Creole Fried Chicken

From Cook's Country | June/July 2008
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Why this recipe works:

Creole fried chicken recipes should turn out meat that is deeply seasoned with the complex, lively heat of black, white, and cayenne pepper. Soaking the chicken in a brine of salt, sugar, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce seasoned the chicken down to the bone. We built… read more

Creole fried chicken recipes should turn out meat that is deeply seasoned with the complex, lively heat of black, white, and cayenne pepper. Soaking the chicken in a brine of salt, sugar, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce seasoned the chicken down to the bone. We built depth of flavor in our Creole Fried Chicken with a three-step approach: After brining, a sprinkling of our Creole seasoning on raw chicken added flavor without the dusty saltiness of packaged spice blends; the seasoning also lent a potent punch to the chicken’s flour coating; and for a peppery finish, we sprinkled the hot chicken with more seasoning when it came out of the oil. Before frying, we rolled the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour not once, but twice—the extra coating produced a crisp, substantial, craggy crust. Using a clip-on candy/deep-fry thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil before we started and while the chicken was cooking ensured the oil was always at the correct temperature.

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Serves 4 to 6

To ensure even cooking, breasts should be halved crosswise and leg quarters separated into thighs and drumsticks. We prefer the brash flavor of Louisiana’s own Tabasco sauce in this recipe, but any hot sauce will work. In step 1, do not soak the chicken longer than 8 hours, or it will be too salty.

Ingredients

  • Seasoned Brine
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (see note)
  • Creole Coating
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 quarts peanut oil or vegetable shortening

Instructions

  1. 1. For the seasoned brine: Whisk water, sugar, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt, and garlic powder in large bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Add chicken and refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

    2. For the Creole coating: Combine black pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, white pepper, and celery salt in large bowl; reserve 4 tablespoons spice mixture. Add flour to bowl with remaining spice mixture and stir to combine.

    3. Remove chicken from refrigerator and pour off brine. Sprinkle chicken with 3 tablespoons reserved spice mixture and toss to coat. Working in batches of two, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture. Shake excess flour from chicken and transfer to wire rack. (Do not discard flour mixture.)

    4. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Return chicken pieces to flour mixture and turn to coat. Fry half of chicken, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees, until deep golden brown and white meat registers 160 degrees (or dark meat registers 175 degrees), 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to clean wire rack set over baking sheet and place in oven. Bring oil back to 375 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken. Sprinkle crisp chicken with remaining tablespoon spice mixture. Serve.

Three Peppers of Creole Cooking

We tested several brands of packaged Creole seasoning and found they were too salty and tasted of stale herbs. We had much better results by making our own Creole seasoning based on the three peppers of Creole cuisine, each of which lends a distinctive spicy bite.

BLACK PEPPER

WHITE PEPPER

CAYENNE PEPPER

Secrets to Boldly Flavored Creole Fried Chicken

1. Soaking the chicken in a brine of salt, sugar, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and garlic powder seasons the chicken down to the bone.

2. After brining, a sprinkling of homemade Creole seasoning adds flavor without the dusty saltiness of packaged spice blends.

3. The homemade Creole seasoning lends a potent punch to the chicken’s flour coating.

4. For a peppery finish, sprinkle the hot chicken with more of the homemade Creole seasoning when it comes out of the oil.

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