Better-than-the-Bucket Fried Chicken
Source of Recipe
From "Fan Fare" by Debbie Moose
"Fried chicken is the ultimate tailgate food. But why pick up a fast-food bucket when homemade tastes so much better?" The classic Southern method is to pan-fry rather than deep-fry the chicken. And, done right, the chicken isn't greasy. The secret is in the oil temperature, so use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature. If you prepare the chicken the day before, it's as easy on game day as hitting the drive-through."
List of Ingredients
• 1 cut-up chicken, or 8 of your favorite chicken parts (thighs, legs, or breasts)
• 1 quart buttermilk
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
• 1 Tbsp paprika (optional)
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• Oil or vegetable shortening for frying
Place the chicken parts in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them, making sure all the pieces are covered. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
When ready to cook, drain the chicken but do not rinse. Sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. If desired, combine the cayenne pepper and paprika, then sprinkle on the chicken pieces.
Place the flour in a large plastic bag. Add 3 or 4 pieces of chicken at a time, toss to coat, then shake off as much excess flour as possible when removing pieces from the bag.
In an electric frying pan or a heavy frying pan on the stove, pour in enough oil to come to a depth of about 2 inches and heat over medium-high heat to 350° F.
Gently place the chicken pieces in the pan, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pieces. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the undersides of the pieces just begin to brown. Then, uncover and cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the undersides are completely brown. Turn, cover, and repeat the process for the second side. (Or, if you prefer, you can leave the pan uncovered for the entire process, using a splatter screen to keep down the mess.) Adjust the heat as needed to keep the oil temperature at 325° to 350° F. Be sure that no pink juices run when the chicken is pricked with a fork and that the internal temperature is 180° F when checked with an instant-read thermometer. Place the chicken on wire racks set over plates or newspapers to drain. When well-drained, place on platters and keep warm.
Serves 4 to 6
• Extra Points:
If cooking ahead for the tailgate, allow the chicken to cool completely, then wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil and refrigerate. You can reheat it on the grill at the tailgate if you wish, but it's also delicious served cold.