Doc is my Guy. He loves fried chicken. Notice I didn’t say my fried chicken. In our almost 15 years together I have made it several different ways. Since he loves KFC, I was always trying to decipher the mysterious 11 herbs and spices. I made some really spicy chicken. I made some really strange chicken. I never made anything like KFC.
I went to the Southern cook in my house, Miss Mabel. She told me she never used any flour to fry chicken, only cornmeal. That honestly didn’t appeal to me. So I researched.
The three most important things I learned were first you have to soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk, prior to coating. The second thing was the best coating was made from some ratio of flour to cornmeal. The third thing was spices. Keep it simple, Shirley! Do not overly spice your coating. Leave that to the Colonel!
So, as far as chicken pieces go, a properly cut up fryer chicken will give you 8 pieces. 2 each of breast, thigh, drumstick, and wing. I don’t do that. There is no rule as to what pieces to use. Cook what your family likes. I typically buy 1 big package each of thighs and drumsticks and repack them in quart freezer bags of 3-4 pieces each. Then I pull out what I need depending on who is coming. You do need to thaw it before starting this recipe. Please don’t do it in the microwave. Who likes rubber chicken?
Okay, are you ready? Take your thawed 8 pieces of your choice of chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place in zip lock bag and add 2C whole buttermilk. Zip bag tight and turn over several times to coat each piece. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours, no more than 12.
While the chicken is drinking it’s buttermilk, in another zippy bag, put 1C flour, 2T cornmeal, 1t kosher salt, 1t ground black pepper, 1t paprika, and 1/2t cayenne pepper. Seal it and shake it all up.
After at least 2 hours, take the chicken bag out of the fridge. Now: how are you going to fry it? Deep fry? In a fryer, electric skillet, in a frying pan? I like my cast iron skillet, but you have to be so careful not to burn it. Deep fryer is my method of choice. In the deep fryer, fill with oil to the line. I use straight up vegetable oil. I think canola spatters too much. Besides, what is a canola? I digress.
In an electric or cast iron frying pan, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches.
Heat the oil to 375 F. While it heats, pick up chicken pieces one at a time and let excess buttermilk drip off. Drop in bag of seasoned flour and shake bag to coat. Shake off excess flour and set on a plate. Repeat with remaining pieces. They should sit about 10 minutes before cooking.
Now for the frying to golden brown perfection. In the deep fryer drop a few pieces of similar size in. Don’t crowd them! Cook 12 – 15 min depending on size, but to an internal temp of 165 F. Remove to drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining pieces.
In an electric frying pan, heat oil as directed. Place chicken skin side down and cook 8-10 minutes, turn, cook 6-8 minutes to same internal temp.
On the stovetop, heat oil on medium high. Adjust temp as needed, using thermometer. Be careful of burning. Turn after about 8 min, cook another 8 min, keep turning and cooking in 2-3 minute increments until internal temp is reached. Drain on paper towels and feed to all the hungry fried chicken eating people that have been smelling this cook!
Doc loves this chicken. Simple and delicious. It’s not KFC, but that’s ok! Doc likes mine the very best! He still has KFC every now and then. It’s not better…. just different!
PS: Doc says please don’t pour grease down your drain. Ever! Hey it wasn’t me! Ok, it was, but I don’t do it anymore! I save my old vegetable oil jugs and when it’s cool use a funnel to pour it back in. When it’s full I throw it away. Doc says thank you!