SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN (from Virginia, for four)

4 pounds chicken cut into small, evenly sized pieces

For the brine:
4 cups water
¼ cup salt
1/8 cup sugar

For the batter:
1 cup flour
1 cup corn starch
5 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-¾ cups water
3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil



1. Brine the chicken: Add the salt and sugar to the water in a large bowl and stir until the solids dissolve. Add the chicken pieces and brine 30 minutes. When ready to proceed, drain off brine and pat chicken dry with paper towels.

2. Make the batter: Mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl and add water. Stir well. The batter will be thin.

3. Fry the chicken: Heat oil in a large, deep pot until it reaches 350* on a deep fat thermometer. Add half of chicken pieces to batter in bowl, stir to coat thoroughly, then drop the chicken into the hot oil. Deep fry 12 to 15 minutes, flipping over halfway through to assure even cooking. Remove chicken pieces to a rack to drain, and fry second batch in same way.

from America’s Test Kitchen

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