The Simple Way To Keep Fried Chicken Hot And Crispy For A Cookout

fried chicken dinner
fried chicken dinner - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

There is a good reason fried chicken has mostly stayed in the world of takeout and grocery store hot bars: It's a real challenge to make a good, crispy version at home. Deep frying can already be intimidating, and despite the seemingly simple concept, and there are a lot of small mistakes you can make with fried chicken that can leave you with a bland, greasy, or soggy disappointment for a meal. You can't fry too hot or too low, your breading or batter needs to be well seasoned and the perfect consistency, and even with all those precautions, if you handle your fried chicken poorly after it's done, it can still be ruined. This is especially challenging when you are preparing it for a party or cookout, when you need to be making batches at a time and letting the chicken rest for an extended period. It's an invitation for sog. Thankfully there is one easy way to keep your chicken fresh, hot, and crispy — all you need is an oven-safe rack.

Next time you are frying up chicken and need to keep it warm for a while, just preheat your oven to a low temperature, like 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a baking sheet and place a grated rack over it, leaving space for air to circulate underneath. Then transfer the chicken straight to the rack as you cook it to drain, and keep it in the oven to prevent it from cooling off.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Keep Fried Chicken Warm On A Rack In The Oven

fried chicken on wire rack
fried chicken on wire rack - Colleen Michaels/Shutterstock

The most commonly suggested practice after frying chicken is to leave it on a paper towel to absorb excess oil, but this doesn't actually work very well. While the paper may sop up some oil, it also presses directly against the chicken, which traps steam against the crust. Moisture is the enemy of crisp, and this method, or any other one that traps steam, is going to result in at least part of the crust getting soggy. An elevated rack does the opposite, maximizing air circulation to keep the fried exterior as dry as possible, while still allowing excess oil to drain into the pan below. An oven at 250 degrees, or on a general "warm," setting, will keep the chicken hot enough to serve without overcooking it and drying it out, and the extra dry heat from the oven actually helps keep the exterior perfectly crispy.

Finally, if your chicken still isn't staying crispy long enough, look at the recipe for some simple tricks to make the breading more resilient. Ones of the easiest ways to get crispier chicken is through one addition: cornstarch. It helps prevent gluten formation and absorbs moisture, giving you a better starting point before your chicken ever needs to be kept warm. There are lots of factors that go into crispy fried chicken, but none of them will matter if you don't get the basics right first.

Read the original article on Tasting Table