Buttermilk Brined Pan-Fried Smart Chicken
by Paul Kulik, Chef , The Boiler Room, Omaha, Nebraska
The buttermilk brine creates a tender, flavorful, and golden crunchy crust. Trust us, you can’t eat just one piece!
- 8 Smart Chicken legs and/or thighs
- 6 cups buttermilk (without stabilizers, if possible)
- 1/2 ounce fresh flowering thyme (or your choice herbs)
- 1/2 ounce fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup cure mixture (8 teaspoons kosher salt and 4 teaspoons sugar)
- 1 head garlic, cut in the middle to open the cloves
- 1/3 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 cups seasoned flour for breading (with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon pepper)
- 4 cups peanut oil for frying
To prepare the buttermilk brine, combine all ingredients except flour and peanut oil. Place chicken pieces in buttermilk brine and marinate, refrigerated, for a minimum of 24 hours, and no more than 48 hours.
Remove chicken from the brine and save brine. Heat 2 inches of oil in deep frying pan to a temperature of 350ºF. Dredge chicken in flour, then dip in brine, then dredge in flour again. Place chicken in frying pan, cook each side until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 175ºF, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Additional seasoning may be added after the chicken is removed from the pan. If the chicken is browned but hasn’t reached 175ºF, you can finish in 375ºF oven until proper internal temperature is reached. Serve chicken alongside a green salad dressed with olive oil, salt, cracked pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
Pairing: A rich white with body and a little sweetness: Vouvray, chenin blanc, or pinot gris