Since we had a huge thing of buttermilk left over from the Cinnamon Rolls we had to come up with a recipe to use it. Clearly this meant making fried chicken. I mean, what else do you do with buttermilk? So, maybe biscuits or pancakes but this girl had a Southern grandma and grandma’s memory requires fried chicken, OK? Geez.
Grandma used to make fried chicken every so often, but I wasn’t allowed to learn how to make it until I was 12 or so, which makes sense. Looking back on it, I can see why she wouldn’t want an over-enthusiastic anything-under-12 year old near hot oil. But I was so happy when I finally was allowed to help. Now, this isn’t Grandma’s recipe. She didn’t use the buttermilk soak or finish the chicken in the oven, but other than that this is pretty much the recipe I grew up with. I consulted Pioneer Woman Cooks for the buttermilk soak. I also like that there’s a baking step to make sure everything is all cooked through, but not burned. If you’re like me, you’ll have a piece or two while hot, but you’ll be more excited about cold fried chicken for lunch the next day.
Pioneer Woman’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken
From The Pioneer Woman Cookbook: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond
serves 3-4 (I halved the original recipe
- 1 cut-up fryer chicken (about 3lb) – If you can buy one cut up, do it. I thought I had. I was wrong.
- 2c. plus 1/8 c. buttermilk
- 2.5 c. all-purpose flour
- 1.5 Tbs seasoned salt (like Lawry’s)
- 1tsp black pepper
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 1tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl combine the chicken with 2c. buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove chicken from bowl and let sit on counter for 30 minutes to take chill off.
Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. In a small bowl combine the 1/8 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and use a fork to mix until it looks shaggy. Shaggy is key- this creates those awesome crunchy bits.
Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365F. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing to adhere the breading. If you end up with a ball of goop halfway through, like I did, no worries. Just mix up a half batch of the flour mixture and do it all over again. I didn’t add liquid to the second batch so those pieces just have a lighter layer of covering.
Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time, depending on how much room you have. Cover pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn’t getting too brown. Turn, cover and cook additional 3-5 minutes more. Monitor temperature of oil to make sure chicken doesn’t burn. Keep in mind chicken will finish cooking in oven.
Place chicken on baking sheet and continue frying rest of chicken. When done, bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until chicken cooked through.