Over the weekend, I caught Bobby Flay, and his new show "Throwdown with Bobby Flay." Basically, Bobby Flay (not my favorite Food Network chef/personality) drops in on an unsuspecting home cook, and challeges them in a culinary smackdown of their "signature" dish. Sometimes Bobby wins, sometimes the home cook brings home the gold. Somewhat entertaining, in small doses.
Anyway, the episode I saw was all about fried chicken! I was salivating. I knew then and there that I would be making fried chicken this week...it's been way too long since I licked my fingers clean. *grin*
The only fried chicken I had growing up was made by the one-and-only Colonel Sanders. (I still crave those god-awful FAKE mashed potatoes!) I only even attempted to my own fried chicken about 2 years ago, to bring on a picnic with my hunny. It was not a great success. However, my second time was a charm and now, I don't understand why you would want to spend $10.00 on a bucket of "chicken" when you can make it yourself for the price of a fryer bird - - that's about $2.64 where I live!
1 fryer chicken, cut up (or have the meat counter or butcher do it for you)
1 pint of buttermilk
4 cups of flour
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
8 cups of vegetable oil
Cut up chicken. In a large bowl, add chicken and all of the buttermilk. Cover and return to the refridgerator for a good 12-24 hours. (Don't skip this part!!!! The buttermilk breaks down the proteins in the chicken and leaves it super moist and tender!)
Place flour in a food storage bag. Add paprika, salt and peppers.
Heat oil in a large, wide skillet/stockpot to 350 degrees, or until a drop of water "dances" on the surface. Take out a piece of the buttermilk covered chicken, and drop into flour mixture. Shake to completely cover chicken. Drop service side down into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd your skillet!!!! It will drop the temperature of the oil, and make your chicken soggy. Cook approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or until golden brown. If you are browning too fast, your oil is too hot. Adjust the temperature - or else you will have a nice golden skin and raw meat. Place cooked chicken on a wire rack over a cookie sheet to drain any excess oil.
TIP: If you have a food thermometer, check to make sure your internal temperature reaches a safe 180 degrees. Or, do as I do and take out a little extra insurance...preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and throw those fried chicken pieces in for about 10 minutes! Sure, it's cheating...but at least you won't get salmonella poisoning!
Serve! And, remember - it's great the next day cold.