Fried Chicken a la Max’s Restaurant

Fried Chicken a la Max’s Restaurant you can make at home! This iconic Filipino chicken copycat is juicy, crispy, and delicious to the bone.

Max’s Restaurant was founded in 1945 and has since spanned the globe with more than 200 branches worldwide. As their tagline-The House that Fried Chicken Built-states, the company’s fame, and fortune grew on the strength of one signature dish, their fried chicken.

The delectable bird quickly became an icon in Filipino culture. And understandably so, it’s crispy, juicy, and tasty!Although the establishment has grown to include multiple locations in the U.S., there are none here in Texas. Sitting down to a beautiful dinner of crispy, delicious chicken pieces dipped in copious amounts of banana catsup (or atchara!) in the restaurant is not as feasible as I’d like.

Thankfully, I’ve learned to replicate the delicious experience at home!

I am not claiming this to be the exact recipe for Max’s Restaurant fried chicken, but it comes pretty close! With skin so crunchy and golden, and meat so juicy and flavorful, it’s seriously sarap to the bones.

Cooking procedure

  1. The chicken is first brined overnight in a sugar and salt solution to infuse flavor and lock in moisture.
  2. It is then steamed for about 30 to 40 minutes to cook the meat gently.
  3. Finally, the bird is finished in a twice-deep frying process, with rest periods in between, to crisp the skin.

    Brining technique

    • For food safety, allow the brine to cool completely before use. Brine the chicken in the refrigerator.
    • Do not keep the chicken in the solution for more than 24 hours lest it becomes overly salty if it sits in the brine for too long.
    • Use Kosher salt, and not regular table salt.
    • I added onion, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns, but feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices such as sage, thyme, rosemary, and chili peppers.

    Reminder

    Discard the brine solution after use. I wouldn’t recommend using it more than once as it will contain blood, impurities, and bacteria from the chicken that was soaked in it.

    Deep-frying tips

    • Use oil with high-smoke points such as peanut, corn, canola, or safflower. Use enough oil to ensure the chicken is at least 3/4 submerged.
    • Deep-fry at optimal 350 F to 375 F range.  Use a thermometer to gauge temperature properly.
    • The recipe involves a two-fry method. For best results, reheat the oil to 350 F before adding the chicken the second time.
    • The chicken is fully cooked and is fried in oil only to crisp the skin. It should take about 5 to 7 minutes for each round or just until the skin is golden and crispy.
    • Let the chicken rest before chopping to allow the juices to redistribute.Let me forewarn you that the fried chicken we have here is not one you can whip up on a whim. The steps, albeit simple, are time-consuming.

      Since it’s a lot of effort for one lone bird, I suggest brining and steaming a couple or more whole chickens at once and storing them in the freezer in ziplock bags. This way, your favorite dish is just a matter of thawing and frying.

      Serving suggestion

      • Serve with steamed rice, kamote fries, and banana ketchup for a full-on Max restaurant meal at home!
      • As with most fried foods, the chicken is best enjoyed freshly cooked. If you have leftovers, store in the refrigerator in a container for up to 3 days.
      • Chop leftovers and turn them into a spicy and creamy chicken sisig!

Leave a Reply