Okay I admit it, I have never fried a chicken in my life, except for wings, I'm an expert at that, if I do say so myself. The other day my hubby and I were watching Cooks Country, love that show, and they made fried chicken. My hubby turned to me and said, "mmmm, that looks good, you could do that next week right?" Ummm, yeah, sure I can do it. But there was a problem, I've never done it before, lucky for me Cooks Country takes all the guess work out of it, so I felt pretty confident.
In two months my family and I are moving to Tampa, so I am being very economical these days in my choices for meals. By economical I mean cheap and chicken legs are cheap, especially at $0.89 per pound. Not only are they cheap, they are tasty, and my kids love 'em. So onto the menu the fried chicken went.
Cooks Country uses the same method for getting their chicken crispy as The Pioneer Woman does, using a little buttermilk in the flour to get the craggy crispy coating. It really works well. This chicken came out juicy and crispy. I was surprised at how easy it was to fry chicken.
The recipe worked perfectly and I doubt I will search out another. I will however add my own spices, but this method is the one I will use from now on. I did tweak it a bit by adding a few more ingredients to the marinade, and next time I will let the chicken sit longer in the marinade as I felt it didn't pick up enough flavor. I do an oven fried chicken recipe that sits overnight and that chicken comes out very flavorful. All in all, a solid recipe that my family loved. One side note, if you are doing a lot of chicken like I did (4 pounds of legs) use separate pans. I fried one batch and then used that same oil to fry another, and the chicken came out darker than the first batch. I don't recommend this. :}
On to the recipe:
Start by marinading your chicken a buttermilk salt bath. I added garlic, hot sauce, and Dijon mustard to mine.
Next add a little buttermilk to the flour mixture, it will look like small pea sized crumbs. I tried to get a close up, but they didn't come out to well.
Flour the chicken and place on a wire rack set of a sheet pan until you are ready fry.
Put about 4 -5 cups of your fat of choice into a dutch oven, they recommended shortening or peanut oil. I used peanut oil since we don't have any allergies to it in our family. They said avoid canola because it gave "off flavors" to the chicken. Use whatcha like.
Now imagine you see a great shot of the chicken frying in the pan, mine was accidentally deleted. After the 8-10 minutes on one side, flip the chicken and fry 6-8 minutes longer. I used some pretty monster sized chicken legs and they took 10 minutes on the first side and 8 on the other. They were perfectly cooked.
Transfer to a paper towel to cool at least 5 minutes, serve and enjoy that crispy chicken deliciousness. Mmmmm, lip smackin' finger lickin' good chicken.
Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken
2 cups buttermilk -- divided
2 tablespoons table salt or 4 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoon hot sauce, I use Crystal
1 roasting chickens -- (3 1/2 lb) cut in 8 pieces (I used 4lbs legs)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (I added 1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon paprika (my addition)
Remove 6 tbsp buttermilk and set aside. To remaining buttermilk, add salt and whisk until dissolved. Add mustard, hot sauce, and garlic, stir to combine. Cut chicken in 8 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, cut each breast in half). Place chicken in a gallon size freezer bag and submerge the chicken in buttermilk brine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, thyme, pepper, garlic powder, paprika if using, and baking powder. Add reserved buttermilk and toss with fingertips to form pea-sized crumbs.
Drain chicken and transfer to breading, 2 pieces at a time. If you used the garlic in your marinade remove make sure it isn't on the chicken when you flour it. Pack breading onto chicken firmly. The more breading the crunchier the chicken.
Heat 4-5 cups vegetable shortening or peanut oil to 375°F It should be about 3/4" deep in the pot. Place chicken into hot fat, skin side down. The temperature will drop to about 300°F; maintain the temperature at 310-315°F Cover pot and cook 8-10 minutes; check chicken after 4 minutes to ensure even browning, and move pieces around if needed. After 8-10 minutes, turn pieces over; cook another 6-8 minutes until the second side is also golden brown.
Remove chicken and drain on paper towels. Allow to drain and cool 5-10 minutes before serving.
From "Cook's Country by America's Test Kitchen," episode 106, "All-American Picnic."