Homemade is Better—Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is one my weaknesses, and it can be difficult to find good fried chicken.  There are many restaurants that serve it, but I almost always feel let down a little.  Between KFC, Popeye’s, Mary Brown’s, and Jolly-Bee, I think Popeye’s is the best.  Having said that though, I much prefer making it at home.  I can make it taste the way I like, and as crispy as I really want it.  I also stumbled across a few different recipes that I’ve combined to make something that is pretty close to the taste of Popeye’s seasoning.  It’s not exact, but its close.

Making fried chicken at home requires a little knife work, but I’ll walk you through it.  There are also countless YouTube videos that can show you how to make a 9-piece cut from a whole chicken.  The trick is making sure your knife is sharp, this makes all the difference, so if you do not have a really sharp knife, invest in getting it sharpened or learn how to do it yourself.

First, you’re going to cut off the legs.  Cut between the leg and the back, then feel for the joint.  Using your knife like a pry bar, try to separate the legs from the hips.  Make a straight cut through and complete the leg removal.  Next you will want to remove the wings.  Feel for the first joint, then cut through it, that should separate the tip.  The second section of the wing is the same.  Feel for the joint, bend it backwards and cut between the joint.  Now bend the spine backwards and cut between the back vertebrae to separate the back.  This is junk, so you can toss that part into a pot and use it for chicken base, or if your city allows bones and meat into their compost toss it in there.  Now you have the breast to deal with.  Take your knife and cut across the breast to separate the bottom of the breast from the body.  Next cut through the back to separate the breasts.  Then cut through the middle of the breasts.  Cut each breast in half and there you go, 9-piece chicken.  If this confused you, look it up on YouTube you’ll see how to do this better.

Now, mix up some mashed potatoes, coleslaw, or whatever sides you like to go with your chicken.  I recommend some gravy too, but it’s not a necessity.  Let get to the recipe.

Fried Chicken

Spice Mix ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 tsp fine salt
½ tbsp thyme
½ tbsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp celery salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp dry mustard
4 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp ground Ginger
3 tbsp white pepper

Spice directions:
  1. Mix all the ingredients into a bowl.
Chicken Ingredients:

1 9-piece chicken (or whole chicken cut into 9 pieces)
1 cup buttermilk
1 recipe of spice mix
2 – 3 cups canola oil

  1. Cut your chicken into 9 pieces, as described above, or have a butcher do it.
  2. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk for up to 24 hours, but 4 hours is just as good.
  3. Fill a large pot with the oil, and, if you have one, grab a candy or deep fryer thermometer and heat the oil to 350F.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 350F and pull out a baking sheet. Optionally you can place a wired rack on top or use some parchment.
  5. Place your spice mix in a container large enough to hold a few pieces.
  6. Once the oil is heated, transfer the chicken from the buttermilk to the spice mix and make sure you get every nook and cranny covered with powder.
  7. Once you have a couple pieces covered, put them in the oil for up to 5 minutes to get a crispy skin.
  8. Transfer the pieces to the baking sheet, once all the pieces are fried place the tray in the oven and cook until the internal temperature of the largest piece reads 165F.
  9. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 more minutes, then serve!
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