I’m Southern. I fry stuff….It’s my heritage. Deep fried lil’ smokies wrapped in bacon anyone??? However Kiddos, today’s lesson in Southern comfort food comes not from Grammy’s age-old-passed-down-for-generations recipe for old fashioned Fried Chicken but from Mr. Tyler Florence. (mostly because I don’t have one of those great family recipes, my Mom never fried chicken….Sacrilege right??? I agree)
I’ve been wanting to try Tyler’s original recipe since I first saw it on the Food Network for a couple of reasons: A) Tyler’s a cutie and I have a little crush on him… Wha?? Grammy’s still crush! And B) his ingredients and method totally intrigued me. So here it is:
Fried Chicken ala Cutie Patootie
- 1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces
- Kosher salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (recommended: Srirachi)
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
- 3 big sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/4 bunch fresh sage
- 1/2 head garlic, smashed, husk still attached
Start off by rinsing and trimming the chicken. Personally, I always take the skin off chicken before I fry it but that’s a matter of preference…Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl or container and cover with cold water, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt for every quart of water. Let chicken brine in salt water in fridge a minimum of 2 hours.
Don’t skip this step, brining will make all the difference in the moistness and juiciness of your fried chicken no matter what recipe you use….trust me! After brining, drain chicken and pat dry.
Mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne and black pepper in a gallon ziplock bag or large container.
Mix buttermilk and Srirachi in another bowl. *hint, I never buy buttermilk. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for a minute. Wahlah! Buttermilk!*
Dredge chicken pieces in seasoned flour, then dip in buttermilk mixture, then back in the flour. Lay the breaded pieces on a cookie sheet to rest while you work on flavoring the oil.
I used my FryDaddy but you can use a deep skillet for frying. If using a skillet, fill it with at least 2 inches of oil making sure there is enough room for the massive bubbling effect you’ll get when you add the chicken! This is why I use the deep fryer…
Add the garlic cloves, and fresh herb sprigs to the cool oil, and begin heating the oil. You want to heat to a temperature of 350-365. The idea is to flavor the oil with the herbs/garlic….
If at some point during all this you feel compelled to to have yourself a red beer (V8, beer, dash of worchestire sauce, think Bloody Mary with beer!) you go right ahead…frying chicken is a long hot job. You deserve a wee drinky-poo…Or a rather large one if you’re like me. Whatever..
When the oil has reached the proper temperature, start frying the chicken in batches. Please, please, pleeeeeease don’t overcrowd the pieces!! Overcrowding will cause the chicken to be less crispy…you always want to leave plenty of room around each piece. If using a skillet, resist the urge to turn and turn and turn the pieces! Only turn them once, each side will take approximately 12 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 165. I use a meat thermometer, I don’t trust chicken as it’s lied to me repeatedly. It looks all golden brown and yummy on the outside but inside it’s still undercooked…
Remove pieces to paper towels or a brown paper bag to drain, garnish with the fried herbs.
And there you have it, a sort of non traditional version of Fried Chicken…and it was yummy! However, Hubs and I could not tell the difference in the taste as opposed to my normal fried chicken…disappointing. I had such high hopes for an explosion of flavors! Infusing the oil with herbs is such a culinary thing to do..*sighhh* It was juicy and flavorful but aside from the Srirachi and the herby oil thing it was very close to my recipe. Oh well……
Ya know, now that I think about it, I betcha I messed something up….I betcha if I had a personal demonstration from Chef Cutie-pie Florence, in my own kitchen, I could learn the error of my ways….
Yep, that’s exactly what is needed here in order to accurately judge his recipe against mine…
So here’s my recipe….judge for yourself. (Personal visit from Tyler is optional…)
Grammy’s Fried Chicken
For the brine:
- 2 quarts water
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
Cut up chicken. Remove skins and trim excess fat.
Mix all brine ingredients together in large pot, simmer until salt has dissolved. Allow to cool. Pour over chicken in a large ziplock bag or container with lid. Brine in the fridge for 6-8 hours. (I usually do this part in the morning before work, and then it’s ready to fry when I get home)
Remove chicken from brine, rinse and pat dry.
For the breading:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups milk mixed with 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Canola or peanut oil
Mix first 6 ingredients together in large ziplock bag.
Mix milk, lemon juice and black pepper in large bowl.
Dip chicken pieces one at a time in flour mixture, then milk mixture, then flour mixture again. Let breaded chicken rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
Fry chicken pieces in batches in oil heated to 350 in either deep fryer or large skillet deep enough to hold 2 inches of oil.
Drain on paper towels.
I hope you enjoy your Fried Chicken, whichever you recipe you choose! And please, let me know which one you try!! So you know, when Tyler comes over we can debate the merits of each others recipes….