buttermilk fried chicken

I'm bad at deep frying. It always seems like a huge production, it stinks up the house and it’s intimidating. Maintaining the right oil temperature is a nightmare; It's always either too hot or too cool. I had a particularly disastrous run of trying to make french fries, leading to my personal belief that they are made by wizards or something. I was particularly scarred by the promises of the cold oil french fry method, which are not to be believed. It is a scam!

With fried chicken I always used to get chicken over cooking on the outside and raw in the middle. But the great thing about this recipe is that it sidesteps this whole issue. I heat the oil, fry the chicken until the outside is brown and crispy and then I put the chicken into the oven to finish cooking through. The batter stays crispy and somehow all the chicken stays moist and tasty, even the first batch that was in the oven for the longest.

The overnight soak in well seasoned buttermilk keeps the chicken really tender and juicy. You can prepare the chicken same day as cooking, and marinate for 4-6 hours, but I think the overnight seasoning is the trick to the best possible chicken.

buttermilk fried chicken: 

adapted from: Ina Garten/Chef John/Bon Appetit

  • 1 medium sized chicken, cut into drumsticks, thighs, wings and breasts (or just buy your favourite cuts, about 2 pieces per person)

  • enough buttermilk to cover chicken, 2-3 cups

  • ¼ cup salt

  • 1 tbs paprika

  • lots of coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1 bulb garlic, bulbs peeled and lightly smashed with the side of a knife

  • 2 cups flour, for dredging

  • Canola or peanut oil for frying, about 8-10 cups

Combine buttermilk, salt, paprika, pepper and garlic and pour over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Refrigerate overnight in a covered dish.

Heat oven to 350°. Place a large cookie sheet in the oven with a metal cooling rack on it in the centre rack.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot heat oil until it reaches 350°. Place flour in a shallow dish or tray, next to the oil and the dish of chicken right next to the flour dish. One piece at a time, remove chicken from buttermilk and dredge well in flour. Make sure to cover thoroughly in flour. Add about 4 or 5 pieces of chicken to the hot oil carefully with tongs. Do not crowd the pan. Gently pull them apart if they stick together at all. Turn chicken over every 2-3 minutes. When the batter is deep golden brown and very crispy looking, remove chicken and place on the rack in the oven. Repeat until all the chicken is fried and then continue to cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the centre of chicken pieces reads 165°.

For a little appetizer, fish out the crushed garlic from the buttermilk, dredge in flour and  and fry about 4 minutes, until deep brown and crispy. 

Drizzle chicken with magic green sauce (optional but highly recommended), flaky biscuits and coleslaw. It’s the most perfect backyard summer meal. The chicken is really good cold and stays super crispy.