Fried Chicken

  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • Approximately 2 quarts cooking oil or lard
  • Approximately 1/2 gallon water
  • 1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon salt, separated
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or milk
  • 1 cup and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, separated
  • 1/2 cornstarch (corn flour)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Approximately 1 tablespoon pickle juice
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground Cheyanne pepper


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine water, 1/4 cup salt, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Whisk until all of the salt and sugar are dissolved. Place chicken in the mixing bowl (topping off water to cover the chicken if necessary), and move the bowl to the refrigerator. Allow to brine for 2 hours to overnight.
  2. Remove chicken from brine, and pat dry with paper towels. Set on a plate and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. While the chicken is coming up to temp, set up your dredging stations in three small containers. In the first, place 1 cup flour. In the second goes the beaten egg. In the third container, add 1/2 cup flour, cornstarch, panko, paprika, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and optional Cheyanne pepper. Mix well. Drizzle in pickle juice, and mix well again. (Adding the pickle juice creates “craggily bits” that add to the texture and crunch of the finished product.)
  3. Once the chicken is ready, begin dredging. With each piece, place in the first (flour-only) station, and cover all sides well. Move to the second (egg) station, and coat the surface with egg. Allow excess to drip off, then move to the third (flour/cornstarch/panko) station. Coat all sides, pressing in the mixture to ensure a good cover. Place breaded chicken on a plate.
  4. In a Dutch oven, wok, or similar cooking vessel, bring oil or lard to 325 F. Place chicken into oil one piece at a time. (If doubling or tripling this recipe, do not try to cook all of it at once. Cook it in batches of 4 to 5 pieces at a time.) Allow to cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reach at least 165 F. IMPORTANT: During cooking, monitor the temperature of the oil and adjust the heat so that it is always between 290 and 305 F. Remove to a baking sheet with a wire rack (not to paper towels if you can avoid it).
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Much of the process was influenced by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s tips on his YouTube channel and his recipes on the Serious Eats site. Strongly encourage you to check out his content, or, for those of you with more traditional preferences, he has also published a number of cookbooks which I’m sure you can find with a quick Google search.

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