This post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a little off the top to help me keep this website running. It doesn’t cost you extra or affect my opinion.
Fried chicken, but make it jerk! The title says it all, I think, so we’ll just dive right into the important stuff.
This recipe calls for a 2-step marinating process that takes 24 hours. I know that sounds painful when you just want some fried chicken, but I promise that it’s worth it. If you absolutely can’t handle it, combine the 2 steps into 1 and do it 8 hours prior to frying. Just promise me after you do that and love it you’ll come back and try the recipe as written.
Tips for frying:
You want your oil to be around 365ºF when you add the chicken. If you don’t have or want to use an oil thermometer there are a few ways to test the oil: you can stick a wooden spoon in, a small piece of bread or a bit of flour from your flour dredge. When they hit the oil steady bubbles mean it’s ready; no or slow bubbles mean it’s too cold; rapid, violent bubbles mean it’s too hot.
When you’re frying, make sure to not add too many pieces of chicken at once. You want them to have room to dance around without sticking together, and you don’t want to bring the oil temperature down too much.
You also want to allow the oil to come back up to this temperature between batches, this ensures the batches cook evenly.
Chicken is safe to consume when it’s at an internal temp of 165ºF and it’s OK to pull the wings a few degrees less than that because residual heat as it rests will bring it up to where it needs to be. The chicken should be golden brown and floating freely on top of the oil, but this isn’t a foolproof way to measure doneness so be careful with that. If you don’t have an internal thermometer and you’re not sure if it’s done you can test by cutting into a piece – the juices should run clear.
24 hours before you want to fry these wings up place them in a bowl and add the jerk marinade, thyme sprigs, salt, + 1 tsp of garlic powder. Stir until the chicken is thoroughly coated. Cover tightly and place in the fridge.
8 hours before you’re ready to cook them open up the bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Stir to coat. Pop the lid back on and back into the fridge it goes.
30 minutes before you’re ready to fry remove the bowl from the oven. Let it rest on the counter while you prepare the flour dredge by combining all of the remaining ingredients – except for the oil of course – in a large bowl, bag, or whatever you like to use.
Use a fork to drizzle some of the liquid from the chicken into the flour. Stir the liquid into the flour until it is just slightly clumpy. Remove the wings from the marinade, letting the excess drip off before tossing them in the flour. Press the flour into the chicken on all sides, then shake it off gently and place on a plate. Continue until all the chicken is coated.
Let the chicken rest while you preheat your oil to around 360ºF and turn your oven on to 250ºF. Prepare a draining station by placing a wire rack over a baking sheet.
Gently add the chicken to the oil. As noted above the recipe, bubbles should form around the chicken immediately. If the chicken kind of sinks to the bottom of the pot and only a few bubbles form around it, the oil isn’t hot enough. If the oil immediately starts yelling at you, the bubbles are super rapid, and the chicken takes on color in less than a minute it’s too hot.
Fry the wings for 8-12 minutes, depending on how large they are.
Remove your chicken from the oil and transfer to the wire rack. Try to keep them separated so the oil has less places to gather. If you’re working in batches, which you most likely are, place the baking tray in the preheated oven while you fry the next pot of wings. Keep the already fried ones in the oven until all batches are done.