Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Fried Yardbird (Serves 4)

Says Samuelsson: “Fried chicken is great at both picnics and fancy events where people don’t really know one another—greasy fingers help bring a sense of familiarity.”

4 chicken thighs, skin-on
4 chicken drumsticks, skin-on
1 cup salt
8 cups water
1 quart buttermilk
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Chicken Shake
1/2 pound all-purpose flour
2 ounces semolina flour
1 ounce cornstarch
1/2 ounce ground white pepper
5 quarts frying oil

1. Mix salt in water, until dissolved. Place chicken in brine and let sit for 1 1/2 hour.

2. Combine buttermilk, coconut milk, garlic and Chicken Shake then place chicken in marinade overnight in refrigerator.

3. Combine all-purpose flour, semolina flour, cornstarch and white pepper to make breading.

4. Remove marinating chicken from fridge and allow excess marinade to drip off.

5. Roll chicken in breading, shaking off excess.

6. In an 8-quart pot, fill with oil and bring to 300 F. Once oil is hot, drop chicken in to the oil and let fry for about 15 minutes (inner temperature should be at least 165 F).

7. Remove chicken from oil and place on paper towel. Season chicken with Shake, to taste.

Chicken Shake (Makes 4 cups)


1/8 cup ground garlic
1/2 cup celery salt
1/2 cup ground cumin
1 cup berbere
1 cup smoked spicy paprika
1/8 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup ground white pepper

1. Combine in a mixing bowl and stir until blended.