Bee's Fried Chicken
Source of Recipe
From "Southern Grit" by Kelsey Barnard Clark
"My mom never really made fried chicken. When we did get it, it usually came in a box shaped like a house and was always slightly cold by the time we ate it. When I first opened my second restaurant, KBC on Foster, I wanted fried chicken on the menu. I became obsessed with mastering the art of the decadent, sinful bird. As you'll see, I am a big believer in dark meat only for fried chicken, y'all! I spent weeks testing recipes with Bee (lovingly known as Queen Bee), the first employee I ever hired. The result of our efforts is Bee's Fried Chicken, which has been served to thousands of customers and brides. It's our most requested item at brunch, lunch, and weddings alike, and I can confidently agree with customers who say, 'This is the best damn fried chicken I've ever eaten.'"
List of Ingredients
◦ 4 cups buttermilk
◦ 1 cup dill pickle juice
◦ 6 to 8 dashes hot sauce (I like Crystal or Tabasco)
◦ 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs, legs, or a combo of both, rinsed and patted dry
◦ Canola oil, for frying (at least 8 cups)
◦ 6 cups all-purpose flour
◦ 2 tablespoons salt
◦ 1 tablespoon garlic powder
◦ 1 tablespoon onion powder
◦ 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
◦ 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, pickle juice, and hot sauce and stir to combine. Add the chicken, turning to completely coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to three days.
Fill a cast-iron skillet half full with canola oil and begin warming it on the very lowest heat setting. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, 1 tablespoon of the salt, the garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne. Dredge the chicken by letting liquid drip off each chicken piece, then coating it in the flour mixture. Pat the flour mixture onto the skin, making sure to turn the chicken and press the flour mixture onto all sides to be sure it is evenly coated. Place the chicken on a plate and set aside.
Increase the heat to high and heat the oil to 350° F. Set a cooling rack inside a half sheet pan. To test whether the oil is hot enough, drop a sprinkle of flour in the pan. If the flour pops and fizzes, the oil is ready.
Place up to four pieces of chicken in the oil. Once the chicken is in the oil, immediately turn down the heat to medium to maintain a steady temperature of 300° to 325° F. This allows the chicken to cook slowly and evenly throughout while it develops a crispy golden crust. Using a long-handled fork, such as a carving fork, gently flip the chicken over every 2 minutes. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes for breasts, 12 to 15 minutes for thighs, 7 to 10 minutes for legs, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
When the chicken is done, place it on the prepared rack and immediately dust with the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt. Cooling the chicken on a rack allows the excess oil to drip off while leaving the bottom of the chicken crispy. Let cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy immediately or place in the oven preheated to 250° F to keep warm until ready to eat.
Makes 4 servings