My Mom made some pretty good fried chicken, in fact, that was one of the first things she taught me to cook. We were a 2 chicken and 5lbs of hamburger a week family–so I got a lot of practice. Since then, like with almost everything in my life I have learned much–through trial and error, research and luck!
This week I am going to share 5 different Chicken recipes with you–I hope you like them!
Finger-lickin’ kickin’ fried chicken This is not a rushed week-night meal. It takes a little planning and patience. I have a couple of tips and tricks for this unforgettable twice-a-year feast.
Buttermilk! Yes buttermilk. The night before I place my seasoned chicken pieces into my giant mixing bowl and cover with 1/2 gallon of buttermilk along with 10 dashes of tabasco. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a safe place in your fridge overnight. This will do a few things. Buttermilk will act as a brine and actually make your meat more tender and juicy, it imparts a wonderful, subtle sharpness and it reacts with the baking power in the dredge to make a lighter, crispy crust (buy a little extra too if you are making a whole Old Fashion feast ’cause it is fantastic in cornbread, biscuits, slaw or salad dressing).
I have used an electric skillet, cast iron and a Paula Dean dutch oven. I am not married to any–I find if you heat your oil evenly and slowly and you don’t overcrowd the pan you will have goooood chicken! I normally use 1/2 peanut and 1/2 vegetable oil. If you have a nut allergy of course omit the peanut oil. I have tried Crisco as well, but I usually don’t have that on hand–so I go with what I ‘ve got. Check your oil for temperature heat to between 350 and 375. Remember when you drop in the cold chicken your temp will drop a bit. Oil too hot means dark brown on the outside and raw inside. Oil too cool will result in soggy blond crust. Use a candy thermometer or I use a wooden skewer, set in the center of the hot oil–when it bubbles around it–it is ready.
Don’t be scared–it just means the flour and flavor you chicken will be dusted in. I use Self-Rising flour. That is simply All Purpose flour with Baking powder and salt mixed in. If you can’t find it, don’t sweat–just add those things to what you have. The baking powder reacts with the buttermilk to give you a lighter, flaky crust. I start with 2 cups in a large zip-top bag or bowl. Then…
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tablespoons black pepper
(I use Tellicherry if I have it. Tellicherry peppercorns are left on the vine the longest and have a very strong pepper flavor–word on the street is that is one of Old Man Sanders 11 secret herbs and spices)!
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch buttermilk dressing mix
1 teaspoon baking soda (If not using self-rising flour)
1 tablespoon salt
Mix your dredge well, drain your chicken of buttermilk, roll in dredge and gently shake off extra.
Lefty-righty, make a wet hand and a dry hand! I learned this is best to grab your chicken from the dredge and drop it into the oil with only one hand. (You will be happy if the phone rings, you forget something in the fridge or you have to scratch your nose). I only drop 3 or 4 pieces at a time–never crowd. I usually cook my legs and thighs together, wings alone and white meat. (Our family loves the legs and I even sometimes cook a mess of drumettes if I have a lot of kiddos to feed cause they are easy, just the right size and fun)! Cover for 2 minutes, longer than that will result in your crust falling off. Cook uncovered 8 to 10 minutes moving and turning often to insure even browning.
Maybe this is silly to even bring up, but take your finished golden brown crispy fowl and place it on a brown bag or paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain the excess oil for a few minutes–sprinkle with salt then transfer to your platter. (I park the finished bird in the oven at 200 while I finish if I am serving it hot). Otherwise your crispy will be a soggy mess by dinnertime.
Ok, so the hard part is done. Now yes, you do smell like a fry cook from the KFC–but it will all be worth it when you hear the” yum yums” and the “Best Fried Chicken I have ever eaten”. There is a reason this Old Fashion food is still around–it is perfect for a picnic, reunion, church supper or party! Hot, room temp or chilled by the light of the fridge at night–this is delicious. Stop by the deli or whip up some slaw and slice a watermelon in the summer or mash some taters and make a iceberg wedge. (We don’t eat this way everyday)!
I hope you give this a try and tell us what you think! Oh, you want a recipe for the iceberg wedge too? Here you go…
Old Time IceBerg Wedge
1 head Iceberg Lettuce
(Cored and cut into 4-6 wedges)
Sorta Homemade Ranch Dressing
Gorganzola Crumbles (or not)
Crumbled Bacon (not bits!)
Grinds of Black Pepper
Sorta Homemade Ranch
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (the sorta part)
1/2 cup Mayo (light if you must)
1/2 cup Sour Cream (light if you must)
1/4 cup Buttermilk (or whole)
a few dashes (3-5) Tabasco
1/4 cup fresh herbs (Dill, Parsley, Chive) if ya got’em
Spoon over that green-flecked goodness and sprinkle with the goodies. Now, there you go–supper is ready. Tomorrow you can plow a field, raise a barn or go to the gym! Enjoy!