Super-Crisp & Juicy Southern Fried Chicken


  • 1 Chicken, cut up into pieces (I used drumsticks)
  • Buttermilk
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon dried cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


Place chicken pieces into a very large bowl. Cover with buttermilk to which you’ve added 4 tablespoons or so of Louisiana Hot Sauce, or similar. Allow to brine in the buttermilk for an hour or longer. This makes the meat more tender and juicy. It really works, so don’t miss this step. Canola oil to fill a dutch oven 2 or 3 inches deep (or whatever method you prefer; some of you may have an electric fryer, deep fryer, etc. which is great. I just use a big chef pan.) Whisk all breading ingredients together in another large bowl. Add six tablespoons of buttermilk to the mixture and use your fingers to mix it into the flour until it is incorporated throughout flour and all looks crumbly. Place chicken pieces, one at a time, into flour mixture. Don’t just roll it around in there, but actually press the flour mixture into the chicken. It will stick and be a nice, thick coating on the chicken. Then, follow these directions from America’s Test Kitchen’s website: Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with 11-inch diameter over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Place chicken pieces, skin-side down, in oil, cover, and fry until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove lid after 4 minutes and lift chicken pieces to check for even browning; rearrange if some pieces are browning faster than others. At this point, oil should be about 300 degrees. Adjust burner, if necessary, to regulate temperature of oil. Turn chicken pieces over and continue to fry, uncovered, until chicken pieces are deep golden brown on second side, 6 to 8 minutes longer. At this point, to keep chicken from browning too quickly, adjust burner to maintain oil temperature of about 315 degrees. Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate lined with paper towels; let stand for five minutes to drain. I don’t use a thermometer, I just watch how it’s frying and how brown it looks, while timing it about 6 minutes on each side. Notes: I keep my chicken legs in milk in a ziploc bag in the fridge overnight. Then leave it on the counter for 30 mins to reach room temperature before cooking. I normally poach my legs in the milk for 15-20 mins depending on size of the legs, cool it. This is so the large legs get cooked before the breading. Then coat in egg wash ( 1-2 fork beaten egg) before the breading. It was much nicer than without the egg wash.

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