I joined a group of friends for a potluck lunch in early May and one of them brought chicken tenders made with fried pork rinds. Yes, you heard it right! CHICHARRON CRUSTED FRIED CHICKEN.
Her father, she says, turned this American favorite upside down with the chicharron crust. So amazingly sinful, you’ll be begging KFC to start making it. In this recipe below, I have combined a traditional fried chicken egg wash to marinate and season the chicken, but replaced the bread crumbs for crushed chicharrones. The chicken is crunchy and the taste is out of this world. The key is to let the chicken bathe in the egg wash with the hot sauce for at least a few hours to soak up all of the seasoning. The fried pork fat speaks for itself.
Fried Chicken with Chicharron Crust
3 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
About 1 cup hot red pepper sauce (Red Rooster or any Louisiana-style sauce)
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
1 (3 pound) chicken, cut into pieces (You can substitute pre-cut thighs and drumsticks)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups self-rising flour
6 cups chicharron, crushed
Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil, but I often use Canola oil
In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with buttermilk. Add enough hot sauce (I used a whole bottle) so the egg mixture is bright orange. Whisk in the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add the chicken to the bowl, making sure the chicken is fully submerged, or add everything into a sturdy Ziploc bag. Refrigerate up to 2 hours.
Begin heating your oil in a deep pot. The ideal frying temperature is said to be 365°F. Alton Brown claims that 325°F gets his chicken just right. We went with 350°F for this recipe. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
In its own bag, crush the chicharron or place in a food processor and pulse until it becomes crumbs. We went back and forth on how fine to crush the pork rinds. Personally, we preferred the rough crumble.
In a shallow pie pan, combine the flour and pepper. Do the same in a separate pan for the crushed chicharrones.
When the oil is hot enough you can roll the seasoned chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Then coat the chicken in the egg and buttermilk mixture one last time before rolling into the crushed chicharrones.
Using thongs begin frying the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp, flipping the chicken halfway through the cooking process. Dark meat takes longer than white meat. It should take dark meat about 14 to 15 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain on paper towels before enjoying.