I learned the proper way make fried chicken about five or six years ago when I worked for a friend of mine.
She was part owner of a caterer/cafe, which has since (sadly) changed hands. I was working as a freelance writer at the time, and working at the shop got me away from the computer for a little while—and taught me a lot about the practical side of restaurant work.
As for the fried chicken, I’ve tweaked the recipe a little, but here are the main tricks I picked up. Soak the chicken in buttermilk overnight. Fry it hot and fast. Finish it in the oven.
This is a two-day recipe, so you need to start the night before you want your fried chicken.
Fried Chicken, Done Right
Step 1: Marinade the chicken
3 cups buttermilk
1 cut-up chicken
hot sauce to taste
Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2: Make the coating
2 cups flour
Add all the dry ingredients to a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Close bag and toss to mix thoroughly.
Step 3: Heat up your kitchen
Put about five inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot and heat it to 375 degrees. You’re deep frying, so you’ll want enough oil so that you can turn your chicken without scraping it on the bottom of the pot. I use pure olive oil, because it has a relatively high flash point, but any kind of frying oil will do.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, top with a wire rack, and set aside.
Step 4: Fry & bake
One by one, toss the chicken pieces in the flour mixture. Don’t dry them off first. You want the dry ingredients to stick to the buttermilk.
Drop chicken into the oil and fry til golden. You’re going to let the chicken finish cooking in the oven, so the main thing is to use the oil to get the coating golden brown and crispy. When the coating looks done, transfer the chicken to your baking sheet.
Bake chicken at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until juices run clear. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.