I have always loved fried chicken but when it came to making it at home it seemed like too big a hassle, too messy, too hard, always undercooked or underseasoned or burnt to a crisp to cook it through. Since I’m not a fan of following rules or recipes I would just bumble my way through and nearly always end up with a plate of disappointing chicken and a kitchen that looked (and smelled) like a war zone. But as usual my craving for fried chicken was outweighing my loosey goosey cooking style. So I tried following some recipes and picked the things I liked from some and added some of my own ways and I think I’ve come up with a relatively easy, don’t ruin your kitchen, take 2 days brining and end up with a plate of dark brown raw chicken to serve to your family…. not that I’ve ever done that.
I find that cooking up one whole chicken for my family of four is enough for dinner but everyone wants leftovers for lunches and after school snacking. So last time I did a chicken and a cornish game hen, let’s just say everything was gone in 24 hours. This recipe will be enough for 2 chickens.
- 1-2 whole chickens, cut into legs, thighs, wings and 2 boneless breasts cut into 4 pieces (sometimes I pull the tenders off before cutting) and save your carcass in the freezer for broth later. If you don’t feel comfortable butchering a whole chicken buy one cut at the market and then cut the breast portions in half.
- 4 cups buttermilk
- enough oil for frying preferably peanut oil (at least 1 quart, usually more depending on the size of your pan) last time I used a combo of peanut, canola and bacon drippings, because why not?
- flour for dredging (approx. 1 cup)
- salt and pepper
Fried Chicken coating:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tbls. salt
- 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp parsley
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
Take your chicken out of the fridge a couple hours before starting, it won’t kill you…. but starting with warmer chicken means less chance of ending with raw chicken. Cut your bird if you got whole chickens and lay the pieces out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towel. Pat the tops of the chicken dry. Salt and pepper the pieces.Get out your heaviest bottomed pot, I use an All Clad soup pot. Pour in enough oil to give you 3″- 4″ at the bottom and turn heat to medium high.
While waiting for your oil to come to temp sprinkle a cup of flour over your chicken pieces.
Get out two large bowls. Fill one with the buttermilk and one with the fried chicken coating ingredients and stir them to combine.
Get out another cookie sheet or platters and working in batches of 3-4 pieces roll your chicken through the flour you’ve sprinkled over them (this saves you another bowl cleaning if you keep it on the cookie sheet) then into the buttermilk and then smash the pieces one at a time through the coating mix, really work in on the pieces because the more coating you get on there the crunchier it will be, rap pieces on the side of the bowl to get off excess flour and place chicken pieces on clean cookie sheet.
When your oil is up to temp place enough chicken in the bottom to fill the pot but not crowd it… and here’s the part that I think is really weird but has so far kept me from serving raw chicken… you cover the pot. You might think, like me… cover the pot on hot oil, what if all that moisture off the pot lid falls in the oil and splashes and explodes oil all over my kitchen? Well it doesn’t for some odd reason but what it does do is keep your oil around the 350 degree mark which is what you want. Set your timer for 6 minutes, uncover carefully lifting the lid up and away from the pot. Turn your chicken with tongs and cook for another 6 minutes uncovered.
Remove your chicken and drain on paper then place on a rack while you fry up the next batch. 2 chickens take me three batches of frying. I usually make it through the second of the batch of frying before the family starts circling like vultures and I have to slap them away, so I end up serving the chicken while I fry up the last batch for all the leftovers. Some get eaten later that night as people roam into the kitchen, some are snatched for breakfast the next day and some end up being taken for lunch but there is never any left by the 24 hour mark.