I've tried quite a few fried chicken recipes in search of the perfect one but have had little success, until now. Thanks to The Pioneer Woman again because her fried chicken is fantastic. Crispy, juicy and seasoned like a pro, this chicken is what I've been searching for all along. Throw some biscuits on the side and a pile of mashed potatoes and you have heaven on a plate.
Recipe slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks:
2 cut-up fryer chickens
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk
5 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons seasoning salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/4 cup milk
canola or vegetable oil for frying
1. Rinse the chicken under water and place in a large bowl. Add the 1 quart of buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour, seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. In a small bowl combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour and using a fork or pastry cutter, mix until there are little lumps throughout the flour. You may need to use less or more to achieve the lumps.
3. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365 degrees. Working in batches in order to avoid crowding the pan, thoroughly coat each buttermilk soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing the breading onto the chicken to adhere to the breading. Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time. Cover the pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn’t getting too brown. Turn, cover and cook another 3-5 minutes. Monitor the temperature of the oil to make sure the chicken doesn’t burn. Keep in mind the chicken will finish cooking in oven.
4. Place the fried chicken pieces on a baking rack and continue frying the rest of chicken. When done, bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.