Thursday, June 15, 2017

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
If you’re looking for a light crispy golden fried chicken that’s tender and juicy, but not greasy, you found it!

What makes this chicken tender and juicy is the overnight seasoned buttermilk soak -followed by the 2 step cooking process – fry lightly, then bake.

I’m a big fan of this method of frying chicken because it cuts the actual frying time in half as well as the possibility of burning the exterior of the chicken to get the center cooked through. Finishing your chicken in the oven allows the oil to drip off creating a non greasy chicken. The bonus is the extra 30 minutes you get while the chicken is in the oven, to do other things – like cleaning up, completing the rest of your meal or taking a power nap.

Always make more chicken than you think you will need because it will get gobbled up quickly and you’ll want a few leftovers. Nothing beats fresh crispy fried chicken, however cold out of the fridge chicken is delicious too. It's crispy exterior will be absent but the flavor of the chicken improves. If you want a repeat of the crispy chicken - place leftover chicken pieces back on the rack and bake in a 350 degree  oven for about 20 minutes. 

My notes to you…
The quart of buttermilk is plenty enough for 16 pieces of chicken or 2 whole birds, so you don’t need to double the recipe if you are making more than 8 pieces. Be sure to place your marinating bagged chicken in a dish, just in case it leaks.

I only used 3 cups of buttermilk for my 10 drums and 6 thighs that I made and being the frugal cook that I am I baked a batch of  cornbread with the extra cup of buttermilk; maybe next time I will use it to make buttermilk chocolate cake.

For my hot sauce I used Tabasco and Johnny’s season salt but just use your favorite. I also used 3 types of pepper for the flour mix to wake up your taste buds - see my post on black, white and red pepper?

Flouring your chicken twice is optional, just make sure you coat each piece thoroughly.

When I cook with bone in thighs I usually take the time to cut the meat away from the bone so it will cook quicker and more evenly.

How do you know your oil is 350 degrees without a thermometer?
When the oil has preheated dip the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling then the oil is hot enough for frying. If the oil bubbles very vigorously, then the oil is too hot and needs to cool off a touch. If no or very few bubbles pop up then it’s not hot enough.

The best way to dispose of your oil after frying chicken is to…
Stuff newspaper halfway up into a big mouth jar or milk carton and pour COOLED OIL over it. So, before you fry chicken – save a container to dispose of your oil.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

8          pieces                        chicken (drums, thighs, wings, breast)

Brine/marinade
1          quart               buttermilk or 3 cups – see note above
1          Tbsp.              hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
2          tsp.                  seasoned salt (I used Johnny’s)
1          tsp.                  kosher salt

Breading/seasoned flour
2          cups               flour
1          tsp.                  seasoned salt
1          tsp.                  garlic salt
1          tsp.                  onion powder
1          tsp.                  cayenne
1          tsp.                  black pepper
1/2       tsp.                  white pepper

Place chicken pieces in a large zip top bag.

Mix buttermilk brine together and pour over chicken. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours – overnight is best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain chicken and discard buttermilk brine.

Coat each piece well with the flour mixture. Place coated pieces on a wire rack. Then repeat; coating each piece twice (optional). Let chicken pieces sit for 30 minutes, before frying.

In a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed stock pot, pour in about 1 1/2 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees - see note above if you don't have a thermometer.

Fry chicken pieces in batches (don’t over crowd the pan) for about 3 minutes per side or until a light golden brown. Allow oil to get back to 350 degrees before adding next batch. Place fried chicken pieces on a clean wire rack set on a sheet pan. When all the chicken is fried - Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 min.

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