“Making great fried chicken at home is really pretty simple,” says chef Ashley Christensen, owner of Beasley’s Chicken + Honey in Raleigh, North Carolina. And who’d know better than a woman who makes her living turning out plate after glorious plate of the stuff each day?
It’s all in a few old-school details, she says. Armed with these tips and her recipe, you’ll be wielding your cast-iron skillet like a pro in no time.
1. Brine the chicken overnight in a solution of salt and sugar to infuse it with moisture and flavor.
2. Buy the best quality chicken you can, and let its natural flavor come through with a minimal buttermilk and flour coating. Fry in neutral canola oil for the same reason.
3. Shake the chicken and coating together in a paper bag the classic way, for a thick, mottled crust.
4. Fry in a cast-iron skillet with just enough oil to come halfway up the sides of of the skillet.
5. Keep the oil at 325°F to allow the interior to cook all the way through at the same time the crust turns golden brown.