Fried chicken is an awesome thing when it is done right. Sure it can be messy and take some time to get done with brining and making the coating and deep-frying, but in the end, if it is all done right, you end up with a great crunchy coating and juicy chicken pieces to make the meal perfect. I have tried a bunch of different fried chicken recipes in the past and I am always up for a new one to try out to get the perfect coating. I have had some where the coating is disappointing and without crunch but when I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Cook’s Country for a cracker-crusted fried chicken the picture along made it worth giving a shot to. I had four pieces of bone-in chicken thighs and nothing to do with them and then Sean saw this picture in the magazine and said “let’s have this tonight.” The ingredient list is pretty basic and we had everything on hand, so we gave it a try.
Cracker-Crusted Fried Chicken
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half crosswise, drumsticks, thighs and/or wings)
36 square saltines (1 sleeve)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil
Whisk 1 1/2 quarts of cold water, 2 tablespoons of salt, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic together in a large container until the salt dissolves. Add the chicken pieces, cover the container and refrigerate the chicken for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
Place the saltines in a gallon zipper-lock bag, seal the bag and crush the crackers to medium-fine crumbs with a rolling pin or mallet. you should have about 1 cup of cracker crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl and whisk in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 2 teaspoons of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until the ingredients are well combined.
Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Set a second wire rack in a second rimmed baking sheet and line half of the rack with a triple layer of paper towels. Working with 1 piece at a time, remove the chicken from the brine mixture and transfer it to the saltines mixture, pressing the chicken firmly so the coating adheres well to the chicken. Transfer the coated chicken to the prepared rack without the paper towels and repeat the process with the remaining chicken. Refrigerate the coated chicken pieces for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Add the peanut or vegetable oil to a large Dutch oven until it measures about 2 inches deep and heat the oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Add half of the chicken to the hot oil and fry the chicken until the breasts register 160 degrees and the drumsticks, thighs or wings register 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 13 to 16 minutes total. Adjust the burner, if necessary, to maintain the oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees. transfer the cooked chicken to the paper towel-lined side of the second wire rack to drain on each side for 30 seconds, then move the pieces to the unlined side of the rack. Return the oil to 350 degrees and repeat the process with the remaining chicken pieces.
I did adjust the recipe down a bit since I was only making 4 pieces of chicken, so I cut the recipe by about 1/3 and it seemed to work out pretty well for me with the size chicken thighs I had. The coating was great with a nice crunch to it and it was perfect in color and texture. the chicken remained moist as well and it was well seasoned thank to brining the pieces ahead of time. Refrigerating the pieces with the coating did help to settle the coating on the pieces as well. I really liked the additions to the brine of the soy sauce, Worcestershire and cayenne as it imparted some great flavor on the chicken. Everything came out nicely with the chicken and of course this would be great for leftovers for lunch the next day, but Sean liked it enough so we had none leftover to save.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then,enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!