Crispy Salt & Pepper Chicken

Crispy Salt & Pepper Chicken

This is easily the simplest chicken recipe I have ever made and the all time favorite chicken eaten at our house on a regular basis. Deep golden brown, super crispy and oh so flavorful! My husband likes this recipe made with chicken thighs and I have to agree. We think this is possibly the best fried chicken ever.

An interesting thing about this fried chicken is that it's not breaded. Talk about easy!

The fat in the skin of the chicken renders out into the frying oil and you're left with the most crackling crispy skin and crazy moist, perfectly cooked chicken. The juicy meat literally pulls right off of the bones.

Because it's not breaded, it needs to be fried in a deep fat fryer or in a large dutch oven with enough oil to completely submerge the chicken that is kept at a constant 350 degrees.

Tips:

If you make the seasoning mix ahead of time and use a deep fryer instead of setting up and then later cleaning a dutch oven for frying this chicken is literally ready in minutes.

I think this is great at room temperature or even chilled so try this as picnic chicken.

So how do you make this glorious fried chicken?

Start with chicken thighs that are clean and dry. Be sure you have completely dried the chicken or the water in it will cause the very hot oil to pop and splatter. That's no fun at all and could cause serious burns so please, be sure your chicken is dry. One way to do this is to lay the chicken pieces out on a sheet pan and leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours and allow all the moisture to evaporate. It will also help the chicken crisp up better in the fryer.

While the chicken is frying or earlier, mix up the salt and pepper mixture for seasoning the chicken as soon as it comes out of the fryer. I use this so often I almost always have some made up in a jar.

I buy whole Szechuan peppercorns and give them a wiz in my spice grinder, pulsing about 10 times so it's medium fine in texture. These peppercorns are not true peppercorns. They are an Asian spice that is peppery but also has this amazing quality that's a bit like menthol and will tingle and numb your tongue when you eat a lot of it. I know that sounds really weird but it's so good!

I mix the ground Szechuan peppercorns with ground black pepper in equal parts then add fine sea salt to measure 1/4 of the total of the 2 peppers. So let's say 2 tablespoons each peppers (4 tablespoons) to 1 tablespoon of salt ( 5 tablespoons total). I use roughly 3-4 tablespoons to season 10 chicken thighs.

I use tongs to slip the chicken thighs carefully into the fryer at 350 degrees and deep fry for 12 minutes. Do this in batches and don't crowd the fryer. After frying 12 minutes, I drain them for 5 seconds over the fryer and turn them out onto a sheet pan lined with a sheet of parchment or paper towels.

I sprinkle them with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning immediately and then turn them over with the tongs and sprinkle the top side with another 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning. Finally I sprinkle the tops (skin side up) with a light sprinkling of Kosher salt.

I fry them in batches until all of the thighs have been deep fried and seasoned. I place the chicken on the baking sheet in the oven at 250 degrees between batches.

When all of the chicken has been fried and seasoned they are done!

Enjoy immediately.

Cheers!

~Melisa

Crispy Salt & Pepper Chicken

Ingredients

8-10 chicken thighs, clean and dry

3-4 tablespoons salt & pepper spice mix

salt and pepper spice mix:

2 tablespoons each ground Szechuan peppercorns and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fine ground sea salt

Method

Deep Fry Chicken thighs in batches for 12 minutes and drain them briefly over the fryer before turning them out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment or paper towels.

Season each side of the chicken with seasoning mix and then season the tops with a light sprinkle of kosher salt. Place the sheet pan into a 250 degree oven between batches.

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Copywrite © 2019 by Melisa Smith