The best Fried Chicken I have ever had at a restaurant was at Ezell's, which is a little hole in the wall in Seattle. Seattle isn't exactly a Soul Food capital, but Oprah Winfrey who also lives in Chicago is a big fan of Ezell's, and actually has it flown in on occasion when she gets the craving for Fried Chicken, and isn't watching her diet.
Fried Chicken is a very simple food, and it is easy to prepare, but it isn't exactly easy to make great Fried Chicken. Here are a few key's.
The first key to great Fried Chicken is marinating it in Buttermilk 12 hours, or more before cooking. If you like tender juicy chicken there is no substitute for doing it this way. I like my Chicken spicy, moist, tender, savory, and crunchy. This particular recipe achieves those goals every time.
The second key is those elusive, eleven herbs and spices. You will find a recipe for a Fried Chicken Seasoning mix below you can make up ahead of time. I am pretty sure you will like it much better than the legendary KFC recipe which is now just a shadow of the way Colonel Sanders' used to do it fifty years ago. He fried it in a pressure cooker which sealed the juices in, and most importantly cooked the chicken faster which is important in a restaurant.
The next key is putting together a dry batter mix that gives the chicken plenty of texture, and sticks to the chicken without falling off. We double dip our chicken using Buttermilk on the first dip, and Egg Wash on the second. If the recipe is too spicy for you just omit, or limit the Red Pepper Sauce.
The final key is cooking it correctly. Traditionally in the South most families have a large, deep, covered, black, cast iron pan from Lodge Cookware that has been in the family for a generation, or two, or in larger quantities it is simply deep fried outdoors. Whichever way you do it you want to make sure the oil is heated to 375 degrees which seals the chicken, and prevents it from becoming greasy,
Spicy Southern Fried Chicken
Soak the Chicken Overnight
2 1/2 pounds Frying Chicken
1/2 cup Hot Sauce (optional)
Spicy Chicken Egg Wash
1/3 cup water
1 cup hot red pepper sauce (optional)
Fried Chicken Breading Mix
1 cup self-rising Flour
1/2 cup Corn Meal
1/2 cup Cracker Meal
1/2 cup Potato Buds
Fried Chicken Seasoning
Peanut, or Vegetable oil for frying
Fried Chicken Seasoning
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon basil leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves, crushed finely
1 teaspoon thyme
Mix the buttermilk and the hot sauce, marinate the chicken overnight.
In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange.
In another bowl, combine the Flour, Corn Meal, Cracker Meal, Potato Buds, and Fried Chicken Seasoning to make the breading mix.
Season the wet chicken with the Fried Chicken Seasoning. Dip the wet buttermilk soaked Chicken in the seasoned breading mixture, then dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well again in the breading mixture.
Heat the oil to 375 degrees F in a deep pot, or fryer. Do not fill the pot, or fryer more than 1/2 full with oil.
Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes. Fry the first couple of pieces, white, and dark, one at a time, and sample to make sure it is cooked long enough.