Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fried Chicken at Home

I made fried chicken.  At home.  Apparently my Virginia roots are stronger than I thought.  I never really had a desire to make fried chicken, or so I thought, until I found a Barefoot Contessa recipe for it.  Going into the process I thought it would turn out okay, but the skin might not be crispy and then chicken might be dry.  Wrong-o!  This skin was extra crispy and the chicken was moister (strange word) than any fried chicken I've ever had.  In fact it wasn't just moist, it was juicy!  Like a peach or something.  It really was just amazing, and not at all difficult!  You end up shallow frying it (a term I made up since you don't deep fry it) and then you bake it in the oven, which magically produces the most delicious chicken on the planet.  The drumsticks were our favorite, which is always true for me when fried chicken is concerned.  I think next time I'll just buy those, which is especially nice because they sell for next to nothing, even at Whole Foods.  If you like fried chicken and love trying new recipes, definitely give this a try.  It is better than heat-lamped KFC any day. 

Buy as much chicken as you need for the number of people you have.  We used two thighs and three legs.  Make sure you buy it the day before, and at night before you go to bed, take out your chicken...

And pour 1/2-1 quart buttermilk over top of it.  I never realized how thick buttermilk was until I had half a quart sitting in front of me.  Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate, because it is raw chicken afterall.    

These are the keys to making sure your fried chicken has enough kick: cayenne pepper and seasoned salt.  I don't like spicy food, and it didn't turn out spicy, so don't worry about that.  You just need a little zing in the skin.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper.

Take your chicken out of the buttermilk and dredge all sides in your flour mixture until it is extra coated.  Your hands will turn into gross flour globs, but it's for a good cause.  

You can fry in vegetable oil or shortening; I used oil because that's all I had around.  It worked fine.  I used half a bottle and it was about 2/3 of an inch thick.  You want to fry the chicken at 360 degrees - which is the only tricky part of the operation.  It was very difficult for me to keep the temperature around 360 degrees.  It kept shooting up to 400 degrees, so I would remove it from the heat for a few minutes (while the chicken was cooking mind you) to try to bring the temperature down.  

I only fried two pieces of chicken at a time because overcrowding the oil is apparently a bad thing to do.  I probably could have fit three, but I didn't have a place for my thermometer that way. 

Cook each side of the chicken 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.  If your temperature is shooting up at 400 degrees, you will be cooking it closer to the 2 minute side of that range.

When both sides are cooked, remove from oil and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet with a rack on top. 

Now bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes (until the chicken is fully cooked, obviously).  This gives you time to get your side dishes together, since during the frying process you don't have a lot of free time. 

Yum I wish I had an excuse to make this tomorrow too.  It is the greatest fried chicken you've ever had, plus you get the satisfaction of doing something ridiculous - like frying chicken.  

Fried Chicken
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

4 pieces of skin-on, bone-in chicken
1/2-1 quart buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Vegetable oil or shortening, for frying

Place chicken in large bowl and pour buttermilk over top of it.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper in large bowl.  Remove chicken pieces from buttermilk and cover in flour mixture.  Heat vegetable oil or shortening in heavy-bottom pot until it reaches 360 degrees.  Fry chicken pieces at 360 degrees for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Do not overcrowd the oil.  Remove chicken pieces from oil and place on a rack on top of a foil-lined cookie sheet.  When all the chicken has been fried, place the chicken in the 350 degree oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until fully cooked. 


  1. I LOVE fried chicken. I'm going to have to try this

  2. i made the fried chicken tonight! and it was delicious. my roomie and laura agreed :) great recipe. also, i used only drumsticks and it was a good decision. yum! can't wait for leftovers :)

  3. I'm glad the recipe was a success for you too!

  4. i was also coming to report back on court's fried chicken efforts! it WAS delicious. now i'm daydreaming of fried chicken at 10am and that seems wrong.


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