My Famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken

all photography Elizabeth Messina

Serves 8

Be sure to bone the breast and cut it into two pieces, otherwise they will be too large. From one chicken you should get 2 legs 2 thighs and 4 breast-halves. (I save the wings to make buffalo wings)  I always make tons of this because the chicken is delicious cold the next day!  My kids like it leftover almost as much as they like it hot.  (for those that have made the recipe before I've eliminated the black pepper and cayenne pepper.  I decided I liked it better in just the simplest version.)  

1 Whole chicken or pre-cut chicken.

Soaking mixture:
8 cups buttermilk (1/2 gallon)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
¼ cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (or hot sauce of your choice)

Flour dredging mixture:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
8-ounce box Panko or 7-ounce bag (Japanese bread crumbs)
Shortening or oil for frying

1.  Preheat oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with paper grocery bags or paper towels. Put a rack on top of it.

2.  If using whole chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces. Rinse and pat chicken pieces dry. In a very large bowl, combine the soaking mixture ingredients. I always soak the chicken overnight in the refrigerator for a total of 24 hours. But you can also get moist results if you soak it that morning. The shorter the soak time the more salt you will want to add to the buttermilk.  

3.  In a deep sided pot pour in enough oil or shortening (or a combination of the two) to fill the pan about 1-inch. Heat the oil to 350º.

4.  Dredge the chicken in flour mixture as you go. Or dredge it all and set it aside.

5.  Cook chicken in hot oil a few pieces at a time. If you put too many chicken pieces in the oil it reduces the temperature of the oil and the chicken won’t crisp. Fry until golden brown. When done, place chicken pieces on the paper bag-lined or paper towel lined cooked sheet to absorb extra oil.

6.  Boneless breast pieces will cook completely in the oil. But the leg and thigh pieces with bone will need finishing time in the oven.

7.  Place the chicken on sheet trays lined with racks to keep it as crispy as possible. Heat the oven to 375 and cook for 20 minutes. You can also turn the oven down to 225 to 250 to keep the chicken warm until you are ready to serve it (up to 30 minutes.) Additionally you can rewarm leftover chicken the next day in a 375 oven for 20 minutes. I actually love cold fried chicken the next day. Hot or cold this recipe can’t be beat!


Anonymous said…
Well it aint KFC but I bet it tastes alright. Got a coleslaw recipe?  

Anonymous said…
Maili, brining my chicken tonight - frying it tomorrow. The cornstarch is GENIUS! I always dredge my pork chops in flour/cornstarch and they are the most delicious ever. I'll be thinking of you with every yummy bite. Love you my friend!
Shannon Fredericks
Anonymous said…
Oh my goodness! I NEVER joke about anything as serious as fried chicken. This recipe is the best I have ever tasted! I generally prefer dark meat, but tried a breast tonight and I couldn't believe how moist it was. The buttermilk brining was key, much better than the plain buttermilk i usually use. My only addition was some Old Bay seasoning in the flour mixture. Hard to alter perfection. Amazing flavor, perfectly juicy, yum! The kids even chomped up their legs without one complaint. Dinner Heaven :-). Thank you!

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