I have been craving some good fried chicken lately, and after seeing this recipe, I decided it was time to give it a go round. I picked a mixed pack of drumsticks, thighs and wings. There were six of each in the package, which is great because no-one wants to get shorted on the drumsticks, and everyone likes different pieces. This ended up being 5.5 pounds of meat.
I started with a large container of buttermilk, four table spoons of salt (this creates a brine,), about 3 tablespoons of hotsauce, some pepper, old bay, and smoked paprika. You can feel free to use whatever mixture of spices you want, but I highly recommend using the buttermilk and salt. Combine these in a bowl, and add all of your chicken pieces to a large ziplock bag, covering with the mixture. Make sure you have covered all the chicken with a good shake, and let it sit overnight in this brine. I let it go for twenty four hours.
When you are ready for dinner the next day, get a large pot or dutch oven and dump the whole marinated bag of chicken and the brine solution into it. Add water to make sure all the chicken is covered. Throw a lid on it and crank the heat to high. Bring to a boil, remove the lid, and simmer for 20-25 minutes. This step is super important, and a great idea, as it cooks the chicken, and makes it juicy and tender, leaving to just crisp it up in the fryer, and prevent burning the skin while trying to cook the raw chicken inside.
After 20 minutes or so, when the chicken looks done, turn the heat off, and get ANOTHER ziplock bag. Fill it with two cups of flour, salt and any spices you want to flavor the crispy skin. Give them a dunk in your deep fryer, or heated oil (350 degrees), keeping in mind the oil temp drops when you put the chicken in. Fry them for a couple of minutes until they look golden and crispy. It really doesn't take too long. Remove to a rack over a baking sheet to drain the excess oil.
You can give the chicken a sprinkle of sea salt, and or a drizzle of honey. Take a bite and discover you have just made yourself the best fried chicken you have EVER EATEN. The meat stays incredibly juicy, due to the brine and the boil, and the light flour coating is perfect to make sure the outside gets that crispiness that people are willing to forgo diets over. These turned out amazing, and I can't wait to eat them cold for dinner the next day. Plus, the precooking helps keep the fat level down, as you don't have to leave the in the fryer for too long. Do yourself a favor and make these for some football fans this winter, you won't be disappointed.
Oh you want some sides? Fair enough. Take a box of cornbread mix, follow the recipe, but add some of your own flair. I chose chopped pickled jalapenos (little tip, dump in some of the pickling juice, it will add some depth of flavor and a salty vinegar kick), some honey, and some shredded cheddar. These go great with the fried chicken, and are so easy to make.
A southern appetizer you can add to this meal are some good old fashioned deviled eggs. Make them with traditional dijon mustard, dill relish and a dash of mayo. Always a hit. I added some prosciutto that I baked in the oven to crisp up on top. This is an awesome trick as it adds a taste of salty crispy pork to the top and adds to the presentation. Enjoy.