Crispy Fried Chicken
Filipino Styled Fried Chicken with Homemade Gravy from Scratch
3.5 to 4 lbs chicken (we prefer thighs or legs)
3 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1 head garlic (peeled and smashed)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
48 oz / 3 pints / 1420 mL peanut oil or corn oil for frying
(amount of oil needed will vary depend on size and shape of pot)
3 tbsp of leftover oil (from frying)
2 tbsp of leftover flour dredge
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Brining the Chicken:
In a large bowl, add in 3 cups buttermilk, 1/4 cup kosher salt, 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp cayenne, and 1 tsp paprika, and 1 head of garlic, peeled and smashed. Stir to combine. Add in 3.5 to 4 lbs. of chicken pieces (we prefer thighs or legs), and stir to coat. Let it rest in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.
Dredging the Chicken:
Set a metal rack on a baking sheet. Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk soak and transfer them onto the metal rack, and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes letting the excess buttermilk drip off. Removing excess buttermilk is necessary, otherwise the chicken pieces will end up too salty (brine is very salty).
In 2 large Ziploc bags, placed one inside the other, add in 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp five spice powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Seal both bags and shake vigorously to combine.
Set another metal rack on a baking sheet. One piece of chicken at a time, put chicken into the Ziploc bag with flour/cornstarch mixture, seal the bag, and shake it vigorously so all sides are coated. Shake off excess flour. Transfer the flour-coated chicken onto the prepared metal rack. Repeat this with all pieces of chicken, and let them rest on the wire rack at room temperature for 1 hour. Resting the flour-coated pieces at room temperature helps the coating to stick better, creating a crunchier skin. And allowing the pieces to come completely to room temperature before frying also helps the inside of the chicken get cooked all the way through (inside won't be cold), especially with thick pieces like thighs.
Frying the Chicken:
In a deep stainless-steel sauce pot (we used a 5 quart pot), add in enough peanut oil so it is about 2 inches high (amount of oil needed depends on size of your pot - we use 48 oz / 3 pints / 1420 mL in the 5 quart pot), clip on a candy thermometer to the pot, and heat it on medium-high heat till it reaches 325 F (163 C). It's important to use a deep pot, at least 6" high to prevent the oil from splattering everywhere when frying - do not fill your pot more than 1/3 of the way up with oil.
(To note: Stainless steel pots do not retain heat as well as Dutch ovens or cast-iron pots, but they are better for heat distribution, so the chicken pieces will not burn if they touch the bottom surface).
Prepare another clean metal rack over a baking sheet. When the oil reaches 325 F (163 C) as read on the thermometer, use metal tongs to add in the chicken pieces, in batches of 2 (for large pieces) or 3 (for smaller pieces), depending on the size of your pot, skin side down first. The oil temperature will drop when the chicken is added, but try not to let it drop below 300 F (149 C). If it drops below 300 F (149 C), you added too many pieces, and it is probably over crowded. Ideally, the temperature should be around 315 F (157 C) during the majority of the frying process. Adjust the flame higher or lower, depending on the temperature of the oil, so that it sits on or around 315 F (157 C) as much as possible.
After about 5 to 6 minutes on one side (5 minutes for smaller pieces, 6 minutes for large pieces), flip the chicken pieces over and let it continue frying for another 5 to 6 minutes. Continue to monitor the oil temperature so that it is around 315 F (157 C), adjusting the flame level accordingly.
The chicken pieces are done when the thickest part reads a minimum of 165 F (74 C). Remove the chicken pieces using tongs. Transfer the chicken to the prepared metal rack, so that excess oil drips off. Do not rest on paper towels. Let the oil come back to 325 F (163 C). Then add the next batch, and repeat the same steps, till all the chicken pieces are cooked, adjusting heat so the temperature of oil sits on or around 315 F (157 C).
Let the chicken pieces rest for at least 5 minutes before eating.
Making the Gravy:
In a small saucepan, add in 3 tbsp of the leftover oil the chicken was fried in. Be careful, as it will be extremely hot.
Then add in the 2 tbsp of the leftover flour dredge, whisking into the oil to form a roux. Heat this over medium heat, continuing to whisk, and cook until the roux turns dark brown.
When the roux has become dark brown, add in 1 cup of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of whole milk, whisking to dissolve the roux and break up any lumps of flour, and bring to a boil.
When the mixture starts boiling, whisk in 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1/2 tsp of five spice powder, and 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper. Continue whisking and cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the gravy reaches your desired consistency.
Spoon the gravy over the chicken and serve. Enjoy!