Monday, September 1, 2008

The Best Ever Fried Chicken

I saw this recipe in my Cooks magazine and have been dying to try it out. It’s a lot of work, but well worth the effort. This is the best fried chicken I have ever tasted, and I thought my fried chicken recipe was pretty good. The chicken turns out super tender and moist and the coating is thick and really really crispy. The only thing I am going to change the next time I make this is to add a little cayenne pepper to the coating to give it a little kick. The chicken has to soak in the buttermilk bath, so you do have to start this in the morning.

The Best Ever Fried Chicken

½ Cup, plus 2 Tablespoons Salt
¼ Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Paprika
3 Medium Garlic Heads, cloves separated and peeled
3 Bay Leaves, crumbled
2 Quarts Low-Fat Buttermilk
1 Whole Chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 Large Egg
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
4 Cups Vegetable Shortening or Refined Peanut Oil

In a large zipper-lock bag, combine salt, sugar, paprika, garlic cloves, and bay leaves. With a flat meat pounder smash garlic into salt and spice mixture thoroughly. Pour mixture into large plastic container or nonreactive stockpot. Add 7 cups buttermilk and stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Immerse chicken and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and shake off excess; place in single layer on large wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for 2 ours. (After 2 hours, chicken can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 6 hours longer.)

Measure flour into large shallow dish. Beat egg, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl; stir in remaining 1 cup buttermilk (mixture will bubble and foam). Working in batches of 3 dip chicken pieces in flour and shake dish to coat. Shake excess flour from each piece, then using tongs, dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing excess to drip off. Coat chicken pieces with flour again, shake off excess, and return to wire rack.

Adjust oven rack to middle position, set second wire rack over second rimmed baking sheet , and place on the oven rack; heat oven to 200 degrees. Line large plate with double layer paper towels. Meanwhile, heat oil (oil should have 2 ½ -inch depth in pan) to 375 degrees over medium-high heat in large 8-quart cast-iron Dutch oven with diameter of about 12 inches. Place half of chicken pieces skin side down in oil, cover, reduce heat to medium, and fry until deep golden brown, 6-8 minutes. (Spot-check oil temperature; after first 6 minutes o frying, oil should be 325 degrees. Adjust burner if necessary.) Turn chicken pieces over and continue to fry, uncovered, until deep golden brown on second side, 6-8 minutes longer. Using tongs, transfer chicken to paper towel-lined plate; let stand 2 minutes to drain, then transfer to rack in warm oven. Replace paper towel lining on plate. Return oil to 375 degrees and fry remaining pieces, transferring pieces to paper towel-lined plate to drain, then transferring to wire rack with other chicken pieces. Cool chicken pieces on wire rack about 5 minutes and serve.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

The best EVER?? Hmmm -- if that's the case, I'll have to try it. (Though I have to admit that I've always disliked Cooks Illustrated for presuming that their recipes ARE the best ever....)

Pam said...

It looks fantastic. I have never made fried chicken, probably because it would stick to my hips, but this recipe looks great.

mikky said...

fried chicken is a favorite... i'm glad you shared your best ever fried chicken recipe... will try it soon... :)