27, May 2010
Fried Chicken with BBQ Sauce


This recipe was inspired by the Momofuku fried chicken recipe. David Chang uses a three-step process: brine, steam, fry. The brine (as usual) makes sure the chicken stays juicy; the steam actually cooks the chicken, so the fry can be only as long as necessary to crisp the skin. It worked perfectly and was pretty easy, though it takes time to do all the steps. It doesn’t actually have to be three days — you could do the whole thing over the course of 4-6 hours — but I did the brine overnight (my brine is not as strong as Chang’s), then steamed the chicken the next night and put it back in the fridge, then actually fried it on the third night. I decided to use chicken thighs, since they tend to be juicier than breasts and have a good ratio of meat to bone to skin.

Along with the chicken, I experimented with some sides and garnishes that were less successful. I thought it would be tasty and picturesque to fry whole stalks of thai ginger. They looked pretty good, but didn’t taste so great, acquiring a slightly bitter flavor during the frying. I also fried garlic slices and scallion pieces to accompany the chicken. The garlic was still too garlicky, but the scallions were not bad. I also put a little chili paste in the brine but it didn’t seem to have any effect. Finally, I made a BBQ sauce for dipping, which came out pretty good and went well with the chicken.


4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
Peanut or other good frying oil
4 c warm water
1/4 c kosher salt
1/4 c sugar
BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp mae ploy (sweet chili sauce)
1 tsp sambal olek (or other hot chili sauce)
a few drops liquid smoke


Mix the brine ingredients in a sealable container until the salt and sugar dissolve in the water. Add the chicken and refrigerate overnight. For a shorter brine, double the salt and sugar and brine for 1-6 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine. Steam the chicken in a steamer for 45 minutes over medium heat. Remove and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator half an hour before frying. Add enough peanut oil to a pan to submerge the chicken pieces and heat it to 375. I use a medium saucepan on medium to medium-high and give it 10 minutes to heat up, then fry the chicken one piece at a time. Add the chicken to the oil skin side down and fry for 2 minutes. Flip the chicken and fry until golden brown, about 2 more minutes. Remove from the oil to a paper-towel-covered plate and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Mix the sauce ingredients and serve the chicken with the sauce in a bowl for dipping.