Although I love the chicken wings we make in the air fryer, sometimes you really just crave that crispy outer breading layer. I had saved a Food Network video on Facebook a while back (in fact, unknowingly, I saved it twice) for Tyler Florence’s fried chicken. I decided to make it for New Year’s Eve last night and to make it into a chicken and waffles dish.
On top of that, I had previously received a gift of homemade maple syrup from Indiana and this was the perfect opportunity to crack that open. There were a lot of good things going on, but I fear my execution was lacking. I’ll highlight some of these lessons learned as I go along.
We decided to use a boneless chicken thigh. We decided on boneless so it would be easier to eat with the waffles and decided on chicken thigh for taste. (Tip #1: I think this recipe may have been better eating the chicken right off the bone like in the video I saw, so next time I might try bone-in legs and thighs.)
I brined the chicken in a water/salt bath and let that sit in the fridge for about 4 hours. I then, removed the chicken from the brine, patted it dry, and let it sit out (covered) to get to room temperature before frying.
In the meantime, I prepared the dry ingredients. I didn’t need a full 3 cups of flour, so I just eyeballed that and the seasonings. For herbs, I used what I had on hand – rosemary, thyme, sage, and a few cloves of unpeeled garlic.
When the time came, I poured the buttermilk into a dish for dredging and added Sirarcha. I actually prepared the coating for all the thighs first and set them on a baking sheet until I was ready to fry.
Preparing too far in advance was mistake number one. I think preparing them all first was probably fine, but I let them sit out until guests arrived. I think this probably soaked the dry ingredients too much and caused a little less crispiness. In retrospect, I would’ve prepared them all and then fried right away. (I get anxious and inpatient when people are coming over, so I want to do everything quickly and right away.)
Mistake number two was that I decided to double coat everything. The recipe calls for coating the chicken with the buttermilk/chili sauce and then coating with the dry ingredients. I repeated that one more time for every chicken thigh. I think this also contributed to a thicker and more dense batter/outer layer, meaning less crisp.
I pulled out my deep fryer accessories that came with my Gotham Steel copper set. I used vegetable oil instead of peanut oil. I’m not sure if this made a big difference, but perhaps it did. I first fried up the herbs. Boy, did that smell amazing! Once a bit crisp, I took those out and set them aside. (I didn’t end up using them as garnish because I was making chicken and waffles, but they really fell apart. So, the herbs would’ve been great sprinkled over the chicken, but I’m unsure how they would have held up as garnish.)
Then, I cooked the chicken in batches of 3 or 4 thighs at a time. This took much longer than the recipe mentioned. It took me about 15 – 20 minutes per thigh. (I’m not a seasoned deep fryer and I was a afraid to turn up the temperature of the stove too high – maybe that led to the longer cooking time.)
Once done, I heated up some frozen multigrain eggos in the oven. I put everything on a serving dish, drizzled with that Indiana syrup. Even through some of the mistakes, people ate it and Jake and I are still having it for breakfast this next morning!
Good luck trying the recipe and maybe adding a few twists of your own!