There's literally no end to the ways that you can achieve crispy chicken skin. Some swear by a dry brine being all it takes, others like to add a little baking powder to their seasoning mix, and some say to just make sure the chicken goes into a super hot oven. If those are too tame for you, we were delighted to find the slightly over-the-top method of browning a chicken with a heat gun.
The crispy skin here is a product of pre-rendering thanks to the direct heat from the gun. Just as a fatty piece of bacon might stay a bit soggier than a thin, less marbled piece unless you crisp up the extra fat, unrendered chicken skin won't have that satisfying snap when you bite into it. Rendering refers to the cooking down of fat, of which chicken skin has plenty, and the heat gun helps to give the rendering process a jump start before you even start cooking the chicken. It is, however, essential you use the heat gun at a low setting without hitting the skin with too much heat at once, lest you burn it. The lower heat allows the fat to slowly melt down all while you give the skin a browned coat.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Heat Gun Chicken
While heat guns aren't super common in culinary applications (yet), they work a lot like a torch you might use on a crème brûlée and we all know how fancy that makes us feel. Unlike a torch, however, heat guns use hot air instead of a direct, exposed flame -- this allows the heat gun to cover a larger area, disperse heat more evenly, and require less precision on your part. It's basically a super high-powered hair dryer. To try this method, hold the heat gun to a section of the chicken skin until it caramelizes and blisters. Then, once you're comfortable with how it works, give your chicken a once-over before you put it in the oven for that perfect crispy skin.
Wondering if you can hit your chicken with a heat gun after it comes out of the oven? Absolutely! If you prefer to cook your chicken first to avoid the risk of over-browning the skin, just get the chicken to its optimal internal temperature and then use the heat gun method once you've taken it out of the oven. You can also use this method to add some color and bite to sous vide chicken after it's been cooked. This unconventional method is a wonderful way to get sumptuous, crackling chicken skin, or even to give your Thanksgiving turkey the perfect finish.
Read the original article on Mashed.