Lockdown Fakeaways: K.F.C. (Kezza’s Fried Chicken)

“We certainly enjoy the odd trip to a fast-food joint, but for us living 45 minutes from the nearest Golden Arches or Dirty-Bird outlet – and combined with Covid lockdown restrictions – 2021 was pretty much a write-off for that fast food fix,” writes Kerren Packer. He shares how he went about making the perfect K.F.C. (Kezza’s Fried Chicken) Fake-Away.

Delicious crispy fried chicken with coleslaw and corn on the cob.

When I started working out how to recreate Colonel Sander’s fried chicken, I wanted to eliminate the stuff I don’t like about the Dirty-Bird experience – namely, the grease residue factor, the lack of ‘crunch’ on the bite, and the dry chicken. The “Hot n Spicy” range also always seems a bit lame for the title bestowed upon it. So, after some experimentation, some failures and plenty of learnings, I believe I have the method down – let’s get stuck in!

Difficulty Level: Medium
Preparation: 15mins
Cooking Time: 4hours
Serves: 10

Tools
• Deep fryer/cast iron pan/wok/skillet
• Instant read meat thermometer
• Meat resting rack or cake rack
• Tongs or slotted spoon

Ingredients
• 1kg of either chicken breast, boned-out thighs, drumsticks or wings/nibbles.
• Enough canola or rice bran oil to shallow or deep fry
Wash
• 2 x eggs
• ½ cup of standard milk
• Add hot sauces to preference (Hot’ n’ Spicy only!)
Dredge/Coating/Breading
• 1 cup plain flour
• 1 Tbsp cornflour
• 1 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp ground paprika
• 1 tsp garam masala
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp oregano
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp garlic salt
• 1 tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp standard salt
• 1 tsp basil
• 1 tsp thyme
• 4 tsp cayenne pepper (Hot ‘n’ Spicy only!)

Method
1) Pat chicken dry with paper towels. If using breast meat, remove the skin if present and cut into desired tender sized portions or burger sized flats.
2) In a bowl, whisk the wash ingredients (as above) together until well mixed. Add chicken and set aside.
3) Begin heating your oil to a frying temperature of 165°C. Note: I will sometimes lower this to 155°C if cooking larger portions –this avoids making the coating turn
too dark and also helps obtain food safe internal temps for the chicken, which is at least 75°C. I personally take my internal temps to 85°C – the chicken will still be moist, tender, and with an even white colouring throughout. This is where a quality instant read thermometer is an absolute game changer – perfect chicken every time!
4) In a second bowl, mix together the dry dredge ingredients (as above).
5) By hand, evenly coat chicken pieces from wash to dredge and space out on the meat cooling rack or cake rack. Set aside and leave covered with a paper towel for at least 10 minutes.
6) Repeat step five and leave for another five minutes.
7) Ensuring your oil is holding at 165°C, gently lower the coated chicken. Do not overcrowd your cooking receptacle.
8) Cooking times vary depending on portion size, but around the three-minute-mark, gently lift the chicken pieces out of the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon (if using a deep fryer then lift the fryer basket). The coating should well and truly be “set” by now. Using your instant read meat thermometer, spot check the internal temperature of the chicken so you know where you are at. Remember the goal temperature is a minimum of 75°C (85°C is better in my opinion). If required, lower the chicken back into the oil and continue to cook and spot check every minute or so.
9) Once the chicken is at the desired internal temperature, place it back onto the cleaned meat cooling rack to allow any oil residue to drain off into an oven tray – if the cooking oil was at the right temperature, there shouldn’t be much, if any, to drain off. If frying lots of chicken, I like to preheat the oven to around 80°C and place the chicken in there to hold it at a nice temp and keep the coating crunchy on the bite.
And that is it – Kezza’s Fried Chicken Fake-Away! To be honest, I’m not even sure what the Colonel’s Secret Herbs and Spices are but let me assure you that the ingredients list above works and is a real crowd pleaser!
Serve the chicken with shoestring fries, spuds ‘n’ gravy, a sweet coleslaw, and some fresh milk buns. Or smash out your own take on a fried chicken works burger. It also goes great in tacos, on subs, sliced into a fresh salad or, with a few tweaks and a bit of experimenting, it can be deployed in Asian dishes like karaage and Korean chicken.
Our Fake-Away journey didn’t stop at fried chicken… We, in fact, recently turned out 35 Big Mac clones for a birthday dinner – now that was fun, but we will save that recipe for another time.

Tips:

1) Use clean oil – when you can’t see the bottom of your fryer, it should have been changed one fry ago.
2) Double dredge for extra crunch.
3) Avoid soggy, oily chicken coating by heating and maintaining your oil at 165°C.
4) Overcrowding the pan is a sin and should be avoided at all costs. This will quickly reduce the oil temperature and make the coating a soggy, oily mess.
5) Use an instant read meat thermometer to keep your food safe to eat and at the perfect ‘doneness’.