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Fried Chicken Night Is Second to No Night

March 10, 2010

The gameplan:

Night before:

Throw chicken pieces (if you’re not doing a whole cut-up bird, use thighs, because thighs are the best, boneless for less hassle, bone-in for more tasty) into a bowl, pour in buttermilk until covered (be sure to take a swig or two of that buttermilk for yourself because yum, buttermilk!), then chuck in a LOT of the following: paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, salt, pepper. When you feel like you’ve put in enough, put in some more. It should be reddish. It should smell like pure, uncut nose dynamite. It should be next to impossible not to just slurp it all down right then and there. Probably don’t want to, but I’m not the boss of you. Mix it all up, cover, and fridge it overnight.

Day of:

Pull the chicken bowl out and take another whiff. Get real excited. In a second bowl dump in some flour and spike the flour with the same mix of paprika, cayenne, powders of garlic, onion, and mustard, and s&p. Again, in this case, less is less and you want more so sprinkle away with abandon. Add a bit of baking powder, and then here’s the secret step: take a few tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture that the chicken’s sitting it and dump it in the flour mix. Stir it around a bit and let some little clumps form–when you drop the buttermilk-coated chicken in the flour mixture, these cling to the chicken and make for a whole extra layer of little craggy crunchies. In my mind I call them chingleberries. I have been known at this point to take the chicken and send it back through school again with another buttermilk bath and second coating of floury chingleberries. This basically becomes like working with an unstable isotope whose structural integrity could collapse at any moment, but if you want the actual chicken inside to be an afterthought, this is the way to go.

Heat oil (I like to use corn, and make sure to save it afterwards. Last night had some that was right in the sweet spot–generally, the second or third time using the same oil is spectacular, then it completely dies and becomes a brown puddle of muck.) to 350 or so and in they go:

Sizzly. Order up:

Can’t have fried chicken without buttermilk biscuits, right? Had a small philosophical argument with L about biscuits, in which she claimed not to see the point of biscuits unless they have cheese or other goodies in them. My point was that butter and airy flakiness make pretty compelling arguments of their own. But she’s right that adding cheese never hurt anything. Hence, cheddar biscuits:

The big pappa biscuit was made from all the scraps left over after cutting out the others, wadded up into a ball. A biscuit of that magnitude pretty much calls for one thing:


6 Comments leave one →
  1. jordan permalink
    March 10, 2010 5:36 am

    oh my effing lord. I think I will plan my next visit to chicago around fried chicken night.

  2. dan permalink
    March 11, 2010 3:26 am

    i deepfried for the first time last week. i had no idea what i was doing. now i’m ready for round two. thank you.

  3. Shannon permalink
    March 12, 2010 4:01 am

    Love the chickabiscuitwich!!

  4. Brad Hooper permalink
    March 17, 2010 6:53 pm

    Yes, biscuits need no justification nor job.

  5. Vicky permalink
    August 29, 2010 8:55 pm

    Biscuit recipe please?

    • measinstu permalink*
      August 31, 2010 8:10 pm


      I don’t really have a recipe but I tend to go with a 3-1-2 ratio (easy for me to remember b/c it’s a Chicago area code), so 3 parts flour, 1 part butter, and 2 parts buttermilk. Once that’s mixed (and maybe some cheese or bacon or scallions or other goodies thrown in) the plan is to roll out the dough, fold it over on itself a few times, roll out again, fold in on itself a few times (how many times I do this generally relies on how much time I have–sometimes I don’t do it at all but if you take the time it helps create those terrific biscuit fluffy layers). Then, cut out circles and bake in a fairly hot oven, say 400 degrees or so, til delicious, maybe 10-15 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

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