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Cold Oil Fried Chicken with Sweet Sour Hot Sauce

Serves 2-4.

Time requirement. 40 minutes. Plus, an extra 30 minutes (if you have them) for the chicken to warm up coming from the refrigerator. The recipe for the Sweet-Sour Hot Sauce follows.

What you will need:

4 bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs. Chicken thighs these days are big: upwards to 8-9 ounces. That’s the size of thighs I used to test this recipe.

½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

2 quarts of pure or refined olive oil. DO NOT USE extra virgin or virgin olive oil; these oils will burn.

A 5-6-quart saucepan, preferably nonstick for easy clean up.


Sprinkle the salt and pepper on the nonskin side of the chicken thighs, and if time allows, let them rest on the counter for 30 minutes.

Pour some olive in a 3-4-quart saucepan. Place the chicken thighs (skin side up) in the saucepan. Pour the remaining olive oil over the chicken. Turn the heat under the pan to high. After a few minutes on the heat, use a wooden spoon to give the chicken a little nudge to assure the thighs are not sticking to the bottom of the pan. While they are cooking feel free to give them the occasional stir, but by and large, all you need to do is wait between 25-35 minutes: when done the chicken will float near the top of the oil and have a lovey brown crisp skin. NOTE: the timing will depend upon the size of your pan, the size of the chicken thighs, the power of the heat source, your pan, etc.. Take the 25-35 minutes as a guide.

When they are done, remove the chicken to drain on a rack for 5 minutes then serve.

If you are curious, take the temperature of the oil while the chicken cooks. The oil will be about 350 degrees F when the chicken is done.

Why this works and why I like it. If you fry chicken the conventional way, that is drop it into hot oil, the moisture on the chicken immediately vaporizes. That sends microscopic droplets of oil into the air and makes your house smell of fried food. Starting with cold oil avoids this issue.

A note on the olive oil: Do not use virgin or extra virgin oil. The process that makes these oils so tasty leaves impurities in the oil that could burn at high temperatures. Pure or refined olive oil are free of these impurities.

Save the oil. Strain the oil into a clean container and store it in the refrigerator and use it to sauté chicken. Because it is heavier, the chicken fat will float to the bottom of the container and the olive oil will float to the top of the container.

Sweet Sour Hot Sauce for Cold Oil Fried Chicken.

The cold oil method of cooking fired chicken works because it is just chicken in the cold oil. Other than salt and pepper there is no seasoning. That’s why there is this sauce to accompany the chicken.

What you will need:

4 tablespoons good quality apple cider vinegar.

2 tablespoons of good local honey.

1 tablespoon of hot sauce. (Use a hot sauce that does not include sugar or other sweeteners in its ingredients.)


Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes to dissolve the honey into the other ingredients. Pour it into a bowl and serve.

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