Fried Chicken

Ingredients

Buttermilk marinade

  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Chicken

  • 2 chickens (smaller birds are better for this recipe), cut up into pieces
  • 1200ml cooking oil of your choice
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground celery seeds
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

Method

To make the buttermilk marinade

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk together with the cayenne, Old Bay, salt, pepper, Tabasco and honey. Put the chicken pieces in the mixing bowl and submerge them in the buttermilk marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put it in the fridge and let the chicken marinate for at least 12 hours.

To bread and fry the chicken

Pull the chicken out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature, still in the marinade (this will take about 45 minutes). Preheat the oven to 90°C.

Heat the oil in a deep pot or a deep-fryer over high heat. The oil should be 15cm deep, and it should be so hot that it starts popping (about 175°C). A good rule of thumb: if you drop a pinch of flour into the oil and it fries up immediately, you're good to go.

While the oil is heating, combine the flour, paprika, chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Old Bay, cayenne pepper, celery seeds, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix things around with your hands so everything is distributed evenly. Pour half the mixture into a small bowl and set it aside.

Add the flour to the large bowl and mix well. When the oil is hot, pull a piece of chicken out of the marinade. Put it right into the dredging flour bowl and heap flour on top of it; flip it around until the chicken is completely coated. Do the same with each piece until there's no more space in the bowl.

Pick up a piece of chicken, give it a light shake (just enough to get rid of the really loose bits of flour), and use your hands or a pair of tongs to drop it into the frying pot. Do the same with the rest of the chicken pieces. (You will definitely need to fry your chicken in batches, unless you've got some really big bowls and pots.)

Let the chicken fry for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Pull the chicken pieces out of the fryer with tongs and put them on a rack set on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with the seasoning mixture, using the tongs to turn the pieces so they are coated on all sides.

Put the baking sheet in the oven. The chicken pieces should rest in the oven for at least 10 minutes, so that the cooking process finishes. Meanwhile, fry up the next batch of chicken.

Hold the fried chicken in the oven until all the pieces are fried and rested and you're ready to serve it up. Then pile the chicken on a big plate, put it in the center of the table with biscuits, collards and slaw, and let everybody start grabbing pieces. I guarantee it will disappear fast.

See the recipe to make Honey-Butter Biscuits here.