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Culinary Class: Spero’s Fried Chicken

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Tuesday Night Special

Six Steps to Perfect Fried Chicken

Written by Lia Grabowski | Photos by Jonathan Boncek

When Charleston, South Carolina’s beloved Spero shuttered this summer, locals were left without their Tuesday night fried chicken fix. Chef-owners RJ Moody and Rob Laudicina’s weekly special, as well as their fried chicken sandwich, developed a cult following (Moody’s appearance on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay didn’t hurt his cred either). While the duo takes a break from the restaurant business, you can still enjoy their crispy fried chicken any night of the week with this recipe. Moody has butchering a chicken down to a science: Keeping the breasts whole means a very long cook time. Instead, cut them crosswise “hamburger-style” (think back to your elementary school paper-folding days) for quick-frying pieces. The most important part of the recipe, Moody stresses, is the resting time between rounds of dredging the chicken. If you don’t wait for the flour mixture to absorb the brine, the coating will fall off when you start frying. (It’s ready when the chicken looks like it’s been dipped in a batter and there is no dry flour visible.) A sheet pan will do if you don’t have a rack, just make sure to flip the pieces halfway through to keep the bottoms from getting soggy. Moody prefers peanut oil for frying, but says any oil except olive will work. Once the chicken is done, place it on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil and toss with salt immediately. (Don’t use salt in the dredge, as it lowers the smoke point of the oil so you can’t reuse it as many times.) To recycle the oil, cool it to room temperature and run it through a coffee filter—as long as there aren’t any particulates to burn and create an acrid flavor, the oil can be used several more times. And you’ll want to make this again.