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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Brine

  • 1 whole chicken, broken down into 10 pieces, back and trim reserved for stock
  • 4 cups (1 quart) buttermilk 

Spiced Dredge

  • 1 cup (120 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) rice flour
  • ¼ cup (35 g) fine cornmeal or polenta
  • 3 tbsp (54 g) kosher salt
  • 1 tsp (4 g) garlic powder
  • 2 tsp (8 g) black pepper
  • ½ tsp (4 g) anise
  • ½ tsp (2 g) caraway 
  • 2 ½ tsp (10 g) chili powder, we use chimayo but any chili powder will do 
  • 2 tsp (6 g) paprika
  • 1 tsp (2 g) mexican oregano 
  • Peanut, vegetable, sunflower or some other neutral oil for frying. 

In a large bowl combine the chicken and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is ideal.  

Combine the all purpose flour, rice flour, cornmeal, salt and garlic powder in a large bowl or shallow baking dish. 

Combine the pepper, anise, caraway, chili powder and paprika in a small pan and heat over medium heat until spices are toasted. 

Add the oregano to your spice mixture and use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind the mixture. 

Add the spice mixture to the flour mixture and use a whisk to thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator. Place a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Transfer each piece of chicken from the buttermilk brine to the wire rack and allow the excess liquid to drain off for about 5 minutes. Do not discard the buttermilk. 

Prepare another wire rack over a baking sheet*. After the excess buttermilk has drained take one piece at a time and toss it in the dredge mixture. Be sure to coat the whole piece of chicken. Place each dredge piece of chicken onto the prepared wire rack. Once each piece of chicken has been dredged, allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or in the refrigerator until you are ready to fry it. 

Add 1 inch (2.5 cm) of frying oil to a deep large skillet and heat to 350 degrees (177 c).  

While the oil is heating, dip each piece of dredged chicken back into the buttermilk and repeat the draining process. Once the excess buttermilk has fully drained off repeat the dredging process. 

Fry the chicken in batches, turning each piece over once halfway through. Use an instant read thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the chicken, to make sure each piece of chicken reaches 160 degrees (71 c). The frying process should take about 12-20 minutes depending on the size of the piece. Wings should finish cooking first, then legs and thighs and finally the breasts. When each piece is finished frying remove it from the oil and place it on a clean wire rack lined with paper towels. 

The fried chicken is best served right away, drizzled with a little honey. 

NOTE

The cornmeal is optional, I like the texture it adds to the breading.  If you don’t have all the spices on hand you can easily omit or substitute. If you don’t have multiple wire racks you can place the dredged chicken on a cooking sheet or plate but I highly recommend using the wire rack to drain the chicken. Draining the excess buttermilk off thoroughly is the key to a crispy chicken. If you want less breading you can skip the second dredge and fry after the first dredge, the result is a little more crunch. I actually prefer a single dredge if I’m eating the chicken fresh (I seem to be the minority in this opinion) out of the pan but a double dredge is definitely the way to go if you expect to have leftovers. 

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