Well, I'll eat crow now, because holy amazing... it is just that. And without the grains to bog it down, I don't get a belly ache after eating 500 pieces.
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup dill pickle juice
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp buttermilk or cream (coconut milk okay)
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 tbsp paprika (smoked paprika kicks it up a notch)
2 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 dash ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup coconut oil for frying
- Combine the chicken pieces and pickle juice in a resealable plastic bag or large enough pyrex container that the all the pieces can marinate. If needed stir often to ensure every piece soaks up some yummy juice. Marinate for at least 1 hour to get that key taste but you can marinate over night.
- When the chicken has finished marinating, strain it through a colander to drain out the extra pickle juice. Put the chicken back into the bag and cover with buttermilk and beaten eggs and allow to sit a few minutes. Alternately you can just put it all into a bowl and draw out the chicken when you coat it.
- As the chicken marinates again, prepare your breading by combining the starch, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Usually I combine this mixture in a sheet pan so I can dredge the pieces quickly and pile up on the side.
- Preheat your oven to 250F for keeping the pieces warm you finish.
- Melt coconut oil in a cast iron skillet (or high pot to prevent splatters) over medium heat for 3 minutes. Resist the temptation to add more oil then called for. The oil should reach halfway up the chicken pieces while cooking but not cover the pieces. You can add more oil if needed while cooking. Be sure to watch the heat, as the skillet will get warmer over time; adjust heat as needed. You’re looking for an oil temperature around 350F.
- With your fingers, dredge chicken, then carefully add it to the oil. Repeat until you have filled your skillet; be careful not to overcrowd. Resist temptation to move the chicken before 2-3 minutes has passed. This will ensure a beautiful crispy coating! Turn and allow to cook another 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken) or until done.
- Place the cooked pieces on a plate lined with paper towels and put them in the oven to stay warm.