crunchyfriedchicken-653x400

via America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 4

  • 2 cups buttermilk plus 6 additional tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons table salt
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3½ pounds), cut into 8 pieces, giblets discarded, wings and back reserved for stock
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4–5 cups vegetable shortening or peanut oil
  1. Whisk together 2 cups buttermilk and salt in large bowl until salt is dissolved. Add chicken pieces to bowl and stir to coat; cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Don’t let chicken soak much longer or it will become too salty.)
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, thyme, pepper, and garlic powder together in large bowl. Add remaining 6 tablespoons buttermilk; with your fingers rub flour and buttermilk together until buttermilk is evenly incorporated into flour and mixture resembles coarse wet sand.
  3. Working in batches of two, drop chicken pieces into flour mixture and turn to thoroughly coat, gently pressing flour mixture onto chicken. Shake excess flour from each piece of chicken and transfer to wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Heat oil (it should measure ¾ inch deep) in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with 11-inch diameter over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Place chicken pieces, skin-side down, in oil, cover, and fry until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove lid after 4 minutes and lift chicken pieces to check for even browning; rearrange if some pieces are browning faster than others. (At this point, oil should be about 300 degrees. Adjust burner, if necessary, to regulate temperature of oil.) Turn chicken pieces over and continue to fry, uncovered, until chicken pieces are deep golden brown on second side, 6 to 8 minutes longer. (At this point, to keep chicken from browning too quickly, adjust burner to maintain oil temperature of about 315 degrees.) Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate lined with paper towels; let stand for 5 minutes to drain. Serve.