Southern Fried Chicken is a true Southern classic with its delightfully golden and perfectly crispy crust and tender, juicy meat. Marinated in buttermilk and cooked to perfection, the first bite is nothing less than a flavor explosion in your mouth.
6chicken thighs(skin on with bones, or six assorted chicken pieces)
⅓cuphot sauce(I use Frank's Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce; you can also use Tabasco Sauce)
Seasoned flour coating
1tablespoonground black pepper
1quartpeanut oil(the amount may vary depending on the size of the pan you are using)
Combine the buttermilk, garlic, and hot sauce in a large bowl.
Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours or up to 24 hours. The longer, the better.
About an hour before you are ready to fry, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let everything come to room temperature. Doing this will allow the meat to cook more evenly.
Add the flour, salt, and pepper to a large gallon-size plastic storage bag.
Remove one piece at a time from the buttermilk and allow any excess to drip off. Place the piece in the bag with the flour mixture and shake so that the chicken is evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour and place it on a wire rack.
Once all of the pieces have been coated with flour, allow them to sit on the rack for about 30 minutes to firm up the coating.
When you are ready to fry, pour the oil in a deep cast-iron Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet. You may need a little less or more oil, depending on the size of your pan. The oil should be approximately one to one and one-half inches deep.
Place the pan over medium-high heat and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Use a candy or deep-frying thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil.
Carefully add a few pieces and be sure not to crowd them. I usually cook three pieces at a time.
The oil temperature will come down once the chicken has been added. It is crucial to continually monitor it and I have found; 315 degrees F. is the perfect oil temperature for frying chicken. You will probably need to adjust the heat under the pan to keep it at 315 degrees. If the oil gets too hot, the crust will burn before the meat is done, and if it is too low, the chicken will be greasy.
Fry for a total of 10-20 minutes. Dark meat and larger pieces will take more time to cook. White meat and smaller pieces will take less time to cook. Try to cook the same size pieces at the same time.
Both white and dark meat is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Use an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the meat not touching the bone to determine the temperature.
When the chicken is done, place it on a wire rack over some paper towels to allow it to cool slightly before serving. Do not put it directly on the paper towels or your crust will get soggy.
Repeat the steps above to fry the rest of the chicken.
The temperature of the oil can make the difference between a golden-brown and underdone or a burned crust. You must use a candy or deep-frying thermometer to monitor your oil temperature.
Your meat will cook more uniformly if you remove it from the refrigerator about an hour before you fry it.
I prefer to fry thighs. One because dark meat is much more forgiving and more flavorful, and two, because the same size pieces will cook in approximately the same amount of time. If you prefer white meat and the breasts are large, cut them up into two or three pieces. For assorted pieces, keep in mind they will each take a different amount of time to cook.
If the crust browns too quickly, before the meat is done, remove it from the oil. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and place the underdone chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until it reaches the correct internal temperature.
A regular cast-iron skillet is perfect for frying. But I like to use a deep cast-iron Dutch oven because it helps to minimize the chances of grease splatter.
To reheat, place the pieces on a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet in a 400-degree oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Start checking it at 10 minutes.
If you are feeding a crowd, there is more than enough buttermilk marinade, flour mixture, and oil to cook up a few more pieces.
You can make this recipe on the stove, or you can use a deep-fryer. I have not tested it in an air-fryer.