When it comes to fried chicken, you have to trust the South: no one knows better than Southerners when it comes to battering and frying chicken. We get the need to experiment when it comes to food, but when dealing with fried chicken I suggest going all classic all the time. When it comes to a dish like fried chicken it isn’t about the latest culinary advances that makes it great, but tradition. In a great fried chicken recipe you can almost taste the history. It’s not the ingredients that make it special, but the passing down of little tips through generations that make all the difference between good fried chicken and one that’s transcendental. Fritters have existed in Europe since the middle ages. The Scots, and later Scottish immigrants to the southern United States, had a tradition of deep frying chicken in fat, unlike their English counterparts who baked or boiled chicken. I prefer fried one, so let’s see how to prepare it!
4 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 chicken drumsticks
4 cups buttermilk
Canola oil, for frying
Mix the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dry mustard powder together in a bowl. Divide the spices evenly between 2 mixing bowls. Add the flour to 1 of the bowls, mix well, and set aside. Rub the chicken drumsticks with the reserved spice mix. Poke all of the pieces with a fork a few times to let the flavors seep down into the meat. Set aside. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cook’s Note: You can also let the chicken marinate longer, even overnight.
Add the flour mixture to a large re-sealable plastic bag. Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk and in batches, drop them into the bag, shaking them to make sure they become heavily coated. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 360 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.)
Drop the coated chicken drumsticks into the hot oil. Turn the pieces as they brown and do not let them touch each other while frying. Work in batches, if necessary check the underside of a piece by lifting it with tongs. It should be a deep golden brown. Cook the chicken until the pieces are crispy and brown, about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
To test for doneness: Cut into the thickest part of a drumstick. The juices should run clear and the meat should be opaque throughout. If necessary, pop the chicken into a preheated 325°F oven, until they are fully cooked. Transfer the fried chicken to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain the excess oil. Transfer the drumsticks onto a serving platter, or put into a bucket. Serve fried chicken hot.