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Save that pickle juice to make this air fryer pickle chicken!
Air Fryer Pickle Chicken
At first this sounded crazy to me. However, I got to thinking how the composition of pickle juice would make a great marinade. And besides, it comes from Meredith Laurence who is also known as The Blue Jean Chef. I like her recipes so I decided to give this a whirl. I wasn’t disappointed–far from it in fact.
There are some slight deviations from her original recipe, but nothing very major. Since I rarely make my own pickles anymore, I opted for using commercially packed dill pickles–the ones that are shelf stable, not the refrigerated variety. Meredith gives a brine you can make yourself on her site which you may want to use because it’s clear.
A Word About Marinating
A rule of thumb is that marinating for longer produces a better flavor. That’s true here as it is with other meats.
I marinated this for about 10 hours, which is a bit more than “overnight.” And the flavor of the pickle juice really flavored the meat, so I suggest you let it sit for at least 8 hours.
One thing that I noticed was that the chicken had taken on a chartreuse color like the pickle juice. It actually looked radioactive–but don’t let that put you off. The chicken gets a breading so you won’t see it, but if you think that may be an issue (it would have been with my late husband), then I suggest you use Meredith’s formula for your own pickle juice since it’s clear.
The chicken is air fried in batches, which makes sense if you have a basket-style fryer, but it’s final cooking is done with the chicken stacked. Again, I thought this was weird, but as I said before, I trust her recipes and it came out perfectly. Of course this won’t be an issue if you have an oven-style fryer where you can use two racks.
Air Fryer Pickle Chicken
- 3.5 lb chicken legs bone-in and skin-on cut into drumsticks and thighs, 4 whole legs
- pickle juice from a 24-ounce jar of kosher dill pickles
- 1/2 cup flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbs oil
- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground paprika
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- vegetable or canola oil in a spray bottle
- Place chicken in a large zipper freezer bag and pour in the pickle juice. Seal bag and refrigerate overnight.
- Let the chicken come to room temperature before you are ready to cook.
- Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Whisk the eggs and the 2 tablespoons of oil and place in another shallow dish.
- Preheat air fryer to 370F/185C.
- Remove the chicken form the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Dredge the chicken in the flour then dip it into the egg mixture and then press it into the breadcrumb mixture coating all sides. Place the breaded chicken on a baking sheet and spritz with oil liberally.
- Air fry the chicken (in shifts) 10 minutes on one side then turn and air fry for an additional 10 minutes. Repeat with the other batch of chicken.
- When the second batch is done, place the first batch on top of it and air fry at 340F/170C for an additional 7 minutes or until internal temp is 165F/80C and juices run clean