Chef Elizabeth Karmel’s Classic Hill Country Fried Chicken

Says Karmel: “Fried Chicken evokes a comforting emotion, whether your Grandmother made it or you got it at a local restaurant. We crave food that gives us a sense of place and connects us to our past.”

1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon butcher grind black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 3 ½ pound chicken, cut into eight pieces (breast, thigh, drumstick, wing)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt and pepper blend or favorite BBQ or Spice rub
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
Favorite Spice Rub (optional)

Special Equipment:
Paper lunch bags
Cast-iron skillet

Sheet pan fitted with a rack

1. In large non-reactive bowl, combine buttermilk with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat. Cover bowl and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Remove chicken from buttermilk, discarding marinade. Combine flour, salt and pepper and/or any other spices. Whisk well to make sure the spices are well distributed. Place a cup of flour in a paper bag. Shake the chicken to coat well. Set out on a cookie sheet. Continue with chicken one piece at a time, adding more seasoned flour as necessary. Let the floured pieces of chicken sit for 5-10 minutes to let the coating sink in.

3. Meanwhile, in deep cast-iron skillet or chicken fryer, heat 1-inch oil to 365°. Add chicken and cook, turning twice, 20 minutes or until chicken is the desired color of golden brown and mostly cooked. Remove pieces as they are done and place on the sheet pan fitted with a rack.

4. Place chicken on the rack in a preheated 325ºF oven and let chicken continue to cook until the juices run clear and it registers 170ºF. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before eating. Can also be served cold or room temperature.