Southern Fried Chicken is a Southern staple on our table all year round, and lovingly served on several occasions; whether it be a family meal, a church potluck, or even a wedding. In other words, we want our deliciously crisp, crunchy, yet super juicy chicken and will look for any reason to make it. Can you blame us?
Making the best tasting Southern Fried Chicken is a learning curve, and it’s one that you practice with a great recipe until you perfect it. Once you improve your method and recipe combined with using only quality chicken cuts, it’s like winning over the universe. The Sun, moon, and stars align, and there’s no stopping you.
Delicious Southern fried chicken starts with the bird. You can use a whole chicken and cut it into parts for frying or to save time, and you can buy the parts you and your family enjoys. Just make sure you are buying all-natural chicken instead of chicken that has been injected with chemicals, antibiotics, steroids, preservatives, or sodium water. We don’t need that kind of chicken negativity in our lives, Y’all.
To brine or not to brine? The answer is DEFINITY brine. Trust me, the flavor is terrific and makes the fried chicken shockingly juicy. You can use several methods to brine your chicken; in the South, we commonly use buttermilk to brine chicken. You can opt to use a basic brine, cola brine, a pickle juice brine, or even a cider brine if you like, and they are all deliciously flavorful.
How to the Brine Chicken
- Place the pieces of chicken in a large bowl and cover them with about 2 cups of buttermilk, add 2 tablespoons of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Cover the bowl, and refrigerate for at least 4-8 hours time. Overnight is usually best for the maximum flavor and juiciness of the chicken. When you soak the chicken overnight in brine buttermilk, salt, and sugar, brine, the flavor infuses into the chicken meat and makes it so tender, juicy. and flavorful.
- Before frying drain off brine from the chicken and place on a platter until the oil is ready.
The easiest method I have found for breading fried chicken is placing the parts in a big brown paper sack filled with self-rising that has been seasoned with Kosher salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper, Cajun seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and a hint of cayenne pepper; close the brown paper sack; shake it a few times, and then gently remove the pieces and shake off the excess flour before frying.
If you want, you can use your method to bread the chicken, but by far, this is just the most straightforward way I have found to do ours and not have a massive clean up of unnecessary dishes. Also, if you do not have a paper sack, you can use gallon Ziploc bags.
Ingredients to make Southern Fried Chicken
Eight serving pieces chicken, light or dark meat
Two cups buttermilk +more if needed
Two tablespoons of kosher salt
Two tablespoons of sugar
Two cups peanut oil, more if needed
Two cups of self-rising flour
1/4 of a cup cornstarch
Kosher salt to own taste
One teaspoon of Cajun Seasoning
One teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
One teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 of a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper
Southern Fried Chicken
- 8 pieces chicken light or dark meat
- 2 cups buttermilk +more if needed
- 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 cups peanut oil more if needed
- 2 cups of self-rising flour
- ¼ of a cup cornstarch
- Kosher salt to own taste
- 1 teaspoon of Cajun Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- ¼ of a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper
- Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl and cover them with about 2 cups of buttermilk, add 2 tablespoons of salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 8 overnight. When you soak the chicken overnight in a buttermilk, salt, and sugar, brine, the flavor infuses into the chicken meat and makes it so tender, juicy. and flavorful.
- Before frying drain off brine and place on a platter till the oil is ready.
- Pour oil into a deep-frying pan or deep cast iron skillet to a 1-inch depth and heat the oil to about 375 degrees F. Check the temperature by sprinkling a little of the flour over the oil. If the flour sizzles well, the oil is hot enough.
- Drain the brine off of the chicken, sprinkle each piece with some kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, and coat the pieces with flour mixture, by placing the flour, cornstarch, kosher salt, Cajun seasoning, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika in a brown paper sack, closing the top and gently shaking the chicken till evenly coated in breading, shaking off any of the excess.
- Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil. Place the lid on the pan, leaving an opening for the steam to escape. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and, using tongs, gently turn each piece of chicken careful not to burn yourself.
- Replace the lid and cook for 10 minutes more, or until done, be sure to leave a small opening.
- Remove the lid, turn the chicken cook for about 5 minutes uncovered, then turn again and cook another 5 minutes uncovered.
- Drain the chicken on a baker rack with a metal sheet pan below for about 4-5 minutes.