Fried Chicken

3:10 pm on 12 July 2013

Ingredients

Buttermilk Marinade

  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Chicken

  • 2 chickens (smaller birds are better for this recipe), cut up into pieces
  • 1200ml cooking oil of your choice
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground celery seed
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Method

Buttermilk Marinade

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk together with the cayenne, Old Bay, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and honey. Put the chicken pieces in the mixing bowl and submerge them in the buttermilk marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put it in the fridge, and let the chicken marinate for at least 12 hours.

Chicken

Pull the chicken out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature, still in the marinade – this will take about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 90 degrees C.

Heat the oil in a deep pot or a deep-fryer over high heat.

The oil should be 15cm; deep, and it should be so hot that it starts popping (about 175 degrees C). A good rule of thumb: if you drop a pinch of flour into the oil and it fries up immediately, you're good to go. While the oil is heating, combine the flour, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Old Bay, cayenne pepper, celery seed, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix things around with your hands so everything is distributed evenly. Pour half of the mixture into a small bowl and set it aside.

Add the flour to the large bowl and mix well. When the oil is hot, pull a piece of chicken out of the marinade. Put it right into the dredging flour bowl and heap flour on top of it; flip it around until the chicken is completely coated. Do the same with each piece until there's no more space in the bowl.

Pick up a piece of chicken, give it a light shake (just enough to get rid of the really loose bits of flour), and use your hands or a pair of tongs to drop it into the fry pot. Do the same with the rest of the chicken pieces. (You will definitely need to fry your chicken in batches, unless you've got some really big bowls and pots.)

Let the chicken fry for about 8 minutes, until it's golden brown. Pull the chicken pieces out of the fryer with tongs and put them on a rack set on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with the seasoning mixture, using the tongs to turn the piece so it's coated on all sides.

Put the baking sheet in the oven. The chicken pieces should rest in the oven for at least 10 minutes, so that the cooking process finishes. Meanwhile, fry up the next batch of chicken.

Hold the fried chicken in the oven until all the pieces are fried and rested and you're ready to serve it up. Then pile the chicken on a big plate, put it in the center of the table with biscuits, collards, and slaw, and let everybody start grabbing pieces. I guarantee it will disappear fast.

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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