Fried Chicken

February 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Cooking | 1 Comment

Three guesses as to what I made last night!

Well, I guess the title gave it away 🙂

Growing up in a health conscious house, we never fried chicken.  Fried chicken was saved for the Colonel himself, when we were completely out of groceries.  But its one of those recipes I’ve been dying to try at least once, and so the other night… I did.

The chicken was given a 48 hour bath in buttermilk, followed by a dusting of paprika, cayenne, and sea salt, a dredge in flour, and a much hotter bath in frying oil.  The other day, Lynn Rosetto Casper told me that if you live north of the Mason Dixon, you live in “hard-flour country,” which means that your A.P. flour has less gluten, which means that its less likely to stick to the chicken once you pull it out of the fryer.

Fortunately, you can enforce the clinging power of the crispy skin (which we all know is the best part) by adding a teaspoon of corn starch to your dredging flour.

Ah, just looking at that is enough to make your heart stop.  By the way, the above picture also shows how Alton Brown wants you to drain fat off of foods – that goes for bacon, chicken, and deep fried candy bars.  The upside down cookie sheet keeps your food from resting in its own fat, resulting in a crisper end product.

When the potatoes were mashed, and the kale was braised, we sat down to eat.  And as we ate, the only audible sound was the crunch of chicken skin, because, it was just too good to waste time talking about it.

On a side note, the dark beer on the table was our second batch of home-brew.  We call it Brewgeois Cacao Porter, it’s a classic porter left to ferment with a pound of Askinoisie Cacao nibs, and one bourbon vanilla bean.

On the off-chance that any of you dear readers are running home to fry a chicken, here is the recipe that I used.

Fried Chicken

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown


  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups low fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • Vegetable shortening, for frying


Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don’t drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it’s a gas oven.


1 Comment »

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  1. when was this and why wasn’t i invited! …sad and hungry for some crispy chicken.

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