a little bit of chicken fried...

ok so it's not really fried, which is what i LOVE about this recipe. on our most recent trip to las vegas j and i ate at yardbird. we missed the restaurant's opening on our last trip, but were able to swing in this time around, and it was completely worth the wait! they brine their chicken for 27ish hours and then fry it in lard and it's the best fried chicken we've ever tried...bar none.

until now i've never attempted a homemade version as boiling hot oil (or lard) scares me, and honestly it's a bit of a heart attack in a bowl, but this baked version gets the same flavorful taste (dare i say dangerously close to it's copycat!) without the rest of that junk. i also love the use of chicken thighs instead of breasts- and the brining is a must!! (don't worry- it doesn't take 27 hours, 2 is good, 5 works beautifully and overnight is best.)

 

| ingredients |

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
cooking spray (preferably olive oil)

brine:
4 cups warm (not hot!) water
3 tablespoons salt
(you can also add a little hot sauce if you have it!)

breading:

1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

dredge:

3 whole eggs
1 ½ cups skim milk

| method |

if needed, trim your chicken thighs of any superfluous fat.

in a large bowl, combine all of the brine ingredients and stir until the salt has dissolved. you want the water warm enough to dissolve the salt, but not so hot that it cooks the chicken breasts. place the chicken thighs in the brine, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

when ready to cook, preheat your oven to 400 F degrees, remove the chicken thighs from the brine, rinse, and pat them dry with a paper towel.

combine the breading ingredients in a large bowl and mix so everything is evenly distributed. in another bowl, beat the eggs and add in the milk to create your dredge. whisk to combine.

grease a large, rimmed baking sheet well, or cover with parchment paper.

this is where it gets messy- take each chicken thigh and submerge in the egg and milk mixture.

take the dipped thighs and drop them into your breading bowl, using your hands to press them into the breading, and covering each thigh completely with breaded goodness. (don't forget all the little crevices!) once each thigh is sufficiently covered, remove onto the rimmed baking sheet. i "bread" my thighs one at a time to ensure each one is fully coated.

once all of the thighs are on your baking sheet, spray the chicken generously with the cooking spray. this is a must as the cooking spray is what helps the breading "fry" in the oven.  coat generously until there are no dry-looking patches of breading left.

bake the chicken for 40 minutes, or until the breading has reached the desired golden-crispiness. 

-l
made to border