in the ingredient list, this prevents from any burning before the chicken is cooked through.
First, you need to buy the right chicken - all of which has the skin-on. I opted for a package of mixed thighs and drummies, and a package of bone-in split chicken breasts. The breasts will each need to be cut in half, to make smaller pieces comparable to the thighs. Then you brine.
This recipe is good for approximately 8 pieces, so adjust accordingly.
Whisk together thoroughly and fully submerge chicken, place in the 'fridge for 30 min. to 1 hour.
You also need the right type of oil, which is peanut oil. It's costly, but it's worth it for the results. I found some "100% Peanut Oil" at my local Asian supermarket, just under a gallon for $9.99 - thing is, the ingredient list says: peanut oil, vegetable oil - which means it's not 100%, but it's mostly peanut oil, and it worked out just fine. Alternatively, you can use canola oil.
Anyhow, bring your oil to 350 degrees F, you want enough to fully submerge the chicken pieces while frying. You can use a dutch oven, you'll have to keep a close eye on the temperature here, it will drop significantly when you drop the cool chicken in.
I have 2 deep fryers that I set up out back - to avoid the kitchen from becoming a disaster - I was making 24 pieces here for a housewarming party. These units are great because the temperature regulation is built in and there's no fuss with having to worry about adjusting your stove dials.
1C corn starch
5tsp. black pepper
1tsp. cayenne pepper
1tsp. ancho chili powder
2tsp. baking powder
Pull the chicken out of the brining liquid, pat each piece quite dry with paper towels. Dip into the batter, one piece at a time, and let excess drip off. Use tongs to slowly lower into the frying oil. (NOTE: If using a domestic deep fryer, I noticed that it helped to hold the chicken for about 10 seconds so that just the batter on the bottom can cook, then drop it all of the way in - this prevents the batter from cooking on to & sticking to the wire mesh of the frying basket.) Cook each piece for 15-18 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 170-180 degrees F.
Let cool on drying rack, so excess oil can drip off. Serve and enjoy!