I have tried to shy away from frying things. It isn’t the health concerns that I fear. It isn’t the danger of oil fires either. It’s simply that when you fry even the smallest thing in your home it makes your place smell like McDonalds for days afterwards.
That being said, as an American I can only go so long before the siren song of ultra crispy crust and moist and juicy meat gets me dusting off our fryer or heavy bottomed pan and filling it with liters of oil.
To me there are really only two steps here that are essential. The first is to brine your meat before hand. The brining process locks in the moisture and will result in a poultry that is still super juicy even if you take it many degrees past what it’s internal temperature should be. The other step is to make your flour taste delicious. Start with plain old AP flour, then add tons of paprika, some salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and whatever other dried spices you have in the pantry that would taste good on chicken. Taste your seasoned flour with a finger and adjust accordingly.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
12 pieces of chicken drumsticks
8 cups of water
4 tablespoons salt
zest of one lemon
2 garlic clove cut in half
1 bay leaf
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons mild paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk
2 liters of canola oil or sunflower oil
Mix water, salt, lemon zest, garlic, bay leaf thyme and peppercorns in a large deep pan. Add the chicken pieces which should be completely submerged in the brine. Place pan in the refrigerator for 4 – 8 hours.
Prepare two bowls for dredging the chicken pieces. In one bowl mix the flour, salt, paprika, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne. In the other bowl shake and pour 2 cups of buttermilk.
Dip the chicken drumsticks in the flour, tap off the excess flour and dip into the buttermilk, then back into the flour. Place the dredged drumsticks on a piece of parchment paper or silpat. Meanwhile heat 2 liters of oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy pan or wok until it reaches 380ºf or 190ºc on a candy thermometer.
Carefully lower the drumsticks one at a time into the hot oil. Work in batches cooking 4 – 6 pieces at a time as not to overflow the oil. Cook drumsticks for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove cooked drumsticks with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels in a 250º f – 120ºc oven to keep warm. Serve immediately after all the drumsticks have finished cooking.