It doesn’t get much better than the southern classic staple that is buttermilk fried chicken, y’all. I’m talking about extra delicious buttermilk brined fried chicken with loads of juicy flavor and that signature crunch!
I am so excited to be sharing this fried chicken recipe with you! Like stupidly geeked about it, y’all. Listen, I’m even more pumped that it’s Black History Month too! Every year since I’ve started this website, I’ve had the pleasure of teaming up with other Black creatives for a special event. I know you’re thinking, Quin, what exactly do you mean by that? Well, lemme tell ya. Myself and a whole gang of us get together (virtually) to commemorate and honor recipes rich within the African diaspora and beyond for Black History Month.
Food is such a vehicle for way more than nourishment; it can tell a story and you learn about someone’s history and their roots. It goes without saying that the American culinary experience is nothing without the impact of African American food ways. Thus, what a phenomenal month it is to celebrate our culture through the lens of food. With recipes like braised ribs to chicken wings to stewed okra to hoppin’ john fritters to candied yams to biscuits to coconut layer cakes, we’ve got your belly covered and then some. You don’t wanna miss the goodness! See a sampling of some of the amazing participant recipes down below.
Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken
So, without any further explanation, my contribution to our virtual potluck shindig this year is fried chicken! Look, I cannot explain the feelings I have within my bones whenever I get some good ole fried chicken in my system. It is quintessential comfort food at its finest. This staple has rich ties within the deep South and much of any Black cook’s repertoire will likely include it. When done right, there is truly nothing like it!
What Makes For The Best Fried Chicken?
Quality of chicken: I highly recommend sourcing organic or all-natural free range chicken (if you can!) for the best tasting fried chicken, however, I know this may not be accessible to everyone. Feel free to use any kind of chicken you’d like instead- and spring for whatever pieces of the bird are your favorite!
Flavor, flavor, flavor: We don’t just want flavor on the outside of the chicken, nah, great fried chicken will have the flavor penetrating to the bone as well. How is this achieved? By brining the chicken and using a buttermilk soak method. A brine is a flavor enhancer that essentially serves as a spice/herb bath for the chicken (very similar to brining a turkey for Thanksgiving). Additionally, a buttermilk soak helps to lock in moisture by tenderizing the chicken. These two methods combined yield the most flavorful fried chicken!
Handy Equipment: A good ole deep cast-iron skillet comes in clutch for frying chicken. Additionally, you can use a heavy bottomed dutch oven that is also amazing. I always recommend having a deep fry thermometer on hand so you know the exact temperature of the oil while frying.
What Kind Of Oil Is Best For Frying
This recipe calls for *peanut oil* as it is such a nice oil for deep frying and it laces the chicken with even more flavor. Although, you can use any oil with a high smoke point. For example, vegetable oil, canola oil, and corn oil are the next best thing. I know you’re wondering…What to do with leftover oil?
This is a common question when it comes to making fried chicken or any other recipes requiring oil for frying. Here’s what to do: Save the container/vessel that your oil came in for storing/discarding your oil. Allow your used oil to cool completely, then strain the oil to get rid of any bits/debris, and use a funnel to pour the oil back into the container. You can then reuse the oil as needed or simply discard it.
Do I Have To Brine The Chicken?
I know this will be a commonly asked question and while I highly recommend brining your chicken, the answer is no. As I mentioned earlier in this post, the brining process enables your chicken to have more intense flavor. Just like how many folks brine their turkeys for the holidays, it yields even tastier fried chicken. If you prefer, you can skip the brining step and go straight to the buttermilk soak.
Can I Store This Fried Chicken?
Okayyy, look, fried chicken is one of those meals that is truly at its very best only when fresh. That signature crisp and crunch just cannot be maintained once it goes in the fridge, I’m just being honest. However, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days, if you wish. I recommend reheating fried chicken in the oven at about 350° for 12-15 minutes.
What To Serve Alongside This Chicken
Because you can’t serve this chicken alone: Any of these side items will pair beautifully with this fried chicken!
I sure do hope you guys enjoy this fried chicken recipe! It’s our favorite over here! There isn’t a more fitting recipe that’s perfect for potlucks and cozy comforting dinners alike. Don’t forget to check out more of our Black History Month Virtual Potluck recipes- I’ve linked to some of them directly below the recipe card 🖤
REMEMBER TO LEAVE A ⭐️STAR RATING⭐️AND TAG ME ON THE ‘GRAM IF YOU MAKE ANY OF MY RECIPES! I ALWAYS LOVE TO SEE IT WHEN YOU DO!
In a large stockpot/dutch oven over high heat, pour 2 quarts of the water in along with the salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and bay leaves. Allow the mixture to come up to a rolling boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and pour in remaining 1 quart of water. Transfer the brine into the refrigerator to cool down completely for at least 2 hours. Once the brine is chilled, it is ready to use. Place the chicken pieces into a large bowl or container and proceed with the next step.
Pour the brine over the chicken pieces and make sure all of the chicken pieces are fully submerged underneath the brine. Transfer the bowl/container into the refrigerator to allow the chicken to rest for at least 6 hours in the brine. Then take the vessel out of the refrigerator and remove the chicken from the brine and discard the liquid.
In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and hot sauce together. Add in the drained chicken pieces into the buttermilk soak and turn the pieces around a few times to fully coat. Transfer the bowl into the refrigerator to soak for at least 6 hours.
After soaking in the buttermilk mixture, place the chicken pieces into a colander or other vessel to drain the chicken and then discard the buttermilk soak.
Seasoned Flour Dredge & Frying The Chicken
Heat a 10-inch or larger cast-iron skillet (or a heavy bottomed pot such as a dutch oven), over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. Allow the oil to reach a temperature of 350°F (using a deep fry thermometer will help to know when you achieve optimal frying time!).
While the oil is heating up, prepare the seasoned flour dredge in a large shallow bowl. Combine the flour, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and white pepper together. Whisk everything together to fully combine.
Take each piece of chicken and dredge it into the seasoned flour, making sure to fully coat the chicken on all sides. And shake off any excess flour. Then transfer the chicken to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack in place, repeat this process until all of the chicken pieces are dredged.
Once the temperature of the oil has reached 350°F (and should be at this temperature consistently), add in a few pieces of chicken- making sure to not overcrowd the pan. Look for the oil to come up to the tops of the chicken. Fry the chicken until they get a nice deep golden brown color, about 14-15 minutes (with an internal thermometer temperature of 165°F).
Use tongs or a slotted spatula to transfer the fried chicken to a wire rack to drain and repeat the process until all of the chicken is fried. Serve warm alongside side dishes and enjoy!