When people think of the Fourth of July, a grill usually comes to mind. But for me, it’s really about flag-themed manktops, sparklers, day drinking, and other forms of patriotism. Though I’ve never dared break out the deep fryer while day drinking is involved, I don’t think there’s anything more all-American than fried chicken.
Last month, the folks over at Plated asked me to develop a fried chicken recipe for their Independence Day menu offerings. It was a tall order. They try to keep their dishes under 30 minutes, and assume that the average home cook does not have very many pots, pans, or gadgets at their disposal.
Fried chicken is truly a labor of Southern love. The more time you have, the better your chicken will be. If you have lard on hand, even better. Just watch Octavia Spencer in The Help and take notes. But to accommodate the Plated cook, I tried to pack as much punch as possible into every step of the process, just in case they didn’t want to take 48 hours to let each marinate take hold. I also made the chicken in a skillet.
While I was testing the recipe, I made half a batch using regular flour and half using AP gluten-free flour so that I could a) taste the result for seasoning and b) see if the frying varied for the GF flours. The result was not identical, but it was equally delicious. The GF version browned much faster than the regular, which meant flipping the chicken earlier, and turning the heat down slightly on the second side so that the chicken would have enough time to cook through without burning. I am embarrassed to say that I don’t own a candy thermometer, so I always do my frying by feel. Definitely pay attention to what’s happening in the skillet and adjust the heat if your chicken begins to turn from that nice deep fry brown to black. You can see what happened to the tops of some of my pieces below – they weren’t burnt, but a little south of perfect.
If you have non-glutards at your table, you can dredge for them accordingly. Just fry the GF batch first so there’s no cross-contamination. If you want to cut some corners this week, you can also order this dish from Plated in the next few hours.
What are you all making for your July 4th feast? Let me know in the comments!
Classic fried chicken is a labor of southern love. The more time you have to let it hang out in the marinades, the better. But for the busy home cook, I’ve tried to add as much punch to each step of the recipes, with plenty of spices in the rub and hot sauce in the buttermilk bath. The chicken really benefits from overnight marinating. If you have time to start the night before, do so with the spice rub. Then add the buttermilk in the morning and allow to sit until ready to cook.
- Sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 whole chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks separated
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Vegetable oil
- 2 cups gluten-free or regular AP flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose GF Flour)
- In a medium-mixing bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons salt, thyme, paprika, onion and garlic powder, and cayenne. Add the chicken and rub it allover with the spice mix. Cover, and marinate until ready to fry – for as long as possible, preferably, overnight in the fridge.
- Pour the hot sauce and buttermilk over the chicken. Slosh it around until well-coated. Marinate until ready to fry, up to 12 hours covered in the fridge.
- Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed skillet, at least 1 inch. Heat over medium-high heat until you reach 350 degrees. (If you don’t have a thermometer, simply test the heat by dipping the first piece of chicken in. If it starts sizzling and bubbling wildly, the oil is hot enough.)
- Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, shaking off any excess liquid. Coat chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.
- Cook the chicken in an even layer in the oil until golden brown, turning once, at least 12 minutes total. Adjust the heat if the chicken turns brown to the point of burning. Remove chicken to a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack to drain and cool for at least ten minutes.
- Serve the chicken alongside slaw, with some extra hot sauce for dipping.