Fried Chicken is one of the most southern of all southern recipes. There’s not a family reunion, picnic, church potluck, pool party, or southern restaurant that doesn’t include fried chicken. Heck y’all, there are even entire restaurants dedicated to nothing but the pursuit of the perfect southern fried chicken.
Southern Fried Chicken
There is a lot of talk about what makes the perfect fried chicken.. to brine or not to brine, to double batter, to egg wash, to season the flour, to not season the flour – here’s the secret to the perfect southern fried chicken
Play around with lots of different styles and recipes, find what appeals to YOU and then rock it. You can’t go wrong with fried chicken, y’all.
I have been making fried chicken since moby dick was a minnow, and it all started in my Granny’s kitchen with an apron double knotted around my waist watching in awe as she deftly battered, dipped and set it to rest in her cast iron skillet. Granny never wrote her recipe down, but I’ve played around with them enough that I have a feel for doing it without a recipe, too.
Fried Chicken and Sweet Tea – is there anything more southern?
When I was contacted by The Local Palate about being their featured blogger for the month of August, I was super excited! They mentioned me as a favorite blogger to watch in their print magazine last year, and this year I’m being featured on their website! Check out my Three Must Have Kitchen Items! . They asked me to browse their recipes and pick one to test, eat, and then tell y’all about it. Hmmm….. let’s see, you want me to browse a bunch of delicious southern recipes, pick one, and then you’re giving me an excuse to cook it and eat it? Yes, please!
I was immediately drawn to this Glass Onion Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe, because Fried Chicken y’all. When I was working in restaurants we always brined our fried chicken and chicken fried chicken in buttermilk. It just makes it so unbelievably, mouth-wateringly, finger-lickingly succulent.
I love that the chef not only seasons the buttermilk brine, but the flour, too – I’ve done one or the other, but never both. I was additionally intrigued by the resting period between breading the chicken and the actual frying time. Prior to reading this recipe, I’d never heard of resting the breaded chicken before frying it. I printed off the recipe and we were off to the store to get our chicken. I only used chicken legs for our recipe, because that’s what my kids like best and I tend to only use legs when I’m recipe testing fried chicken recipes – easy snacking.
Here are two things I’ll tell you about this recipe.
1) holy moses it’s good
2) oh my word it’s amazing cold for lunch the next day (if you can make it last that long)
The seasoning in the flour, and the hot sauce in the buttermilk brine take the juiciness and flavor of this fried chicken to a whole new level of mouthwatering, finger-licking, silence inducing deliciousness.
This recipe has been placed firmly in our family recipe file and it will be seeing a lot of action. This was Princess’ first time to make fried chicken with me, and I think her favorite part was the paper bag shaking action – the only true way to bread fried chicken, in my opinion. I told her if she does it any other way someone will snatch her southern card :-).
I won’t make y’all wait any longer! Here’s the Glass Onion Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe from Chef Chris Stewart of The Glass Onion in Charleston, South Carolina; you can see it and all their featured recipes on the recipe section of The Local Palate, and there are tons! I could spend hours drooling over them.
- Recipe by Chef Chris Stewart of The Glass Onion in Charleston, SC
- Chicken, 3 1/2 to 4 lbs 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces or 8 chicken legs and 2 juicy chicken breasts
- vegetable oil for frying
- 2 Cups self-rising flour
- 2 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon ground white pepper his recipe calls for freshly ground, I used pre-ground
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 quart buttermilk use good thick real buttermilk, no substitutions or low fat nonsense
- 1/4 Cup hot sauce I used a garlic habanero hot sauce - so amazing
- 1/4 Cup kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Brine the Chicken
- Combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, garlic, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large dish or bowl with a lid. Add in the chicken and toss to coat really well, it's best if they're completely submerged, but work with what you've got. Seal the dish and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Combine the flours and seasonings in a large brown paper grocery sack you really want to have two paper bags, one inside the other - trust me
Breading the Chicken
- Remove the chicken from the buttermilk I set my chicken on a wire cooling rack over the sink to let the excess brine drip away. Add the chicken a couple pieces at a time to the breading mixture inside the paper bags, fold the top down to close and shake-a, shake-a, shake-a until the chicken is completely coated.
Resting the chicken
- Place the chicken on another wire cooling rack I have my wire rack sitting on a cookie sheet. Rest the chicken for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. If resting any longer, up to a couple days, do this in the refrigerator! Chef Chris says that resting the chicken after the breading process ensures that the breading will better adhere to the chicken during the frying process I concur
Frying the Bird
- Heat a couple of inches of oil in your big cast iron skillet, or whatever you will be frying your chicken in. Chef Chris says 4 inches of oil, my 12" cast iron won't safely hold 4 inches of oil, use your smarts, people
- Heat the oil to 325° F in your skillet. Use a clip on candy/fry thermometer to monitor your oil temperature. You really want an even temperature (oil should heat to 325°F, and once the frying has started should never dip below 300°F)
- Fry the chicken in batches - I can cook 3 pieces at a time in my skillet. You want the skin to be a gorgeous, rich, golden brown this takes between 6 - 9 minutes Flip the chicken and cook the other side. Keep a good quick read meat thermometer on hand to check the temperature of your chicken - 165° is the ideal temp.
- If your chicken is getting too dark, but the internal temp isn't reaching - you can remove it from the fryer and finish baking it off in the oven at 350°. Just keep checking
The recipe is Chef Chris' - the italics are my own additions, or takes on the recipe.