Buttermilk Fried Chicken

By • September 6, 2009 • 6 Comments

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Author Notes: I love fried chicken, and I've tried all sorts of things over the years to make perfectly fried poultry--chicken that's crunchy and crisp outside, tender and moist inside, and thoroughly cooked. Is there anything more disappointing than biting into a beautiful looking piece of chicken to find that it's red near the bone? For this recipe, I brined the chicken overnight, and then simmered it before frying it, to thoroughly cook the meat without drying it out. This also means it needs less time in the frying oil. I then deep-fried it in a blend of rendered lard and duck fat.adashofbitters

Serves 4

Brining and boiling

  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco red pepper sauce
  • 3 pounds chicken parts (I used drumsticks, thighs, and wings)
  1. Mix buttermilk, salt, Old Bay, and Tabasco in a lidded glass container or gallon-sized zip-top bag. Add chicken and cover to coat. Refrigerate at least three hours, but preferably overnight.
  2. Using tongs, remove chicken from buttermilk brine to a large saucepan or medium stock pot. Pour in buttermilk brine and add enough water to cover. Bring buttermilk to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Remove chicken from buttermilk and place on a rack to cool.

Coating and frying

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • oil or fat for frying (I used a combination of rendered lard and duck fat)
  • crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon
  1. Put enough fat or oil in a Dutch oven to thoroughly cover the chicken pieces. Heat over medium-high heat to 350ºF.
  2. In a gallon-sized zip-top bag, combine flour, Old Bay, salt, and black pepper. Add chicken pieces, one or two at a time, and coat. Knock excess coating back into the bag before removing pieces to a plate.
  3. Add pieces one at a time to boiling oil. To avoid overcrowding the Dutch oven, you may have to work in batches. The temperature of the oil will drop when you add the chicken, so turn the heat up until the temperature rises again to 350ºF.
  4. Cook until chicken pieces are browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on a rack placed over a baking sheet. Sprinkle sea salt over each piece.
  5. Repeat for remaining batches. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.
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Tags: picnic, savory, Summer, travels well

Comments (6) Questions (0)


over 5 years ago The Weary Epicurean

you fucking badass this is awesome. old bay ftw


over 5 years ago PrettyGirlsUseKnivesJoh

This sounds phenomenal. I like that the chicken gets cooked BEFORE frying, so it doesn't dry out or absorb too much oil and get greasy. I'll probably be trying this out this weekend -- Great method!


over 5 years ago juliewhite13

Is brining a fancy word for marinating chicken in buttermilk??


over 5 years ago adashofbitters

There are at least four other recipes here in which the chicken is brined before it's fried, and I'm not the only one that uses buttermilk, so I don't understand your question.

Brining is a nonfancy word that cooks and chefs have used for years. It's a solution of salt and liquid and often spices or herbs. In this case, I used buttermilk as the liquid. What makes this a brine rather than a marinade is the salt. The techniques are similar but brines are saltier.


over 5 years ago Feeding Groom

Oh big fat wow!! That sounds divine...Duck fat rocks!!


over 5 years ago adashofbitters

Thank you!