Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Andrew Zimmern's Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe
We’ve spent a lot of time the past few months eating fried chicken wings, among other cheap things. There's some crispy, delicious stuff in our metro.
But some days you just want to make a mess of yourself in your own house, with your own skillet of hot lard. Enter: homemade fried chicken.
Turns out it’s not hard, or labor intensive—if you do it right. In fact, fried chicken makes regular appearances at columnist and fellow fried food-lover Andrew Zimmern’s dinner table. "The moment the weather turns nice, I look for easy, do-ahead recipes that allow my family to spend as much time out of the kitchen as possible," Zimmern says.
This Buttermilk Fried Chicken he shared is a favorite.
Some tips before you go frying:
- No need to break down the chicken yourself. Ask your butcher to cut one up for you, or choose your favorite pieces. If your selection includes breasts, you may want to cut them in half, making all of your pieces closer in size.
- Use rendered lard, which you can find at Clancey's or Mississippi Market. It lends an extra flavor to the crust you can't get with a neutral cooking oil.
- Fry in cast iron to help maintain a steady oil temperature.
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
- 1 3- to 4-lb frying chicken, cut up (or 6–8 pieces legs, thighs, breasts, and wings)
- 2 c. buttermilk
- 4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 T. paprika
- 2 T. sea salt
- 1 T. ground black pepper
- 1 qt. rendered lard
- Wash and dry the chicken parts. Place in a Zip-Loc bag, cover with buttermilk, and store overnight in the fridge.
- Half an hour ahead of cooking, remove chicken parts from the bag and discard the buttermilk.
- When you're ready to go, place flour and seasonings in a paper bag large enough to hold the parts. Stir to combine. Add chicken parts to the bag, fold top down, and shake the bag to coat the chicken.
- Heat the lard in a large skillet with high sides over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit, using a kitchen thermometer to track temperature. Transfer the chicken pieces to the pan in two batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Keep lard at 350.
- Fry for 17–25 minutes, or until chicken is brown and cooked just to the point of being done, with internal temperature of the pieces at or above 150 degrees for white meat, 165 degrees for dark.
- Transfer pieces to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and let sit for 10 minutes as you fry the following batch or batches. Serve at room temperature, or let cool completely and refrigerate for use later on.
+ PAIRINGS FROM SURDYK'S
We asked the experts at Surdyk's for beverages to complement Zimmern's fried chicken. Here's what they recommend:
Pairing #1: Scharffenberger Brut
Rich, crispy chicken needs a refreshing counterpart to balance every bite, which makes Champagne our match-up of choice. Try Scharffenberger Brut from California, a sparkling white made in the same method as pricy French Champagne for a fraction of the cost. Loaded with notes of stewed apple, ripe pear, and baked bread along with a dry, crisp finish, its lively bubbles come through and clean the palate after each bite.
Pairing #2: Surly Hell Lager
Beer with fried chicken. What's not to love? Crisp Surly Hell makes a perfect companion to salty, crunchy chicken. (Dare we call it a Champagne of beers?) Full of sweet malt flavors and fresh bread aromas that bring out the toasty notes in the chicken's crust, a can of this lager is a perfect (local!) complement.