Popular in the southern United States but with a following all across the country, fried chicken served with waffles is an addictive, comforting classic. In this version, hefeweizen, a golden-hued wheat beer, adds flavor and lift to the waffles and to the fried chicken’s crisp, golden crust. If you can’t find it, try using a golden lager.
11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
4 tsp. granulated sugar, plus a pinch
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 12-oz. bottle chilled wheat beer, such as hefeweizen
5 Tbs. vegetable oil; more for frying
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
1-1/4 lb. (about 12) chicken tenders
Pure maple syrup, for serving
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Heat a waffle maker.
To make the waffle batter, combine 1 cup of the flour, 4 tsp. of the sugar, 3/4 tsp. of the baking powder, the baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the beer with the vegetable oil, buttermilk, and egg. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Set aside.
To make the chicken batter, combine 1 cup of the flour, the remaining 3/4 tsp. baking powder, the garlic powder, cayenne, the pinch of sugar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a shallow baking dish. Stir in the remaining 1 cup beer until just combined. If the batter seems thick, thin with up to 2 Tbs. water. Cover and set aside.
Cook the waffle batter in batches according to the manufacturer’s directions until golden and crisp. Set aside while cooking the chicken.
Season the chicken with salt and dredge in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Pour enough oil into a 12-inch nonstick skillet to reach a depth of 1/4 inch, and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Coat the chicken in the batter and fry, flipping once with tongs, until the crust is golden and puffed and the chicken is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Quickly blot the chicken on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
Meanwhile, arrange the waffles directly on the oven rack to re-crisp, about 2 minutes.
Divide the waffles among 4 plates, top with the chicken, and serve with the maple syrup.