Marinating Fried Chicken In Yellow Mustard Has Its Perks

Fried chicken needs little introduction. It's one of those perfect foods — great any time of the day and cooked any kind of way. But when you make fried chicken at home, do you ever feel that it's missing something? Yellow mustard might not be the universal ingredient that restaurants use in all their fried chicken recipes, but it is a simple ingredient any home cook can add to get tender meat that's full of flavor.

Mustard is an acidic condiment with a pH of roughly 3.7, making it an ideal addition to any meat marinade. Acid is key to marination because it denatures the proteins in meat which allows seasonings to penetrate and tenderization to occur. As an added bonus, yellow mustard contains a bit of sweetness and spice of its own that works well with common fried chicken seasonings like garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne, and even honey. Incorporating these ingredients into the chicken and letting them sit for at least an hour will yield succulent, flavorful meat covered by a crunchy fried exterior. The yellow mustard marinade also helps in achieving a perfect exterior since it clings to the flour well while the chicken fries. No need to make things messy with egg wash and bread crumbs; mustard and flour should suffice.

Variations on mustard fried chicken

Yellow mustard plays a versatile role in fried chicken: It tenderizes, it flavors, and it clings onto flour. And while not everyone might be a fan of this classic hot dog condiment, there are other mustards that can fill its role. For those who find the taste of yellow mustard too one-dimensional, mixing in spicy brown mustard is a good way to add some kick since it's made from mustard seeds with more natural heat. To introduce some textural contrast, you can also try using whole-grain mustard in your marinade instead of yellow. Whole grain mustard uses whole mustard seeds, which not only bring crunch but plenty of rich flavor as well.

Another easy way to vary mustard-marinated chicken is to forego deep frying for other cooking methods. Deep fat frying isn't everyone's cup of tea, since it's not the healthiest or easiest to clean. Instead, home cooks can skip the flour dredging and bake their meat in the oven instead. For maximum juiciness, try using chicken leg meat instead of chicken breast. Lastly, there's the classic pan fry. For this cooking method, a light dusting of flour will help to develop a nice crust when you saute. An important tip to remember here is to butterfly your chicken pieces first, which will reduce cooking time and mitigate the chance of burning the outside.