Monday, June 28, 2010

John's Perfect Chesapeake Fried Chicken

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipeIt's been quite some time since I shared a recipe with you, and this one is about to make up for all that. My friend John has been working on perfecting his fried chicken recipe. This past weekend he treated me to a batch and let me in on some of his secrets and I'd say he's pretty much nailed it. I've always been a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of deep-frying, but John showed me just how easy it is. This chicken has a double layer of breading, is packed with flavor and I still can't get over how golden and beautiful it turned out! You won't believe how un-greasy it is — after frying up a whole batch, there is pretty much the same amount of oil left in the pot. Eat it hot or cold, packed up in that summertime picnic basket. I gnawed on a piece or two during my road trip back from DC to Michigan — delish!

John's Chesapeake Chicken
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup salt
1 (2 1/2 lb) bag all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons seasoning salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
6 large eggs
peanut oil (for frying)
Additional seasoning salt

The first secret is brining:

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipe
Rinse chicken. Place it in a bowl and add salt. Add water to cover and let soak for an hour.

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipe

Meanwhile, beat the eggs together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, seasoning salt and pepper. When chicken is done brining, rinse it. Dip each piece in the eggs and then in the flour mixture. Use one hand to dip in the wet and the other for the dry to avoid thoroughly gunking up your fingers.

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipe
Set aside on a lightly floured baking sheet and let rest for about 20 minutes, or the time it takes to heat the oil. 

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipe
Fill a dutch oven halfway full with peanut oil. Heat to 375ยบ.

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipe
Enjoy a icy cold glass of peachy, lychee sangria while you wait…

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipe
And by the time the oil is ready, the chicken will look like this with the flour kind of soaked into the egg and looking pasty.
Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipe
Next dredge each piece of chicken in the eggs and then the flour mixture one more time before placing directly and carefully into the hot oil.

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipe
Fry the chicken in batches being sure not to crowd the pot.

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipeAfter the first minute or two of cooking, gently run a spoon under each piece to be sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipeWhen the chicken is golden brown, 10-12 minutes, remove it from the oil and drain on a brown paper bag.

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipeSprinkle the chicken with extra seasoned salt and let cool.

Chesapeake Fried Chicken recipeIf you've read all the way through to this point, then you are ready for the big reveal. John adds one other secret ingredient to both the flour for dredging and then right after frying instead of sprinkling with seasoning salt — I feel almost guilty revealing it, but he gave me the go-ahead. Here it is… Old Bay. Yup. That's the secret to Chesapeake Chicken. I didn't list it in the ingredients, because you have to read this far down to find out the true secret. So good! You would never guess that that's what's in it. It's not like it tastes like crabs or shrimp with Old Bay. It just adds that certain something. The best!


  1. OMG! This looks fabulous! Can't wait to try it. :)

  2. I love fried chicken and John's looks amazing. I'll definitely try this recipe - thanks for the post. Great pics also.

  3. I can't say enough about this chicken --- Asheville and LeeLu, you should both try it! YUM!

  4. YUM! I can't wait to try it!