Buttermilk Fried Chicken
3 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup coarse salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2-1/2 to 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk
For brine, in a resealable plastic bag set in a bowl combine the 3 cups buttermilk, the coarse salt, and sugar. Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. Add all chicken pieces to the brine; seal bag. Chill for 2 to 4 hours; remove chicken from brine. Drain chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Discard brine.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Place the 3/4 cup buttermilk in a shallow dish. Coat chicken with flour mixture. Dip in the buttermilk; coat again with flour mixture.
3. Meanwhile, in a deep, heavy Dutch oven or kettle, or a deep-fat fryer, heat 1-1/2 inches oil to 350 degrees F. Using tongs carefully add a few pieces of chicken to Dutch oven. (Oil temperature will drop; maintain temperature at 325 degrees F.) Fry chicken for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F for breasts; 180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks), and coating is golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Keep fried chicken warm in a 300 degree F oven while frying remaining chicken pieces. Makes 6 servings.
4. Spicy Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken: Prepare as above, except add 1-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.
5. Pecan Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken: Prepare as above, except, reduce the flour to 1-1/4 cups and add 3/4 cup ground pecans to the flour mixture.