Buttermilk Fried Chicken – Extra Crispy

Let me start off by saying “If I can make this incredible crispy fried chicken recipe than so can you”.  Why do I say it like that?  Because I’ve never really deep fried anything before this recipe.  Buttermilk fried chicken, something my husband and I pine over, is reserved to once or twice a year at a restaurant that specializes in it.  I stay away from it more from fear of botching it up than anything else.  But I read so many fantastic reviews of the buttermilk fried chicken recipe from Chef Thomas Keller (of the famous French Laundry restaurant in CA and Ad Hoc in NYC) that I decided I had to give it a try.  And it is everything people have raved about and more!  In a word? OUTSTANDING!

Yes – the recipe seems long and that’s because of the brine.  But don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients for the brine or you don’t want to buy them all (it can get a bit expensive with the bay leaves and herbs).  I have made it using only a couple of bay leaves, half the lemons and just the rosemary and it is still just as delicious as ever.  Also – the recipe below is for basically two whole chickens but it can easily be cut in half (the brine as well as the batter ingredients).

Keys to success for this recipe: 1) You can’t skip the brine.  That’s what keeps the chicken so incredibly moist and flavors the chicken.  Although it seems like a lot of work it really isn’t.  You basically throw the ingredients in a pot, boil them for a minute and then chill before using.  2) You should start this a day ahead to make the brine.  If you are making this for an evening meal you won’t put the chicken in until the day you are going to cook it – but the brine, once made, takes quite a bit of time too cool.  Definitely easier to do it a day ahead. 3)  Make the brine in a pot large enough to hold the chicken – that’s a time saver and less dishes to wash.  4) Do include all the ingredients in the batter mixture – it gives that crispy crust SO much flavor. 5) Do set up the dipping station (it will consist of three bowls – two for the flour mixture and one for the buttermilk) – it will make things so much easier!

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