One-Batch Fried Chicken
Inspired by the pressure-frying machine in which Colonel Sanders created his famous fried chicken, we set out to find a faster way to fry that would get all the chicken on the table at the same time. To season the meat and keep it moist, we soaked bone-in chicken pieces in a mixture of buttermilk and salt. To season the flour dredge, we used Italian seasoning blend (a mix of dried oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, and sage) instead of buying a long list of dried herbs. Granulated garlic, ground ginger, and celery salt added savory notes; both black and white peppers added pleasant, mild heat; and a bit of baking powder ensured a crunchy, not tough, exterior. Several tablespoons of buttermilk rubbed into the seasoned flour created a shaggy coating that, after a rest in the refrigerator, adhered nicely to the skin and fried up into a satisfying crunchy crust. For fast frying, we cooked the chicken all in one batch and covered the pot for the first half of cooking. The lid allowed the oil, which dropped in temperature when we added the chicken, to quickly heat up again. We let the pieces fry undisturbed so the coating set almost entirely around each piece before flipping and frying the chicken uncovered for the second half of cooking.
Brine and Chicken
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (2 split breasts cut in half crosswise, 2 drumsticks, and 2 thighs), trimmed
- 1 ½ quarts peanut or vegetable oil
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons white pepper
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon celery salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons buttermilk
Use a Dutch oven that holds 6 quarts or more. To take the temperature of the chicken pieces, take them out of the oil and place them on a plate; this is the safest way and provides the most accurate reading.
1. FOR THE BRINE AND CHICKEN: Whisk buttermilk and salt in large bowl until salt is dissolved. Submerge chicken in buttermilk mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
2. FOR THE COATING: Whisk flour, white pepper, pepper, celery salt, granulated garlic, ginger, Italian seasoning, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Add buttermilk and, using your fingers, rub flour mixture and buttermilk together until craggy bits form throughout.
3. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Working with 2 pieces of chicken at a time, remove from buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip off, then drop into flour mixture, turning to thoroughly coat and pressing to adhere. Transfer to prepared rack, skin side up. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.
4. Set second wire rack in second rimmed baking sheet and line with triple layer of paper towels. Add oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 1 inch deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Add all chicken to oil, skin side down in single layer (some slight overlap is OK) so that pieces are mostly submerged. Cover and fry for 10 minutes, rotating pot after 5 minutes. Adjust burner, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature around 300 degrees.
5. Uncover pot (chicken will be golden on sides and bottom but unset and gray on top) and carefully flip chicken. Continue to fry, uncovered, until chicken is golden brown and breasts register 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees, 7 to 9 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to paper towel—lined rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve.