Pioneer Woman’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken

buttermilk-fried-chicken-pioneer-woman-016.jpg

Servings: 6      Prep Time: 20 minutes      Cook Time: 40 minutes

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cookbook: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond

There are a few secrets that I learned from Ree. The first is the buttermilk bath overnight (no, not you, the chicken). Second, mixing the flour with a bit of the buttermilk makes the breading a little shaggy, which is perfect for maximum crispiness volume. Lastly, baking the chicken after frying ensures that the chicken is cooked through without burning the skin.

serves 6-8 hungry ranch hands (halve recipe if you you're feedin' normal city folk)

Ingredients:

2 cut-up fryer chickens
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk, divided
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup milk
canola or vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

1. In a large bowl (or 2 freezer bags) add the chicken with only 1 quart of the buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove chicken from bowl and let sit on counter for 30 minutes to take chill off.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and use a fork to mix until little lumps throughout.

3. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365F. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing to adhere the breading. Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time. Cover pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn't getting too brown. Turn, cover and cook additional 3-5 minutes more. Monitor temperature of oil to make sure chicken doesn't burn. Keep in mind chicken will finish cooking in oven.

4. Place chicken on baking sheet and continue frying rest of chicken. When done, bake the chicken for 20 minutes, until chicken cooked through.