Fried chicken is, without question, the quintessential American Sunday dinner dish. The grease, the crunch, the salt–just thinking about is making our mouths water.
And whether eaten at your Southern grandmother’s house or from your local diner or dive, fried chicken is the no-fuss, unpretentious, and extremely satisfying end to a lazy weekend. But, a lot of people are hesitant to take the plunge into the world of at home frying–something about popping grease and burnt arms.
So, we teamed up with Chef Doug Adams from Season 12 of Top Chef and former executive chef of Imperial Restaurant, and Mike Whitehead, founder and owner of Finex Cast Iron Cookware Company, to assuage your fears and bring you this easy, tasty, and ultimately, what we think is the best fried chicken recipe on either side of the Mississippi.
But, there are no deep fryers here. The secret to this recipe’s success is in the cookware. Only thick, quality, heat-retaining cast iron can give you the crunchy, crispy breaded exterior and perfectly moist interior so necessary to a satiating piece of fried bird. Watch above as Chef Doug Adams schools you on the art of chicken frying from the kitchen of Imperial Restaurant in this first video in a series teaching you how to cook with cast iron.
Fried Chicken as Prepared by Chef Doug Adams
- 2 bone-in chicken drumsticks
- 2 bone-in chicken thighs
- 4 cups AP flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 2 tbsp cayenne
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 gallon buttermilk
- 1 qt. rice oil
- Kosher salt
- Louisiana style hot sauce
1. Place chicken in a large tupperware container. Season with kosher salt and cover with buttermilk. Add a few large dashes of hot sauce and stir. Let sit overnight
2. Fill a large, 12-inch cast iron skillet with rice oil 2/3 of the way to the top and heat over low/medium heat. Take your time getting the cast iron hot. The key to success is a consistent constant temperature of the pan and, ultimately, the oil. Your aiming for the perfect frying temperature of 325F for bone-in fried chicken. Any cooking thermometer will do the job, so keep checking the oil until it achieves the correct temperature. Be patient; perfection doesn’t come quickly.
3. While the oil is coming up to temperature, combine both flours and all the spices into a shallow dish and mix well. Remove the chicken legs and thighs from the buttermilk and bread in the flour and spice mixture, making the coating as thick or as thin as you desire. You can even double bread by re-dipping the chicken in the buttermilk mixture after the first round and re-breading afterward.
4. Add the chicken to the oil one piece at a time. Do not crowd the pan. Turn the legs and thighs every few minutes until all sides are golden brown and crispy. Season generously. Serve with your choice of pickles, herbs, hot sauce, honey, or even fish sauce. In the end, it’s all good–the choice is yours–and so is the chicken. Enjoy!