Taiwanese American chef Eric Huang based the crisp-for-hours fried chicken he serves at his hit restaurant Pecking House on the country-style fried chicken he learned to make in culinary school, where flour is incorporated into the brine. But the real secret to this fried chicken comes from a product called EverCrisp, a type of wheat dextrin that forms a crispy crust that stays crunchy for hours. Huang recommends serving this with ranch dressing, honey mustard, a Louisiana-style hot sauce, or a couple packets of McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce.
- Combine chicken with all seasonings, mustard, buttermilk, flour, and EverCrisp in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands until no more dry flour remains. Take care to treat the skin on the breast quite delicately, as it becomes easily dislodged or torn. The chicken should look as if it is thoroughly slathered in a paste (it should look suitable to put up wallpaper with).
- Marinate overnight in the refrigerator or at least 6 hours.
- Combine flour, cornstarch, and salt in a wide, high-sided pan or dish.
- Heat up peanut oil in a cast-iron pan with the intention of shallow frying at 300ºF.
- Take your paste-laden chicken pieces and lay them into your flour dredge. Make sure they are covered in every which way in dry starch. There should be no naked bits peeking through.
- . Shake off as much excess starch as possible and lay the dredged pieces into the shallow fry/cast iron setup. It should not explode and spit violently—it should just bubble. If it is popping off, your oil is too hot, or you didn’t cover all the naked, moist bits of your marinated chicken.
- Cook on one side for approximately 7–8 minutes, depending on which piece it is. The drumstick is going to take the longest.
- Flip the chicken pieces and cook for another 7–8 minutes. To ensure the chicken is cooked, use a thermometer. I may be legally bound to tell you the thermometer should read 165ºF, but if your breast meat is reading 165ºF, you’ve done effed up.
- Lay cooked pieces of chicken on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack and allow to rest for at least 6 minutes.
- After the chicken has rested, enjoy naked or drenched in sauce. Put leftovers, if any, in the fridge. Enjoy cold in a moment of weakness at 2 a.m. Treat yourself. It’s been a hard year. Self-compassion will be the key to all of us making it out of here.