Crispy buttermilk fried chicken recipe inspired by Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc restaurant. Juicy flavorful bites made with a bold flour spice blend.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Passive Time: 13 hrs 30 mins
Total Time: 14 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 10 pieces
- 5 pound whole chicken , (2.27kg) or two 2 1/2 pound chickens
- fine sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
- 8 cups water, (64 ounces, 1.9L)
- 1/2 cup kosher salt, (115 g, 4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup honey, (20ml)
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, (7g, ¼ ounce)
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 head garlic, halved through the equator
- 1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, (30g, 1 ounce)
- 6 sprigs of thyme
- 3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
For Dredging and Frying
- 6 cups vegetable oil, (1.5 quarts, 48 ounces, 1.4L) for deep-frying
- 2 cups buttermilk, (16 ounces, 480ml)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, (10g)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, (425g, 15 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder, (11g)
- 2 tablespoons onion powder, (20g)
- 2 teaspoons paprika, (4g)
- 2 teaspoons cayenne, (4g)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, (10g)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large pot combine water, salt, honey, lemon, garlic, parsley, thyme and bay leaves.
- Boil brine for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt.
- Remove from the heat and cool completely before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Cut each chicken into 10 pieces each: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 boneless breast quarters, 2 wings.
- Add the chicken to the pot of cooled brine or pour into a re-sealable plastic bag large enough to hold the chicken pieces. 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. Let rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, or until it comes to about room temperature.
- Add oil to a large pot (about 4.5-quart size). The oil should fill the pot with at least 2 inches of oil, add more if needed. No matter what size pot you have the oil should not come more than one-third of the way up the sides.
- Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
Coating and Dredging
- In a large bowl combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Set up a dipping station: The chicken pieces, one bowl of coating, the bowl of buttermilk, and the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Just before frying, dip the chicken into the coating, turning to coat and patting off the excess.
- Dip chicken into the buttermilk, allowing the excess to run back into the bowl.
- Dip the chicken back into the coating. Transfer to the parchment-lined pan.
- Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
- Heat oil to 320°F (160ºF).
- Carefully lower the thighs into the hot oil. Adjust the heat as necessary to return the oil to the proper temperature. Fry and move the chicken around as needed until the skin is deep golden brown, cooked through, and very crisp, about 8 to 12 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked thighs to the cooling rack, skin-side-up and let rest while you fry the remaining chicken. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with fine sea salt if desired.
- Bring oil back to 320ºF (160ºC), add the chicken drumsticks, cook until golden brown, about 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack.
- Turn up the heat and increase oil temperature to 340°F (171ºC).
- Carefully lower the chicken breasts into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, cooked through, and crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack.
- Cook the wings until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the wings to the rack and turn off the heat.
- Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Add some herb sprigs.