Fried Chicken may just be the best thing in the entire world. Every little bit of making this all American classic is important which is why people are always so steadfast in believing THEIR recipe or their family’s heirloom recipe is the best. Growing up, one of my favorite meals wasn’t the fried chicken dinner that we would have on some Sunday nights, but rather the two pieces of cold chicken that I would bring to school with me the next day in my lunch box. Always eaten dipped in honey and always eaten with my hands!! This recipe combines a buttermilk and hot sauce marinade with a variety of seasonings in the flour dredge that will give you delicious and moist chicken. Serve it fresh and hot or cook it a day before, let it come to room temperature, and stick it in the fridge to serve it cold as a snack to have while you figure out how to get your grill working during your barbecue. Enjoy it with honey and a squeeze of lemon and you’ll be licking those fingers clean; that is until you pick up another piece to eat because let’s be honest, fried chicken is basically fireworks for your taste buds and you can never have too many of either one!
Prep Time: 15 mins + 12-24 (or more) hours of marinating and dredging
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 10 pieces
2 cups of buttermilk
1/4 cup of your favorite hot sauce
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1 3-4 pound chicken butchered into 10 pieces with the bone (Ask your butcher. You should have: 2 whole wings, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and cut each breast in half)
4 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of salt
2 teaspoons of dried thyme
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 Tablespoon of onion powder
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of dried sage
3 cups of Peanut Oil
2 Sheet trays fitted with wire-rack
In a large bowl combine the first four ingredients and mix well. Add the pieces of chicken in the bowl and make sure they are submerged in the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least twelve hours and as many as twenty-four.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients and thoroughly mix.
An hour before you want to cook your chicken, take the marinated chicken out of the fridge. Using a spoon, add a few spoonfuls of the buttermilk marinade to the flour dredge. This will help the dredge adhere to the chicken and give your bird a nicer crust.
Working piece by piece, shake off the extra marinade from the piece of chicken and place it into the flour dredge. Make sure you are pressing it into the mixture and that every piece is covered (don’t be afraid to push the flour INTO the chicken). Place the chicken on a wire rack fitted on a sheet tray. Repeat this for each of the remaining pieces and allow the chicken to sit on the wire rack for at least thirty minutes and up to an hour before frying.
Pour peanut oil into a heavy-bottomed cast iron pan with high sides or a dutch oven. On medium heat, bring the peanut oil to 350 degrees (use the candy thermometer to get the right temperature, making sure its at least 325 degrees or else the finished chicken will be too oily). Prepare your second wire-racked sheet by lining with some paper towel.
Working in batches, place four to five pieces of chicken into the pan at a time. The temperature of the oil will drop so make sure you adjust the heat and keep an eye on the temperature of the oil, checking frequently. Flipping the pieces halfway through, wings will take eight minutes, legs and thighs will take ten and breasts will take sixteen. The crust of the chicken should be just a shade under golden brown. Once you carefully remove the chicken from the oil, place it on the prepared wire rack to cool and drain off any excess oil.
The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees, which you can check using a regular thermometer.
If serving hot, let cool for ten to fifteen minutes. If serving room temperature, allow to completely cool on the wire rack (or wait until it’s cool and stick it in the fridge to serve cold). Cold fried chicken make’s for a great salad topping too! Enjoy your homemade batch of Americana however you like!
*Suggested wine pairing: Michele Gonet Grand Cru Champagne
Spencer Hochman is a Private Chef in Sonoma County, CA who recently moved to wine country after growing up and spending the formative years of his culinary career in various well-known kitchens in NYC. He developed his market drive Italian style during his four years at L’Artusi in the West Village. With a desire to be closer to what he feels is the gastronomic heartbeat of America, Spencer’s west coast move has allowed him to be an arm’s length from some of the best farmers, fishmongers, vintners, and artisan food purveyors in the world!