Stop what you’re doing right now. I’m not joking. Stop what you’re doing and make this fried chicken. You won’t regret it. You won’t remember what you were about to do that was so important. You will be too absorbed in how amazing this chicken is. Here, wait, I’ll buy you some time. All you have to do right this minute is make the marinade (it takes seconds), put the chicken in, and stick it in the fridge for two days. You can let it marinade for less time, but I wouldn’t skimp. The result is the moistest, most flavorful chicken – let alone fried chicken – you’ve ever had.
This recipe comes from The Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook, which has quickly become one of my all time favorite resources. Although this small Lower East Side spot is best known for its breakfast, their fried chicken is insane. And this recipe reproduces it perfectly. It’s fool proof. Even if you’ve never fried chicken before, never fear, this recipe will lead the way. While the marinade gives the meat its flavor, the simple flour and cornmeal coating creates a perfectly crisp exterior. Just be sure your oil is hot before you start frying.
We ate this for dinner. Then, we had it cold for lunch the next day. Finally, we cut the last scraps off the bone and enjoyed it in an almost healthy fried chicken salad. Since you’re the cook, you can use your favorite chicken pieces. While the most economical way is to cut up a whole chicken, I opted for just my favorites: drumsticks and breast. I served it with health salad and a quick warm potato salad (simply boiled new potatoes tossed them with mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley). Clinton St.’s buttermilk biscuits would also make an excellent side (and are a great use for any leftover buttermilk).
- 1 3- to 3½ pound chicken cut into pieces, or about 10 pieces of your choice
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 6 cups canola oil
- Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and coat well. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to two days.
- Whisk together the coating ingredients in a large bowl. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade (do not drain off excess marinade) and dredge in the coating one piece at a time. Coat well, covering all the nooks and crannies. Set aside on a plate. Reserve extra coating.
- Fill a large heavy-bottomed pan about halfway with canola oil (may be more or less than 6 cups). Heat the oil to 350F over medium heat, which will probably take 8 to 10 minutes. Be patient. You want this nice and hot. With tongs, carefully place the chicken skin-side down in the oil and fry the chicken in batches so they don't crowd the pan. Fry each piece for 7 to 8 minutes per side (wings will take less time). Once cooked on both sides the chicken will be dark brown and crispy.
- Be careful when removing the chicken from the oil. It will be very hot. Drain the chicken on a paper-towel-lined sheet pan. After your first batch, the temperature of the oil will dip so bring the temperature back up to 350F before adding the second batch. If the chicken has absorbed the coating before being fried dip it back in the coating before frying. Fry the remaining pieces. Allow the chicken to rest at least three minutes before serving.