You may remember our friends C & T from Mexican night, Italian night and our previous try at Southern night. Unfortunately, the last Southern night was a disaster. Undercooked fried chicken, way too salty collard greens and disappointing cornbread. We didn't eat until almost 9pm because of the darn chicken. We knew we had to try again. Thankfully this time we nailed it.
Since T's fryer isn't very big, and because we'd undercooked the chicken the last time, we decided to use Ina Garten's oven method for frying the chicken. This is a truly brilliant method. You fry the pieces so they get a nice, crispy, golden brown crust and then you finish cooking them in the oven. This ensures the chicken is cooked through, but the best part is you can cook a lot of chicken at one time so you're ready to feed a crowd all at once.
T brined the chicken all day and then she (once again) conned me into breading the chicken while she took pictures. It's a good thing she's an excellent photographer. I dipped the chicken into buttermilk first and then into the seasoned flour, then back into the buttermilk and finished with the flour.
We were able to fry 4 legs or two breasts at once. As each batch was finished, we laid the pieces on a cooling rack. Once the rack was full it went into the oven. Thirty minutes later we took it out and tested each piece with a meat thermometer to make sure it was 165 degrees.
Look at these gorgeous pieces of chicken. Moist and flavorful. We SO nailed it. In addition to the chicken I made cornbread and collard greens. Stay tuned for those recipes to post next week.
Oven Fried Chicken
Prep compiled from various recipes, cooking method from Ina Garten
bone-in chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breasts)
Place the chicken pieces in large plastic food storage bags. Fill each bag with water and add some salt, sugar, thyme, onion powder and a few dashes of tabasco sauce. Just use as much as you want - T didn't measure. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.
Take the chicken out of the brine and let sit, covered, at room temperature for at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch or a deep fryer. Heat to 350 degrees.
Pour some buttermilk into a large bowl. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in another large bowl. Coat each piece of chicken in buttermilk then in the flour mixture, back into the buttermilk and into the flour again.
Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (if using a deep fryer, cook for 6 minutes). Don't crowd the pieces.
Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside and registers 165 degrees on a thermometer.