How To Make Crispy, Juicy Fried Chicken (That’s Better than KFC)
Adapted from www.thekitchn.com
4 to 6
8 pieces bone-in chicken pieces (about 4 pounds total), preferably 4 drumsticks and 4 thighs (I used boneless skinless breasts I cut into small pieces)
2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground white pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground mustard
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 teaspoons of dried Italian seasoning
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup buttermilk
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons vodka
2 quarts peanut oil, for deep frying
Salt the chicken. Place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet and sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
Make the seasoning blend. Combine the paprika, white pepper, garlic powder, ginger, celery salt, black pepper, mustard, thyme, Italian seasoning in a large bowl.
Season the chicken. Coat the chicken all over with half of the seasoning mixture (about 1/2 cup).
Set up a dredging station. Add the flour, cornstarch, and remaining 1 tablespoon salt to the remaining spice mixture in the bowl and whisk to combine; set aside. Place the buttermilk, egg whites, and alcohol in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Fit a wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet.
Dredge the chicken. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dip in the buttermilk mixture to completely coat, then place in the flour mixture (don’t worry about letting any excess buttermilk drain off the chicken first). Shake the flour bowl as needed to completely coat the chicken, then use your fingers to press the flour coating onto the chicken.
Set the coating. Place the coated chicken on the rack and repeat dredging the remaining chicken. Set aside at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes while you set up for frying and heat the oil.
Set up for frying. Place the oil in a large Dutch oven, attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer, and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is 350°F, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and dry the empty baking sheet the chicken was seasoned on. Line this baking sheet with paper towels and fit with a second wire cooling rack; this will be your cooling station.
Fry the chicken. Place 3 pieces of the chicken in the oil and fry, using tongs to rotate the pieces every 3 to 4 minutes and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 325°F, until golden-brown with an internal temperature of 165°F (check by inserting a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching bone), 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool the chicken. Transfer the chicken to the rack on the second baking sheet. Make sure the oil comes back up to 350°F before frying the remaining chicken in 2 more batches. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.