Cracklin' Chicken

Cracklin chicken

I served this with baked sweet potatoes and sautéed green beans.

From the author of nom nom paleo: Some key tips for this recipe:

Buy bone-in, skin-on thighs—they’re inexpensive. Plus, the bones are easy to remove, and the crispy skin is what makes this dish. I vastly prefer thighs over breasts for this recipe—to me, breasts tend to dry out and end up more bland.
Use a pair of sharp kitchen shears to remove the bones. (Reserve the bones in the freezer for your next batch of bone broth!)
Dry the chicken thighs well, and season both sides of the thigh with salt, but ONLY the meat side gets additional seasoning and/or pepper. If you put other seasonings on the skin, it’ll run the risk of burning. Then, everyone will be sad. Tears are not tasty.
Ready for my fool-proof method for a crowd-pleasing, kid-approved chicken dinner?

Cracklin’ Chicken

Serves 4

Gather these ingredients:

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (approximately 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (remember, not all salts are the same!)
2 teaspoons ghee
2 teaspoons seasoning blend of choice (optional)

Here’s what you do:

Grab some chicken thighs and a sharp pair of kitchen shears.

Blot the chicken dry with a paper towel.

Starting at one end, carefully cut out the bone, making sure you don’t cut through the meat. Stay as close to the bone as possible.

When you get to the other end, trim around the joint and cartilage and remove the bone.

Keep a container handy to save the bones for bone broth.

If extra skin or fat is flapping around and hanging off the thighs, you can trim it off as well. But don’t cut too much away, because the skin will shrink when you fry it.

Believe me: You don’t want to skimp out on the cracklins’.

Flatten the chicken with a meat pounder (or cut a gash in the thickest part of each thigh piece with your scissors) to ensure uniform cooking.

Turn the chicken skin-side-up, and sprinkle salt on the skin from way up high, like it’s snowing. That way, the skin will be seasoned evenly. (Don’t believe me? Listen to Thomas Keller then. Did you know that he allegedly flirted with Paleo while on his Bouchon Bakery book tour? And did you know that I started that rumor?)

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Melt the ghee in the pan and place four chicken thighs skin-side down in the hot pan.

Season the meat side with your favorite seasoning blend (I’m a fan of using my own special Magic Mushroom Powder, a recipe available in our cookbook and iPad app.) If your seasoning blend of choice doesn’t include salt, you may want to add a bit more kosher salt to the chicken.

Let the skin fry undisturbed until crispy and golden brown (around 7-10 minutes), rotating the pan 90 degrees at the halfway point to make sure the heat from the burner is uniformly distributed.

Pro tip: You may want to cover the pan with a splatter guard to keep your stove (relatively) clean.

Flip the chicken and cook for 3 more minutes or until cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a wire rack and rest ’em for 5 minutes.

Repeat the steps above with the four remaining thighs.
When you’re ready to eat, slice them up and dig in!


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