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I'm currently working for a fried chicken pop up restaurant and we're trying to lock down our process to ensure chicken is fully cooked but comes out fast, crunchy, and juicy. So far I've just been focusing on making sure it reaches 165 with a golden brown crust, but I'm wondering at what temp roughly boneless breasts, bone in breasts, wings, and dark quarters become too dry; my challenge is to get a well browned crust without drying out the chicken.

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I think you are going to have to experiment with your timing and fryers and how cold your freezer or fridge is (which dictates the starting temperature), but chicken is normally fried at about 350 - 365 F. Timing is as much a factor as the oil temp; the size of the pieces is even more important. Do you cook the wings (which are faster) separately from the breasts, for example? – SAJ14SAJ May 20 '14 at 17:20
Additionally, in a commercial environment, you are going to want to consider oil lifetime, which is reduced at higher temperatures. There is no single answer. – SAJ14SAJ May 20 '14 at 17:25
Wings and boneless we do in a separate fryer @375F. I'm definitely testing the timing. I'm wondering, roughly, at what temperature white meat generally becomes too dry. 170F? 180? 190? I've sent out chicken as high as 200F but I think I was pushing it then. – two_OMind May 20 '14 at 17:42
Ah, you mean the internal temperature. In my personal opinion, about 170 F for white meat, 180 F is doable for dark.... this is also somewhat determined by whether and how the product was brined or injected. – SAJ14SAJ May 20 '14 at 17:53

I wouldn't go any higher than 180F at most. You can mitigate the drying effects of higher temperatures (especially on white meat) by brining the chicken first.

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Thanks for the help, these were the temps we guessed (170 and 180) but I wanted to be sure. We brine our chicken first but I'll keep those limits to allow for margin of error. – two_OMind May 23 '14 at 16:54

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