Like most of us, I’ve got my collection of oven “fried” chicken. These are good recipes, but they all seem to fall just a little short of that true “fried” chicken texture. One morning, while I was making my spice rubbed picnic chicken, (Let’s Pack a Picnic!) it occurred to me that the problem with oven fried chicken was the pan. All my recipes had the same flaw in common. The chicken was placed directly on a rimmed baking sheet and placed in the oven to “fry”. In reality, the chicken pieces are “baking” on the sheet and not frying. Sure, we’ve dipped them in batter, rolled them in everything from crushed cereal to panko bread crumbs, but in the end, they sit directly on the baking pan and bake. To compensate for this, most recipes have you put a little oil or butter into the baking pan. While the amount of oil isn’t nearly a skillet-full, it’s still some oil, right? The picnic chicken just might hold the key.
A few weeks later, I took my favorite Oven “Fried” Chicken, and made a few little changes to the recipe. I used the recipe for Oven “Fried” Chicken and combined it with the cooking instructions for Spice Rubbed Picnic Chicken. Wow! Problem solved. The chicken is baked at a higher temperature, on racks rather than on a pan, allowing the hot air to circulate the chicken and give it a “fried” finish. The chicken is moist on the inside, with that “crisp” fried skin on the outside. Yum!
You can use the recipe that follows, or your own, which ever you prefer. This should work with any oven fried chicken recipe. And what would fried chicken be without some creamy chicken gravy? I’ve included a recipe for that, too. Hope you enjoy!
Southern “Fried” Oven Chicken
1 whole chicken, 1 to 2 ½ lbs, cut into 8 pieces
Bath (water enough to cover chicken, seasoned with seasoning salt to taste)
2 eggs, well beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon Garlic Salt
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Tablespoons Oregano
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Teaspoon Basil
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Celery Salt
1 Tablespoon Salt
Cut up chicken and place in a container of water seasoned with seasoning salt. Let chicken soak over night in salted water in refrigerator. Drain chicken and pat dry.
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 475-degrees.
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and top with wire racks.
In a shallow bowl, lightly beat egg with milk. In a separate shallow bowl, combine flour, seasonings. Dip dark pieces in egg mixture to coat lightly, allowing excess egg to drip off. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour.
Place dark meat skin-side up on prepared wire racks and place in oven on upper rack.
Roast dark meat for 15 minutes. While dark meat is roasting, dip white meat in egg mixture to coat lightly, allowing excess egg to drip off. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour.
Place white meat skin-side up on prepared rack. Transfer dark meat to lower oven rack, place white meat on upper oven rack.
Roast chicken in oven until brown and crisp, about 30-40 minutes; switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through the roasting process.
Once chicken is “fried”, turn oven off but do not remove chicken from oven. Make gravy.
NOTES: A little Hickory Liquid smoke can be added to the brine water for a smokey flavor that will penetrate deep into the meat. For added “crunch”, reduce the flour to 1 cup and add panko bread crumbs or crushed corn flakes.
Chicken Stock Gravy
1 Cup Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoons Butter, divided
2 Tablespoons flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
Pour chicken stock into a saucepan, bring to a gentle boil.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saute pan. Blend with flour to create a paste. Continue to cook until just golden.
Add flour mixture to chicken stock. Stirring constantly, cook to desired consistency.
Remove from heat, add remaining tablespoon butter. Blend until smooth. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Transfer to bowl with ladle or gravy boat for serving.
Serving Suggestions: Mashed potatoes, corn and biscuits.