Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easier Fried Chicken and the Fried Chicken Tradition

There is a bit of fried chicken lore in my new family. When I married into Joseph's family his mom made fried chicken for a family dinner. It was fantastic, but I didn't realize how important fried chicken was as a tradition to my new family. 

The story goes, when Poppa first started to date Meema he kept coming around because of her mom's delicious fried chicken. He will still admit (only in certain company) that her mom's fried chicken was better than hers. 

My kids had never had homemade fried chicken. My mom had never made it and I for sure had never attempted it. They loved her fried chicken and would really look forward to family dinners and keep their fingers crossed that she would be frying chicken - they usually had their wishes granted. 

And so perhaps - although fried chicken is not the Best thing for you.....  I think allowances need to be made for tradition and family togetherness.  And so, I gather all my braveness and decided to make fried chicken for my step-sons going away dinner. That would be attended by the entire family. (nothing quite like putting extra extra pressure on myself )

But I also decided, if I was going to carry on this tradition in my own family, It really did need to be a little bit better for us that they way it is traditionally done. 

I am happy to report it turned out Amazing!! My Mother-in-law even asked for the recipe for the coating and my husband was super impressed that I made it "extra crispy" because he likes it that way.  

Mission: Fried Chicken = Wild Success!! 

Here's how I managed to do it:


1 1/4 cups buttermilk - I never have (or buy) buttermilk. Make it by using 1 TB lemon juice per 1 Cup Milk
dash hot sauce
3 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, or a mix, with breasts cut in half), trimmed of excess fat (see note)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups vegetable oil


1. Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon salt, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon paprika, and pinch of cayenne together in large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Soaking the chicken in seasoned buttermilk both enhances flavor and ensures that the meat retains moisture.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 teaspoons black pepper, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon paprika, and remaining cayenne together in large bowl.

Add remaining ¼ cup buttermilk to flour mixture and mix with fingers until combined and small clumps form.

Adding a little buttermilk to the dry ingredients of the coating creates irregular texture, which translates to extra crunch.

Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, pressing mixture onto pieces to form thick, even coating. Place dredged chicken on large plate, skin side up.

3. Heat oil in 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat to 375 degrees.

Carefully place chicken pieces in pan, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Carefully flip and continue to cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 4 minutes longer.

Frying in 1 3/4 cups of oil jumpstarts a super-crisp coating with minimal cleanup. And without all that oily mess and greasy grossness. 

Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.

Transferring the chicken to a 400-degree oven allows it to cook through without overbrowning.

Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 for legs and thighs, 15 to 20 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from oven as they reach -correct temperature.)

Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.

Now get out there and take on some scary family traditions..  We are going to attempt "Bunny Rolls" Today. Wish us Luck!!