Sybil Yang's Can't Fail Fried Chicken Recipe (with pics)
Yield: Two (2) servings
Choosing the chicken
- 1 pound if bone-in
3/4 pound if de-boned
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt 2 teaspoon or 1 1/4 teaspoon Table Salt
- 1 teaspoon ground/cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
This recipe can be used for dark or white meat. The main dark meat cuts from the chicken are the leg (drumsticks) and thigh. For this recipe, it doesn’t really matter if you remove the bones or keep them in.
You can also choose to leave the skin on or take it off – these choices will not affect the final product but will affect the cooking time (see below). If the pieces are larger than your desired serving size – do not cut them into serving size portions yet. We’ll do that after they’ve been cooked, but before they get fried.
Sous Vide the chicken
Place the prepared chicken pieces into either a vacuum-seal or similarly water-proof and heat proof bag (such as a Ziplock bag). Dark meat and white meat should be placed in different bags as they will need to cook for different lengths of time. You.
Place the salt and pepper designated for the chicken (not the dredging flour mix) into the bag, with the chicken, and mix well with the meat. If you want a spicy version, feel free to add up to a tablespoon of hot sauce in the bag as well.
If you are using a vacuum sealer, go ahead and seal the bag. If you are using an open-top bag, work the meat to the bottom of the bag, and try to push out as much of the air between the chicken pieces as possible.
Fill a large stock pot with enough water to cover the bag of chicken and meet the MIN fill line of your sous vide machine. Clip the bag of chicken to the inside of the pot with a binder clip, making sure that the meat is completely covered with at least two (2) inches of water, and that there is enough room around the bag and sous vide machine for water to adequately circulate.
If you’re using a bag that is not vacuum-sealed, make sure that the open top of the bag is above the water line, and that the water has helped to push the air pockets out from inside the bag. Set your sous vide machine for 155F. Depending on what combination of meats you’re cooking, use the following time guidelines:
- Dark meat, bone in: three (3) hours at 155F.
- Dark meat, de-boned: two (2) hours at 155F
- White meat, bone-in or de-boned: one (1) hour at 155F.
Making the dredge
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2/3 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 teaspoon oregano
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon rhyme
Sift all the ingredients together in a large bowl/shallow dish. You’re looking for the dredging mix to be about 1/2” deep and wide enough so that your largest piece of cooked chicken can lay flat in the flour mixture.
Make sure you use a high protein flour like a bread flour. Do NOT use cake, pastry, or wheat-alternative flours. The high-protein level provides for a sturdier, firm crunch to the crust. Flours that do not have enough gluten proteins will more easily disintegrate and fall off during frying, will soak up oil, and become soggy. Just don’t do it!!!!
You should feel free to change up the herbs and spices in the mix, but this mix is the classic ‘secret recipe’ from the big-box fried chicken chain we all know.
Prepare the dredging liquid
- 1 ½ cup buttermilk or
- Option 1 – 75% regular yogurt and 25% water or
- Option 2 – 50% Greek yogurt and 50% water
Pour dredging liquid into a bowl or shallow pan so that the liquid is deep enough where you can comfortably submerge a piece of chicken at a time in the liquid. You can use either buttermilk or if you do not have buttermilk, you can substitute a mixture of plain, whole-fat yogurt and water
You are looking for mixture that is the consistency of buttermilk or commercial chocolate milk.
Prepare the Chicken for Dredging
Once the chicken has finished sous vide cooking, take the chicken pieces out of their bags, and pat their surfaces dry. (Pro tip – you can save the juices in the bag as a concentrated chicken stock!).
If you do not plan on cooking the chicken immediately, you can leave the chicken in its sealed bags for a few days in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
Dredging the chicken
Preheat your frying oil to 400F.
- For each piece of cooked, surface-dried chicken, lightly dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off all the excess. This first coat should be very light.
- The second coating is through the buttermilk, then directly into the third coating – the flour mixture again.
- The third coating should be thicker. Then go directly from the third coating, immediately into the pre-heated frying oil.
Frying the chicken
Fry the chicken pieces until they are a dark golden brown (you know the color from all the buckets you’ve bought over the years….). This should only take about 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of your frying vessel.
Cool & Eat
You’ll be tempted to shove that fried chicken into your mouth directly from the fryer. Don’t. Wait for it to cool a bit on either a wire rack or stack of paper towels first. Believe me, I’ve burned the roof of my mouth more than once for lack of patience.
A Little Wine?
Alumna Margaret Meraz ('02) works at Ghost Block Estate Wines, who recommends paring Chef Yang's fried chicken with their 2017 Elizabeth Rose Chockablock. Learn more about this wine here!
Alum & Alumna Robert ('78) & Layla ('81) Fanucci's Winery, Charter Oak, recommends pairing the fried chicken with their 2018 Guido Ragghianti Old World Field Blend. Learn more about this wine here!
Alumna Dalia Ceja ('08) works at Ceja Winery, who recommends pairing the fried chicken with their 2015 Sonoma-Carneros Merlot. Learn more about this wine here!