Others may have differing opinions, but this is what we feel is the perfect fried chicken recipe. We took all of the necessary steps, from buying the right chicken and brining it to carefully creating a buttermilk marinade and seasoned flour. It’s juicy, it’s crispy, and it’s delicious — it’s perfect fried chicken.
The day before frying the chicken, prepare the brine. Using a large stock pot, heat 1 gallon of water to a boil and add in the sugar, salt, bay leaves, garlic, and paprika. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat. Add in the ice water and cool down to 40 degrees. Add the chicken pieces and brine overnight.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat completely dry using paper towels.
Prepare the buttermilk batter by combining the flour, corn meal, salt, spices, and herbs in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk and the hot sauce. Place the chicken pieces into the buttermilk batter, cover, and refrigerate for ½ hour.
Remove the marinating chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to frying.
Combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Sift the ingredients into a brown paper bag, if using, or into another large bowl.
In a cast-iron skillet, heat 3 inches of canola oil over medium-high heat to 300 degrees. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk batter and let excess batter drip off. Place the chicken pieces into the brown bag, seal the bag, and shake for about 4 seconds to ensure each piece is well coated. If using a large bowl instead of a brown bag, coat the chicken pieces in batches to avoid making a mess. Place the chicken into the hot oil and fry until just golden brown, about 5 minutes, then remove them from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Once all of the chicken pieces have been fried at 300 degrees for 5 minutes, heat the oil to 350 degrees, and fry the chicken until cooked through and golden brown, another 5 minutes.
Remove and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease before serving.