Fried Chicken is great. There is something comforting about this delicious, high cholesterol inducing dish.
It takes me back to a simpler time when you weren’t vilified for wearing cargo shorts (those 9 pockets come in handy!), MTV had actual music content instead of __ age/adolescent pregnancy show, or Adam Sandler movies were good. Here’s my take on this classic, Southern Staple.
This is actually a two-day production. Make sure you have a slightly believable excuse in case you need to leave work at a reasonable hour the next day like (1) I’m having someone appraise my sculpted pottery, or (2) the storage closet containing all my 86′ memorabilia is on fire.
For this you will need (please excuse my cramped and messy NYC kitchen1 counter-top).
- Chicken (8 piece already cut)
- Canola oil or Peanut oil2
- Spice mix (salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder)
1 Jack Daniels is not a necessary ingredient, but there is a lot of down time so it might be fun to have on hand. Also might come in handy when you inevitably burn your hand. This is fun!
2 It doesn’t matter which one you use in my opinion. I have one friend who says consuming canola oil is terrible for you and will slowly kill you, but I also have another friend who is allergic to peanuts
and will die on contact with anything nut. I chose canola oil because
I care about said friend and it was on sale for 40% off.
3 I had no idea how
diversified expensive the flour market has gotten (damn this gluten-free movement). I asked a store attendee what flour is good for frying, and I’m pretty sure the guy upsold me on this $6.99 bag of “unbleached” baking flour. Asshole.
This is my roommate Connor who seems to have really enjoyed the chicken. Sample size of 1 says this recipe is awesome.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and pour in a heavy fistful of salt. Once the salt is dissolved, pour the saltwater into a large mixing bowl full of ice. Place the chicken in the bowl and brine1 for 1-2 hours.
1 Apparently this is important because it keeps the chicken moist as it fries. I’ve honestly never tested this and it is something I blindly follow in life like (1) saying “bless you” when someone sneezes (what if I hate the person and want to wish them zero blessings?) or (2) tipping. This is really a roundabout way of saying “always salt the water”. This dumb, shitty mistake will ruin you on Chopped!
Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. In the same large mixing bowl pour 2 cups of buttermilk and mix in the Tabasco, spice mix, and chopped garlic. Don’t do a taste test…just trust the proportions are right. Place the chicken in the spicy buttermilk brine with a plastic cover (important unless you want your fridge to smell of spicy dairy) and leave overnight.
Take the chicken out of the fridge. Take 5 minutes to marvel at its glory. After staring at it like a psycho, grab another large bowl and pour in some of that bougie $7 bag of flour along with some of that spice mix (if you didn’t already notice,
I’m not good at I don’t care about proportions…kinda eyeball or whatever ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
You can also pour the coating mix into a large, brown paper bag and shake the chicken in the bag. I’m not a fan of this method because those bags only come per 100 pack and I would have no other use for those things1. It’s way too big for brown bagging a Bud heavy and way too little and fragile to transport big items. I also think the bags are really wasteful. I want to preface though I don’t actually really care about saving the environment (I usually don’t recycle2), but I do have some eco-friendly stances I’m willing to take (probably since the bags are not a direct vessel for alcohol, I think it’s wasteful and unnecessary). See? I have some principals.
Apply 1 layer of coating and let the chicken sit so the spicy buttermilk can soak up the coating. After a couple of minutes, apply a second layer of coating. I recommend doing this if you want the skin to be on a maximum level of crispy, maximum level of temporary spike in blood pressure. A more practical reason is if you let the chicken sit too long, the coating will get a bit soggy.
1 Suggestions are welcome.
2 I’m going to get a lot of crap for that comment aren’t I?
Pour oil about 2⁄3 deep into a wide cast iron skillet and heat the oil to 350°-375°. Do not let it climb higher unless you want some tasty burnt skin, salmonella chicken. CAREFULLY lower each piece into the hot-will-cause-burns oil and lay each piece away from you. You
might will get some small bits of oil splashes on you hand when an inevitable speck of coating prematurely falls1. Besides…the more painful your dish is to prepare, the more delicious it will be2.
1 Accept this as the price to pay for delicious homemade fried chicken. For the love of god, do not get jumpy and drop the chicken. You’ll end up with the hot-will-cause-burns oil splashing everywhere. EMBRACE THE PAIN!
2 Not true, actual results may vary
Fry the big chicken pieces for 10-12 minutes and smaller chicken pieces for 6-8 minutes (or until the internal temperature rises to 165°).
Let it rest and serve, or alternatively bite into it right away and endure the pain of impatience as you burn the roof of your mouth. I usually choose the latter.