In good taste…Oven ‘Fried’ chicken with hot sauce

Most recipes that tout the title “oven fried chicken” require that the chicken either be flash fried (fried quickly to crisp up) and then be finished off in the oven. Or, the recipe calls for the pan in which the chicken will be cooked, to be very hot with oil so that when the chicken is added, it starts to sizzle and get brown.

Both of the methods described above work very well but sometimes I just like to make my work a little easier. Relying on science and the raised pH balance that baking soda brings to any mixture to which it is added, it seemed like a no-brainer when it came to adding it to the flour I was going use to coat the chicken. Cornstarch (aka corn flour) is also an excellent ingredient with which to coat items that you want to crisp up when frying, so instead of an all-wheat flour breading, I opted to mix cornstarch with the flour. The final and most important ingredient to this combination was time. Yes, you read that right, time. It was important that the chicken air-dry for an extended period of time so that the coating could adhere in such a way that it becomes a part of the outer layer of the chicken.

Finally, cooking the chicken on a rack inserted into a sheet pan allows the hot air to circulate around the meat cooking it evenly. For my hot sauce, I shied away from the luxurious butter that is used to coat traditional Buffalo wings. Instead, I opted for my favourite brand of Bajan hot sauce and ketchup. The result was a tasty bowl of spicy chicken.

 

Spicy Chicken with Hot Sauce Dressing (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)
Spicy Chicken with Hot Sauce Dressing (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Special equipment

 

1 (13 x18-inch) baking sheet, lined with foil with a wire rack inserted

 

Ingredients

 

For chicken:

 

14 chicken drumsticks rinsed and patted dry

2 teaspoons dried all-purpose seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

 

For coating:

 

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

Vegetable oil

 

For sauce:

 

½ cup of any type of hot sauce (see notes below)

½ cup tomato ketchup

 Directions

For chicken:

Season the chicken with all-purpose seasoning and salt and pepper to taste and marinate for 30 minutes.

For coating:

Mix together all the ingredients EXCEPT the oil.

Coat the drumsticks with the flour mixture; ensure that it gets into all the little nooks and crannies. Arrange the drumsticks on top of the wire rack; try not to let the chicken pieces touch each other. Let air dry for at least 1 hour.

20 minutes before the hour is up, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Drizzle a little oil over the drumsticks and transfer to the oven. Cook for 22 – 25 minutes then remove the pan, flip over the chicken, drizzle with a little more oil and return the chicken to the oven. Cook for another 22 – 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, and the meat is brown.

For sauce:

While the chicken is cooking, add the hot sauce and ketchup to a saucepan and heat gently, stirring to mix the two ingredients. Let heat through thoroughly.

Remove the chicken from the oven, add to a large bowl and pour the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat well. Serve immediately.

NOTES

You can use chicken wings instead of drumsticks.

Do not use a traditional Guyanese pepper sauce as that will be way too hot, use a blended hot sauce which is a sauce made of pepper sauce and other ingredients such as onions, carrots etc. If you cannot find a hot sauce, use a combination of tomato ketchup, barbeque sauce, and a little bit of pepper sauce for heat.

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