I thought my late mother’s fried chicken was the best I’d ever tasted, until my sister-in-law Jeanne Trocheck came up with this recipe. The secret is letting the chicken pieces soak, preferably overnight, in a bath of buttermilk spiced up with hot sauce. That, plus letting the flour-coated chicken pieces dry out on a raised wire rack before frying, gives you juicy, crispy fried chicken that really will make you want to slap your mama. Another secret is to keep the fried chicken warming in the oven until it’s time to serve. Look for a package of cut-up chicken, or buy a 4-pound chicken and cut it up yourself, discarding the backbone and wing tips. If the chicken breasts are overly large, cut them in half crosswise before marinating.
3 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 ½ lb. mixed bone-in chicken pieces
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Combine the buttermilk, salt, and hot sauce in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces, seal the bag, and place in a large shallow bowl. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place a wire cooling rack on top.
- Combine the flour, panko, poultry seasoning, paprika, and pepper in a shallow dish. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard the marinade). Dredge the chicken pieces thoroughly in the breading mixture, and then place them on the wire rack. Let stand for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken has come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat the oil to 350°F in a large cast-iron skillet. Fry the chicken, three or four pieces at a time, for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once. Remove the chicken to a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Place on a clean wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
From The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews. Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.