Southern Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Biscuits

There are as many ways to make Southern fried chicken as there are Southern cooks. This is a basic fried chicken recipe that can be enhanced with the addition of garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper or dried herbs. For a juicier result, brine the chicken prior to frying in a mixture of 4 cups buttermilk, 4 tsp kosher salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain and pat dry before using.

4 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
1-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp baking powder
8 pieces chicken (breasts, legs, thighs, wings)
Biscuits (recipe in the Southern Comfort article to the left)

In a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until it registers 350°F on a deep-fat thermometer.

Pour milk or buttermilk into shallow bowl. On a large plate, mix flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. Dip chicken in milk, then coat with flour mixture. Repeat, dipping and coating each chicken piece twice.

Using tongs, carefully place 4 chicken pieces in hot oil. Do not allow oil temperature to drop below 325°F. Fry chicken about 12 minutes for white meat and 15 minutes for dark meat or until chicken is golden brown and an instant-read meat thermometer registers 180°F in thickest part of chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

Serves 4 – 6.

Gary: Fried foods are very pleasant with crisp whites with acidity and, in the case of fried chicken, consider a soft and round red or one with a hint of acid to cut the effects of the fried coating and the oil used for frying. Dry sparklers are a perfect foil with fried foods, and sweeter sparklers also make a very nice combination. Also consider Mosel Riesling, Vouvray/Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Torrontés, Albariño, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc and Grillo from Sicily.  For reds with acidity Pinot Noir would be a fine choice as would Tempranillo, Barbera and Valpolicella.  Try some of the softer styles of Merlot, Shiraz, Grenache/Garnacha, Zinfandel, Malbec and Mourvèdre as they should be a nice match with the chicken.

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