The Best Fried Chicken
Serves: 4 to 5
  • 1 whole chicken (3 to 3½  pounds), cut into 10 pieces (2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, and 2 breast halves, halved crosswise) neck, giblets, wing tips, and back reserved for another use
  • 11/2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 teaspoons fine salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • A generous 2 cups vegetable oil  (or enough to measure ½-inch deep in a 12-inch skillet)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Place chicken pieces in a gallon-size zipper-lock bag. Mix buttermilk with 2 teaspoons of the salt and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. Pour over chicken; seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to fry chicken, measure flour and remaining 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper into a large doubled brown paper bag; shake to combine. Working in 3 batches, drop chicken pieces into the flour mixture and shake thoroughly to completely coat. Place coated chicken pieces on a large wire rack set over newspaper.
  3. Meanwhile, measure oil to ½-inch deep in a 12-inch heavy bottomed skillet (preferably cast-iron); bring to 350 degrees over medium-high heat.
  4. Drop chicken pieces, skin side down, into hot oil (It will be a tight fit.); cover (with a cookie sheet or pizza pan) and cook for 5 minutes. Lift chicken pieces with tongs to make sure chicken is frying evenly; rearrange if some pieces are browning faster than others. Cover again and continue cooking until chicken pieces are evenly browned, about 5 minutes longer. Turn chicken over with tongs and cook, uncovered, until chicken is browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes longer. While chicken fries, wash wire rack and set over fresh newspaper near skillet. Remove chicken from skillet with tongs and drain on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.  (Strained cooled oil into a heat-safe container and refrigerate for future frying.)
Remove the skin from the breast and thigh pieces, if you like.
Recipe by Three Many Cooks at