Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Fried chicken brings back memories of childhood picnics, family dinners, and comfort food. Cooking the perfect fried chicken is an art. Too often fried chicken is chicken burnt outside raw inside or burnt outside uncooked inside.
Fortunately, anyone can learn to fry chicken to perfection. There are a few important tips to remember and you need the right cooking tools and ingredients. Experienced chefs agree that having the right type of oil and using tools like the ThermoPro Instant Read Meat Thermometer to obtain the perfect meat temperature, is key.
Choosing the Right Chicken
Depending on the recipe you use for making fried chicken, your choice of which cut chicken to buy may vary. Some of the more traditional recipes call for one or two broiler/fryer chickens around 3 ½ to 4 pounds each, cut up.
Of the top 5 fried chicken recipes by Independent the top-rated recipe calls for 1 large free-range chicken jointed into eight pieces (cut up by the butcher). The famous Gordon Ramsey uses 8 mini chicken breast fillets.
It seems there is a huge variation in the type of chicken used. Another of the top 5 fried chicken recipes goes with 8 to 10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs. A traditional Southern Fried Chicken recipe uses 8 chicken joints.
When you are making your shopping list for your fried chicken recipe, be sure and check what type of chicken they recommend before purchasing your cut of chicken.
5 Mistakes that Could Result in Fried Chicken Burnt Outside Raw Inside
Most people have made the mistake of burning the outside of their fried chicken while the inside is still uncooked and wonder, why is my fried chicken raw inside? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons this may happen.
1. The heat is too high. Chefworks.com points out there is a lot that can go wrong during the chicken frying process. If the heat is too high this is going to result in a burnt exterior and an undercooked interior. Getting the perfect cooking temperature is key.
2. You use the wrong type of oil for frying. Don’t take for granted that all oils are the same. Using the right kind of oil is going to make the difference between mouth-watering, perfectly crisp chicken, and a fried chicken disaster.
It’s easy to fry the outside of the chicken, but how do you cook the inside of a chicken? The first secret to that trick is finding the right cooking oil.
A fairly high temperature of 350 degrees F. is needed to properly fry chicken. Not all cooking oils are suitable for cooking at high temperatures. Research your oils beforehand and choose an oil that has a high smoke point of more than 300 degrees.
Web Restaurant Store provides a list of the oils they recommend for frying chicken. Their top choices include vegetable shortening, lard, peanut oil, canola oil, and coconut oil.
3. You fry the chicken while it’s still cold. Bon Appetite tells us why this is such a big “no-no”. Using cold chicken will result in your chicken cooking unevenly. When you place cold chicken in hot oil, the temperature of the oil will drop quickly. The coating will not crisp. Make sure you let the chicken rest at room temperature for a good 30 minutes before frying.
4. You make fried chicken with a deep fryer or a large pot. Deep fryers require a lot of oil and are messy, clunky, and difficult to clean. The best tool for cooking fried chicken is simply a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. Easy peasy!
5. The meat you’re cooking is too thick. While many people prefer using drumsticks for fried chicken, other cuts work well too. You can use the thighs, wings, and even the breasts. The key you need to remember is to fry similar sized pieces together.
If the breasts are too thick, cut them down into smaller pieces. Follow your recipe for frying time and use portions that are about the same size and thickness. Be sure to test the internal temperature with a tool such as the ThermoPro Instant Read Meat Thermometer. This will ensure your chicken is crispy on the outside and cooked to perfection on the inside.
Burnt on the Outside – Pink on the Inside
When it comes to frying chicken, burnt outside uncooked inside is a popular topic of discussion.
A common problem when frying chicken on an electric stovetop is that the chicken will brown nicely in the pan, but by the time it is nice and brown, the inside is overcooked and chewy. Chef talk recommends taking the chicken out of the pan and finish browning it in the oven.
A great way to make sure it does not get overcooked is to check the internal temperature with a ThermoPro Instant Read Meat Thermometer. Chef talk also recommends removing the chicken from the oven 5 degrees before the target temperature is reached. Cover the chicken loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest and absorb the juices.
How to Measure the Chicken Temp During Frying?
When checking for doneness, don’t rely on visual cues. Check the internal temperature of the chicken. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. The USDA recommends a temperature of at least 165 degrees F.
Using a ThermoPro Read Meat Thermometer is simple and accurate. Push a button and a fold-away probe will open. Insert into the meat and get a reading in 3 to 5 seconds. The probe folds away when you are finished. Don’t worry about leaving the device on as the device shuts off in 10 minutes when not being used. It has large LED readings in both Fahrenheit and Celcius.
Helpful Hints for that Perfect Fried Chicken
Another important tip is don’t blot excess oil with a paper towel. Even if you lay the chicken on the paper towels to absorb the moisture, it will create steam. The steam will soften the wonderful, crispy crust you just perfected. Set chicken on a wire cooling rack with paper towels under it to keep the crisp crispy.
Remember that the breading is the key to fried chicken. If you try and cut corners and go healthier by leaving off the breading, you will not achieve the crunch that makes fried chicken so delicious. Double dipped versions make the best crusts.
Look for a recipe that calls for marinating or soaking the chicken in brine before frying. Many great chicken frying experts soak the meat in salted water to make it moister when cooked. You can also try dry brines which lead to a crispier skin without the hassle of using a wet brine.
Marinades come in many forms. Some recipes use rosemary and buttermilk. Others use red pepper flakes and seasonings to spice up the fried chicken. Some of the traditional Southern recipes use Frank’s red hot and poultry seasoning in their brine preparation.
Review and Suggestions
Review of the Important Tips to Remember
- In order to get that perfectly cooked chicken, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, cook fried chicken at the optimal temperature, which between 300 and 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Research the oil you will be using. Make sure it has a high smoking point. Remember, not all oils are made to fry at high temperatures.
- Don’t shock your oil with cold chicken. Let the cold chicken sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to putting it in the oil.
- While many people like using big fryers, they are messy and difficult to clean. A classic cast-iron skillet or a Dutch oven will get the job done with less mess and better results.
- A common mistake when frying chicken is using cuts that are too thick and mismatched sizes. Cut the chicken into small enough pieces to make sure it cooks all the way through. Fry pieces of similar size together so they all cook through using the same amount of time.
In addition to checking the smoking point of the oil you are using, getting yourself the right cookware, invest in a thermometer that will take the guesswork out of obtaining the perfectly cooked fried chicken. The following ThermoPro Instant Read Meat Thermometers are the best options for you.
Experiment with seasonings, brines, and new recipes. Then, sit back and enjoy the ultimate crispy fried chicken at your next family get together.