Friday, April 13, 2012

Honey's Modern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

My grandmother whom we affectionately called "Honey Bun" made the world's best fried chicken. I decided to make some this week for the husband and served it with easy cheddar jalapeno beer biscuits and sauteed swiss chard with bacon and carmelized onions. And let me tell you... it was fabulous!! This time we only used breast meat, but the whole bird is always a crowd pleaser.

I've adapted the recipe a bit by using a brine I found in the Thomas Keller Ad Hoc cookbook. I will NEVER make fried chicken without this brine EVER again. It is absolutely amazing.  I did tweak TK's recipe a bit and it's absolutely divine. I brine the chicken in one cup of salt, 1/3 cup brown sugar, a gallon of water, 10 peppercorns, 5 garlic cloves, 5 bay leaves, a bunch of fresh thyme sprigs and four sliced lemons.

 I stir the water and salt together over medium heat until the salt dissolves, remove from heat, add the herbs, garlic and lemons and then once it's cooled, pour it in a 2 gallon ziplock bag with the 3 chicken breasts, cut in half and marinade for 12 hours (overnight). Do not brine longer than 12 hours as it will make the chicken too salty. I then drain the chicken, rinse it under cold water and pat it dry and store in the fridge until dinner prep to really get it nice and dry, which is optimal for frying.

Then it's time to fry.


4 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs black pepper
4 tbs onion powder
4 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp celery salt
1 pinch dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme

  Meanwhile, I place a large, deep cast iron skillet on the stove and fill it with about 2 inches of peanut oil (no more than 1/3 full or your oil could boil over).  Heat the oil to 330 degrees. 

While the oil is heating, set up your dredging station. Put half the flour mix in a bowl, then in a second bowl, mix 1 cup buttermilk with 2 beaten eggs, then place a third bowl with remaining flour mix (or you can use paper bags or ziplocs for easy cleanup).

 The Dredging Station

First Flour Dredge- shake off excess and then...

 Dunk in the buttermilk egg bath, shake off excess...

 Dredge in flour again- ziplocs or paper bags work great too!

Place on a cooling rack over cookie sheet and prepare to fry

I have a 13 inch cast iron skillet. If you don't have a huge pan, you could use two or just cook in batches and keep chicken warm in the oven while the second batch cooks.

Once the chicken has been dredged (be sure to shake off any excess flour mix- tongs work better than hands for dredging BTW), slowly lower the pieces in a pan being sure not to crowd it. Turn chicken frequently to ensure even browning, about every minute. It should take about 12-15 minutes to cook through until the chicken is 165 degrees.

14 minutes in and ready to come out of the bath.

 Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. I fry up some thyme and rosemary branches for a few seconds as a garnish.

I made some super easy biscuits too using Bisquick brand cheddar biscuits (sometimes I'm just not in the mood to make from scratch!) and used beer instead of water, added 2 tbs organic shortening and chopped jalapeno. They were a huge hit!


  1. Um, whenever we come to Austin again, can we come to YOUR house for dinner?!? Mmmmmm.

  2. I want that for dinner now. :)


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