There is an art to frying chicken, and when it’s done right, you know it. For best results there are 3 things I consider to be crucial: a 6 qt cast iron dutch oven with lid (as it has the best heat conductivity for even frying and is supreme for southern frying), corn oil (the best I think for that golden brown result, although peanut oil would work too), and Lawry’s seasoning salt (I know, it’s a southern thing). Lastly, frying chicken takes time, so don’t rush the process. That’s why I cook a big batch at one time for yummy leftovers!
One word on cooking gluten free: Every GF flour does not perform equally, and some work best for baking rather than frying due to the texture results. After testing many types of GF flour combinations, I highly recommend you use the brands specified below for optimum results. You can find King Arthur’s gluten free multi-purpose flour at Earth Fare, Whole Foods, or your well stocked grocery store like Kroger’s in the specialty GF section. The cornstarch and baking powder are a MUST, as they help to create the “crispy air bubbles” you crave in a good fried chicken crust. And don’t skip the buttermilk marinade part (can be done up to 24 hrs ahead of time), as this is what tenderizes the chicken, makes it juicy, and helps the breading to stick and be extra crispy. Now to the good part…
3-4 pounds of fresh chicken wings/drummettes
48 oz corn oil (I like Mazola)
1 cup buttermilk (I like whole buttermilk)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups King Arthur’s gluten free multi-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch (I like Argo)
1 tbspn baking powder
2 tbspn Lawry’s seasoning salt, plus 1 tbspn
2 tbspn garlic powder
1 tbspn ground black pepper, plus 1 tbspn
1 tbspn hot sauce (optional, if you like it with a little heat)
Place chicken wings into a large bowl and add 1 cup of buttermilk. Mix to coat the chicken, cover with a lid, and let marinate in fridge for at least 3 hours (can marinate overnight if cooking the next day).
In a medium-sized brown paper bag, mix the gluten free multi-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 1 tbspn Lawry’s seasoning salt, 1 tbspn black pepper, and 2 tbspn garlic powder together with your fingers to evenly incorporate. Set aside. Take bowl of marinated buttermilk chicken out the fridge and add to it 2 tbspn Lawry’s seasoning salt, 1 tbspn black pepper, and toss with your fingers to season chicken evenly. In a separate bowl, slightly beat 2 eggs together (add your hot sauce here if you like more heat), then add to chicken mixture, working with your fingers to make sure the chicken is evenly coated. Now get your seasoned flour bag and add a few pieces of chicken at a time and gently shake bag to coat chicken in flour, then lightly shake off excess flour from each piece of chicken into bag as you lay the coated chicken flat on a cookie sheet. Repeat until all your chicken is coated in flour and laying flat on a cookie sheet. Let coated chicken set for at least 5-10 minutes on cookie sheet (this is important to allow a good “stick” for your crust).
While chicken is setting, pour corn oil into a 6-qt enameled cast-iron dutch oven with lid and heat steadily through on medium-high for about 5 minutes or so. I test to see if oil is ready for frying when I hear a slight sizzle from a drop of water (If it is smoking, it is too hot and will burn your chicken, so adjust your heat if necessary). Gently add a few pieces of chicken to oil, cooking in small batches, being sure not to overcrowd or overlap in bottom of pot. You want to make sure chicken has enough room to move around. Cover pot with lid and let fry for about 6 minutes initially (this is what helps to crisp up chicken and cook from inside out). Uncover pot and check for browning, gently flipping chicken over with a big slotted spoon or tongs to cook on other side for about 6 minutes more, this time uncovered with lid off, until evenly golden brown on all sides. Once done, remove chicken from pot carefully with a big slotted spoon or tongs, gently straining off excess oil from each piece, and place on a wire rack, or cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Continue cooking the remainder of chicken in small batches, using same process, until all done. Serve immediately, or keep warm in oven on 300 degrees until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Tip: Premix your dry flour breading ingredients, along with seasonings, and store in an airtight container for future use to have on hand. When it comes to seasoning, season to YOUR taste, adding more or less to your specification, but be careful not to add too much salt.