All my life, I’ve heard everyone talk about how wonderful buttermilk fried chicken was. Even so, nobody ever made it, I never tried it, and I figured if it was so wonderful, why didn’t anyone bother?
I’ve used buttermilk in the egg wash, and that’s fine and dandy…but still, the hubby was languishing in his desire for buttermilk fried chicken.
Since I had buttermilk on hand (a rarity for us, actually) I decided we’d give it a shot. He insisted it had to be marinated in the buttermilk for 24 hours, not merely 4-6 hours. I agreed, and put the bag containing the buttermilk and chicken legs back into the refrigerator. Unfortunately, the next day, “stuff” happened, and it didn’t get cooked. That meant it was more like a 48 hour marinade, which I wasn’t so sure about.
To keep things consistent, I used Zatarain’s Southern Crispy chicken breading. I removed the buttermilk coated chicken from the bag, breaded it as is without an egg wash…and fried the legs, which happen to be my least favorite piece of chicken. I then fried them like usual.
I wasn’t anticipating much change, it certainly didn’t LOOK any different from any other skillet fried chicken. I cooked up the platter of chicken legs, made white country style gravy and mashed potatoes…and called it good.
And oh, my word, was it good!
It really DOES make a difference, and it’s a vast difference in texture. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender, similar to what is obtained by the pressure frying method, one few of us at home can duplicate. It was definitely a lot easier than pressure frying, as the chicken was merely breaded in the flour mixture from Zatarain’s and laid into the hot oil in the skillet.
Never again will I roll my eyes at the mention of buttermilk fried chicken, and I’m dying to try it out on some tastier chicken parts. It is worth the minimal effort it requires.
So what is the essential part of making buttermilk fried chicken?
It is marinading the cut up chicken in the buttermilk for 24-48 hours before cooking it. Plain and simple. It also doesn’t require immense amounts of buttermilk. I used about 1 cup to marinade about 3 lbs. of chicken legs. I put the chicken legs in a gallon zip close bag, poured in the buttermilk, and stuck them back into the refrigerator. That’s it. No fussing, no worries. The chicken is then breaded in your favorite breading mixture, whether its Zatarain’s or your own, and fried as usual.