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Monday, June 21, 2010

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

To be honest, I have never been a huge fried chicken maker, because I simply wasn't good at it, until I stumbled upon a recipe by the Lee Brothers a couple of years ago.  Their recipe is step-by-step guaranteed delicious perfection. I still haven't made it very often, (because fried chicken isn't necessarily the best thing in the world for you) but I have come to appreciate it as a good dish to conjure up for something like, oh I don't know, say a picnic.

But now we are gluten-free.  And my Lee Bros. cookbook (which looks JUST LIKE that one over there) is still mysteriously packed up in one of my many boxes of books from when we moved (because yes, yes I DO have THAT many books.)  But I was planning a special picnic for my husband who LOVES fried chicken.

Uh oh.

Determined as I was to make gluten-free fried chicken, I was scared.  Scared I would fail, I would waste the chicken.  Scared it would turn out nastified.  And quite honestly, after staying up until midnight the night before Father's Day making said chicken, I still would not have included it in this blog because I thought I had failed.

But yesterday, when we pulled the cold container of fried chicken out of the cooler at the park, I was more than pleasantly surprised.  Had it not been 12,000 degrees outside, I would've indulged and eaten a truck load of it.  It wasn't pretty chicken, but it was very, very good.

So here is my recipe I concocted after reading about 50 recipes on the internet.

1 gallon water
11 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup brown sugar

2 cups sea salt
2 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. italian seasoning
1 tsp. granulated garlic
3 cups buttermilk
1 lb. rice flour
black pepper
cayenne pepper
granulated garlic
cornmeal (not cornmeal mix)
3-4 cups coconut oil
a large amount of time and patience

This was a 2-day recipe, or at least a night-and-a-day.  I don't normally have that amount of time to invest, but to cook something for an occasion like Father's Day I will make it work. But if you would like to try this at home, I thought I would give a warning!
Thaw out your chicken if you have it frozen.  Do this in the refrigerator or in water, do not do it in the microwave and risk partially cooked, dried-out chicken.  Once it is thawed and/or removed from the package, wash it off.  In a large bucket or trash bag if you don't have a bucket, pour 1 gallon of cold water and dissolve the sea salt and brown sugar in it. Add the 2 tsp. parsley and 1 tsp. garlic, plus 1 tsp. italian seasoning.  Add the chicken and ice.  Put your container of chicken the coldest part of your refrigerator and leave it there for 4-6 hours.  This is brining the chicken.  It helps the chicken to have more moisture when you fry it so that in turn your chicken is juicy, moist, and super-delicious.

When you are ready to cook, pull out three mixing bowls or large containers.  In the first, put about 2 cups of rice flour, and sprinkle in some garlic, parsley, cayenne, and about 1/8 cup of cornmeal.  Put the exact same thing in your 3rd bowl.  Toss or mix the dry ingredients together.  Pour about a cup of buttermilk in the 2nd bowl.  Line them up on your countertop in a neat little assembly line.  Heat your oven to 350 and grease 2-3 baking sheets.
The next step is to dredge the chicken.  Dredge in bowl 1, dip into the buttermilk bowl, and then dredge it into bowl 3.  Lay across a baking sheet.  Repeat until you have all of the chicken breaded.  Bake your chicken for about 30 minutes and remove from oven.  Turn the oven off for crying out loud! It's summertime and hot as h-e-double hockey sticks!

Now heat a medium to large skillet over medium high heat.  I like to use a smallish skillet for fried chicken so that I only cook 1 or 2 pieces at a time so I have better control of what's going on in there, but that does make it take considerably longer.  Pour in just enough coconut oil to coat the bottom of the skillet with about a 1/4 inch coating.  Once the oil is melted well and hot, add pieces of chicken one at a time.  Make sure your chicken can lay out entirely flat.  Fry chicken for about 5 minute on each side.

Do not obsessively turn the chicken, this will cause your breading to fall off.  Do not forget about the chicken and cook it too long, this will cause your breading to burn.  The chicken itself is mostly cooked at this stage, but still needs to be finished off and you are crisping and cooking the breading.

Do have plenty of napkins on hand for eating. If you are transporting to a picnic or other event, store in an airtight container and keep cold.

Enjoy your picnic-- try and avoid flies and ants and enjoy sun and family!


  1. That chicken looks good! Although, I probably would never take that much time to make fried chicken.

  2. I normally wouldn't either. But halfway in, I couldn't stop. And I do try to go out of my way to make Father's Day special.

  3. Karen I do need to check out your recipe if it was easier. Otherwise, my family may only get fried chicken once a year.