The Trick For Getting The Best Fried Chicken Every Time

With a crispy, golden exterior covering a tender, flavorful interior, what's not to love about digging into a big, juicy hunk of fried chicken?  According to Statista, it's projected that 184.02 million Americans will have consumed frozen fried chicken by the year 2024 — an impressive testament to just how much people love their poultry.

One of the many good things about fried chicken is that it's versatile. There are plenty of ways you can experiment with your fried chicken, from changing the type of meat you fry to the kind of breading that you use. Food52, for example, offers a recipe for Potato Chip Fried Chicken Wings, which is an apparent favorite of rapper Snoop Dogg. Chef John Mitzewich, known as Chef John of Food Wishes on YouTube, offers up his own take on Nashville Hot Chicken that includes butter, brown sugar, and his favorite ingredient: cayenne (via Allrecipes).

While all these recipes are perfectly fine, let's say you want a simple, no-frills, fried chicken. You want a piece of poultry with a juicy interior and a crisp, golden crust but you want to avoid the pitfalls of overcooking your chicken while trying to get that perfectly done crust or getting a tender interior with a greasy, undercooked crust. What can be done to avoid these common mistakes? The answer is that you may be skipping a very important step before you even toss your chicken in the fryer.

Poach the chicken in buttermilk first

If you've ever made fried chicken before, the process is usually the same. You dredge the chicken in buttermilk or other preferred liquid, coat it in breading, and then fry it in oil. This is a tried-and-true method, sure, but you may be skipping a very important step.

According to MyRecipes, you should actually poach your chicken first, or let the chicken pieces cook in the buttermilk mixture. First, place the chicken pieces in a plastic bag full of your usual buttermilk brine and chill it in the fridge for 3 to 24 hours. After the buttermilk and chicken is sufficiently cool, the chicken is to be boiled and then simmered in the mixture until cooked completely through. From there, you can allow the meat to cool in the liquid inside the fridge once again until it's time to prepare your fried chicken.

While this may seem to be a very thorough process for some fried chicken, the apparent bonuses are twofold: You get a crispier crust as well as a tender and juicy interior. But what if you can't enjoy buttermilk, such as having an allergy to dairy? Allergy Awesomeness offers a recipe that uses a combination of rice milk and lemon juice that can help offer the tangy flavor that buttermilk offers. You can also experiment with an unexpected ingredient that will take your fried chicken to the next level.