Kentucky Fried Chicken Redux or Guilty Pleasures

Fried Chicken with Mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans
Fried Chicken with Mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans

I might have mentioned that it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. And, in celebration, Yes!Chef! made dinner for the fam.  He suggested an upscaled Kentucky Fried Chicken type of recipe, which I thought might be mighty tasty.  I’m pretty sure most people have eaten at Kentucky Fried Chicken at some point in their life.  My daughter tells me that in Mozambique, the Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant is where everyone hangs out.  She also tells me that they eat a lot of chicken in Mozambique, along with fruits, vegetables and rice.

fried chicken 1

In fact, she had the opportunity to get up close and personal with some chickens destined for the chopping block.  (Although she did have the opportunity to experience preparing a chicken for dinner…from coop to plate…I will not be showing any pictures of this event in this forum as the pictures are a little graphic.)  The above pictures were mostly produced by Allison Sept, who went with my daughter to Mozambique last year for about 6 months.

The average American does not usually play with her chickens before eating them, nor does she have much experience with taking chickens from the coop to the table…much to the great relief of my neighborhood chickens.

Non-fried Chicken
Non-fried Chicken

But, most people love to eat chicken (after purchasing them at the store…heads, feet and feathers already removed.)  There must be a million ways to prepare chicken for the table.  Most families have their own very favorite chicken recipe.  A lot of people eat chicken at least once a week, and sometimes more.  Chicken can be roasted, stewed, barbecued, steamed, pan roasted, pressure cooker-ed, slow cooked and even made into soup.  But one of the most beloved ways to make chicken is fried.  I realize that there is a danger in talking about fried chicken because very smart and scholarly people who know about these things (or think they know about these things) tell us that fried food is the worst possible thing you can eat…right after soda, salt, junk food and red meat.  I will not get in to the politics of all this food hate, but I will say that I’m in agreement with the Good Book that states, “all things in moderation.”

Yes!Chef! doesn’t make fried food very often (maybe 2 or 3 times per year.)  At Christmas, I got him a Pro Fryer from Waring, and this was the first time he was able to try it out. (He said it worked slick, by the way.)  Yes!Chef! had been wanting to try a fried chicken recipe that involved a dry brine.  I have never heard of a dry brine before.  It involved making a rub, coating the chicken all over and letting the chicken sit in the refrigerator all night with the brine on it.

fried chicken 3

Since he made the brine on Saturday, and our friend was still visiting, Yes!Chef! put him to work again.  You can see that a spice mixture was made.  The chicken pieces were rinsed off and patted dry and then evenly sprinkled with the spice mixture.  Then, the sous chef turned them over and repeated the spice sprinkling under the watchful eye of Yes!Chef!.  After that, the chicken was placed in bowls and the bowls were tightly wrapped with plastic and then placed in the refrigerator over night.

The next day, the family arrived with their significant others.

fried chicken 6

My oldest son’s girlfriend baked me a lime cheesecake.  It was very, very delicious.

And the Chef was ready for it all.  (He is just so handsome!  “My Hero!”)

Yes!Chef! dons his apron
Yes!Chef! dons his apron

This meal also involved mashed potatoes and gravy.  But, I will only concentrate on the chicken in this post because the gravy and mashed potatoes will take a post of their own.

Brined, dipped in buttermilk, floured and ready for the fryer
Brined, dipped in buttermilk, floured and ready for the fryer

fried chicken 9After frying the chicken, he placed it in a warm oven to keep warm until the rest of the dinner was ready.

Yes!Chef! used this recipe from Bon Appetit for his chicken, but he did not use a skillet, he used the new fryer that I got him.

Skillet-Fried Chicken


  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 3–4-lb. chicken (not kosher), cut into 10 pieces, backbone and wing tips removed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Peanut oil (for frying)
  • special equipment:

    A deep-fry thermometer


  • Whisk 1 Tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. black pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl. Season chicken with spices. Place chicken in a medium bowl, cover, and chill overnight.
  • Let chicken stand covered at room temperature for 1 hour. Whisk buttermilk, egg, and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl. Whisk flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 Tbsp. salt, and remaining 1 Tbsp. pepper in a 9x13x2″ baking dish.
  • Pour oil into a 10″–12″ cast-iron skillet or other heavy straight-sided skillet (not nonstick) to a depth of 3/4″. Prop deep-fry thermometer in oil so bulb is submerged. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°. Meanwhile, set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Working with 1 piece at a time (use 1 hand for wet ingredients and the other for dry ingredients), dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge in flour mixture; tap against bowl to shake off excess. Place 5 pieces of chicken in skillet. Fry chicken, turning with tongs every 1–2 minutes and adjusting heat to maintain a steady temperature of 300°–325°, until skin is deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165°, about 10 minutes for wings and 12 minutes for thighs, legs, and breasts.
  • Using tongs, remove chicken from skillet, allowing excess oil to drip back into skillet; transfer chicken to prepared rack.
  • Repeat with remaining chicken pieces; let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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This is a really great recipe if you would like to take a little time and forethought to prepare it.  It is certainly some of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten (including Kentucky Fried Chicken.)

The exterior was crunchy and spicy, but not a slight bit greasy.

Crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside
Crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside

The inside was juicy and moist.

20130325_KLS_108-106 web

(PS.  Just look at those fluffy potatoes and pepper infused gravy)

The whole family enjoyed the meal and I enjoyed having the family around to celebrate my birthday.

fried chicken 7

Bunch of goof balls.

fried chicken 8

I hope you can give this recipe a try next time you have a hankering for fried chicken and your friends do, too.  It makes a bunch.

20130325_KLS_108-40 web


Published by

Karen Schmautz


3 thoughts on “Kentucky Fried Chicken Redux or Guilty Pleasures

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