Buttermilk Fried Chicken
PUBLISHED ON: 07.11.2010
I am a Thomas Keller fan. Although, his recipes can involve a number of steps and are considered time consuming, which are the two things that I avoid most in cooking, I always seem to make an exception for a Thomas Keller recipe.
Last Sunday, was the 4th of July and lucky for us, it was also our Sunday Supper gathering. This was a perfect time to serve up a great American tradition that has not graced our family table in a long time.
Thomas Keller brines his chicken for 12 hours in a herb-lemon brine which seasons the meat and helps it stay juicy. I would never have thought to brine chicken before frying. Now, I could not imagine not doing it.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Recipe from Thomas Keller
5 lemons, halved
24 bay leaves
1 bunch (4 ounces) flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch (1 ounce) thyme
1/2 cup clover honey
1 head garlic, halved through the equator
1/4 cup peppercorns
2 cups (10 ounces) kosher salt
2 gallons water
Note: the key ingredient here is the lemon, which goes wonderfully with chicken, as do the herbs: bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. This amount of brine will be enough for 10 pounds.
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover and bring to boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely, then chill before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
For Dredging and Frying:
Peanut or canola oil
1 quart buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ground fleur de sel or fne sea salt
Rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnish
Cut each chicken into 10 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, and 2 wings. Pour the brine into a container large enough to hold the chicken pieces, add in the chicken, and refrigerate for 12 hours (no longer, or the chicken may become too salty).
Remove the chicken from the brine (discard the brine) and rinse under cold water, removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin. Pat dry with paper towels, or let air dry. Let rest at room temperature for
1-1/12 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
If you have two large pots (about 6 inches deep) and a lot of oil, you can cook the dark meat and white meat. No matter what size pot you have, the oil should not come more than one-third of the way up the sides of the pot. Fill the pot with at least 2 inches of peanut oil and heat to 320 degrees F. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
Meanwhile, combine all the coating ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer half the coating to a second large bowl. Pour the buttermilk into a third bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set up a dipping station: the chicken pieces, one bowl of coating, the bowl of buttermilk, the second bowl of coating, and the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Just before frying, dip the chicken thighs into the first bowl of coating, turning to coat and patting off the excess; dip them into the buttermilk, allowing the excess to run back into the bowl; then dip them into a second bowl of coating. Transfer to the parchment lined-lined pan.
Carefully lower the highs into the hot oil. Adjust the heat as necessary to return the oil to the proper temperature. Fry for 2 minutes, then carefully move the pieces around in the oil and continue to fry monitoring the oil temperature and turning the pieces as necessary for even cooking, for 11 to 12 minutes, until the chicken is a deep golden brown, cooked through and very crisp. meanwhile, coat the chicken drumsticks and transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Transfer the cooked thighs to the cooling rack skin-side up and let rest while you fry the remaining chicken. Make sure that the oil is at the correct temperature, and cook the chicken drumsticks. When the drumsticks are done, lean them meat side up against the thighs to drain, then sprinkle the chicken with fine se salt.
Turn the heat and heat he oil to 340 degrees F. Meanwhile, coat the chicken breasts and wings. Carefully lower the chicken breasts into the hot oil and fry for 7 minutes, or until golden brown, cooked through, and crisp. Transfer to the rack, sprinkle with salt, and turn skin side up. Cook the wings for 6 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the wings to the rack and turn off the heat.
Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Add the herb sprigs to the oil (which will still be hot) and them cook and crisp for a few seconds, then arrange them over the chicken.
Note: This may be the best fried chicken that you have ever tasted. However, cooking the chicken pieces throughly was a bit of a challenge for me. Thomas Keller suggests purchasing chicken from a farmers market to get small chicken as they are easier to cook properly. I will be making this fried chicken many more times and honing my skills at perfecting it.
Gotta get some chicken wings to try the recipe…love the brine!
I agree – the brine is the real winner here – I am gonna give this a try
Wow!! That looks wonderful! I've never fried chicken, imagining a greasy mess all over my kitchen, but this is so tempting!
That looks amazing and I believe this is the most sophisticated brine recipe I've seen. I can imagine how good it will make the meat – I've been wanting fried chicken.
At least with a Thomas Keller recipe you know that all of your hard work will be SO worth it in the end. What delicious looking fried chicken!
I usually use my deep fryer for these types of food…quite a brine!
Lovely brine to make such splendid buttermilk chicken. Lovely really crisp and mouthwatering! I have a crispy baked chicken recipe sitting in the draft to be posted soon.
The lemon brine is similar to a chicken marinade from my Carmine's Italian Family Cookbook. The chicken looks absolutely fantastic and I know that it was packed with flavor and extremely tender. Definitely a skill worth perfecting. Looks amazing!!
That brine is indeed splendid – filled with ingredients I always have around for summer. The chicken looks amazing – I tend to read Keller for eye-candy and never cook his recipes! Shame on me – yay for you!
This looks great. I have been meaning to make this recipe!
We Are Not Martha
I've been wanting to make this recipe foreverrr, but I, like you, am a tad bit nervous. You make it look pretty doable, but I'm still worried about cooking the chicken all the way true.But, I'll definitely be trying it soon… Thanks for the motivation!Sues
Sometimes I just crave fried chicken. Yours looks fabulous! It looks like you had a fabulous spread for the 4th!
I love fried chicken but haven't been too happy with it the past several times I've made it. Thanks for the excellent tips, Velva. Good point about the farmers market chicken. I've noticed that the birds are much smaller than in the grocery and would work much better I'm sure.
looks very scrumptious to me !! Pierre
Recipe for Delicious
That does sound pretty labour intensive, but I'm adding it to my list. Great job! It looks delectable!
SavoringTime in the Kitchen
I haven't had fried chicken in far too long! What perfect picnic fare for summer and TK's recipe sounds delicious with both the brine and the seasoned coating. Thanks for all of the tips!
Velva I love this fried chicken my son die for for this! but I never make! I will se your recipe. Thanks for stopping by in my blog! gloria
I hear so much about brining but still haven't tried it…I suppose I'm lazy. But I'm inspired now! This chicken looks insanely delicious – so crispy and I bet the lemon flavor is glorious.
Looks perfect to me! I buy kosher chickens, they're already soaked and salted, but the lemon brine sounds so good, I'll have to try it! Great looking table!
wow che meraviglia!!complimenti!
W-O-W! Looks just amazing! That brining solution must really take it over the top.
You take your picnic food seriously because that chicken rocks! I want to get a copy of Ad Hoc, I've heard only great things about it.
From the Kitchen
I'm southern bred and fried chicken is my favorite. This looks delicious and so does everything surrounding it. Thanks for sharing.Best,Bonnie
T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types
I have never brined chicken, but it sounds pretty tasty. And don't those chicken pieces look bronze and beautiful!
I have to say… I am a vegetarian but when my husband made the Thomas Keller recipe I did try a small bite…. it was awesome!
Velva…Fried chicken is my favorite food ever…Yours looks crispy and delicious! Great pictures too.
Absolutely delicious and so crispy.Another winner ♥
Thanks for sharing this recipe and your lovely photos. Looks like you had quite a fine feast for the 4th! I always love reading tips from other home cooks about their experiences making recipes from the \”legends\” 🙂
Adventures in Domestic Cooking
This fried chicken looks finger lickin good!!=)
Yummy fried chicken. You are busy as a bee!
TK's recipe are a little time consuming but the end result is always super tasty. So just like you, this is the only time I can make an exception. Your chicken looks simply perfect 🙂
I am a fan of Keller too…but I have always been reluctant to try his recipes. I don't know why. This looks amazing I think I will give it a whirl 🙂
That looks so delicious!! Brining seems to be the key to tender meat for many meats!!
Your fried chicken looks fabulous! Thomas Keller's recipes usually are pretty good and they should be with all the steps! I just did some \”frying\” the other evening. It is a mess and nor something I do often, but for certain things, it is worth it.
chow and chatter
looks like the perfect fried chicken
My Little Space
My goodness, the fried chicken sounds crispy delicious! Love the spices in it. Am going to make this tonight. Yummm… Thanks! Hope you're having a wonderful day.Cheers, Kristy
I have seen it brined before but I've never tried it. It looks fantastic! I rarely fry up chicken but I sure love eating it!! Yum!
Hi Velva,Thank you so much for your lovely visit,I loved your recipes and I'm taking your link with me, so I can follow your amazing website.Cheers,Lia.
Our little grocery in our home town always seems to have small chickens. I might just have to give this brining a try. I've seen it on TV a couple of times and with such high recommendations it sounds like its worth the effort.
Your chicken looks delicious, better than the Colonel's! I'm a huge fan of Thomas Keller's so I know this recipe is good! That's very interesting with the brine and a must try!
i bet the honey was the perfect touch too!! wow i havent seen fried chicken in ages, and i dont think ive ever seen it made THIS GOOD!YUMMMMM
I watched Tyler Florence brine his fried chicken once and copied the recipe. My family really likes my fried chicken, which I soak in buttermilk, but I still haven't tried it this way. Your photos look so delicious, Velva, that I think I better copy this out and try it next time I make fried chicken.
I'm going to read over your directions again! I used to make good fried chicken but the last couple of times, it was not that good. I don't know if I should blame it on the chicken…but I've just about given up making this dish! Maybe I should try again! ♥
The Short (dis)Order Cook
Beautiful! I love fried chicken. I love the fact that it's having such a revival. Maybe Thomas Keller is a bit over the top,but it sure looks good. Finally even the high=end chefs are figuring out comfort food.
Wow does that look good!! I haven't had fried chicken in ages Velva
Hehe snap at brining/salt chicken recipes! Yours looks fantastic! I do love fried chicken! 😀
WOW.. brining before frying chicken does sound brilliant. I will have to try that next time!! It looks so juicy and damned delicious!
Fresh Local and Best
It would have never occurred to me to brine chicken before deep frying either, but I do it for all other occasions, why not this? The chicken must be so tender, succulent and juicy.
That looks amazing! Your dinner guests are very lucky people indeed!
Thanks for sharing, nice post!
It's wrong to want fried chicken before 8am, right?
I've had the privilege of trying this recipe at a local restaurant, and it's amazing. Must eat hot hot hot!
HELLO! What a great post girl, love this dish!
3 hungry tummies
Hey Velva the chicken looks amazing! I recently won a southern cookbook and fried chicken is going to be the first recipe I am going to try 🙂
I love fried chicken!!!This sounds wonderful and looks so crispy and delicious.
Chef Dennis Littley
you really know your way around fried chicken! no one knows about brining anymore….I can only imagine how incredible it tastes…..Northerners don't know chicken….sigh
Oh my gosh, Velva, this looks so delicious. What are you trying to do to me? I'm trying not to eat meat over here (smile). Really, this looks wonderful, Velva. Like my Georgia mama used to make…
Wow! Thanks for sharing this! I wish I was at your house for July 4th:) I love fried chicken and have not had luck making it at home. I am really looking forward to trying this one out. I know I will love this chicken for sure.
I've made buttermilk fried chicken before, but never thought to brine it – love it!I am going to see if my library has any Thomas Keller books! 😀
Me too. We've had the pleasure at dining at both per se and the French Laundry. He is my hero. The chicken on your buffet looks absolutely perfect.LL
you're eating GOOD, velva–this looks amazing. i keep hearing great things about keller's cookbook, and it sure looks like he delivers! 🙂
This would go over so well at our house, I just haven't tackled frying yet. I'd love to master fried chicken, but I'm working my way up to it. 🙂
Prefect fried chicken. I stated brining poultry and pork and I haven't been disappointed yet.Mimi
The Absence of Alternatives
This makes me want to cry.
Okay, you had me at fried chicken. My mother in law makes it so good, I would love to make it like that one day. Your look great to me. I have to try fried chicken again, I don't think I've ever had it brined before! Have a great week.-Gina-