Best Southern Fried Chicken
16 chicken drumsticks (or a combination of drumsticks and thighs)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons black pepper (divided)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil (for frying, about 3 cups)
01 Heat the warming drawer or oven to 200 F.
02 Pat the chicken with paper towels to dry.
03 In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, Tabasco sauce, salt, and 1 tablespoon of black pepper. Add the chicken legs to the mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate with the marinade for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).
04 Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and let any excess buttermilk drip off.
05 Combine the flour, additional 1 tablespoon black pepper, and the cayenne. Shake the chicken legs in the seasoned flour and place on a rack while waiting for the oil to heat.
06 In a large, heavy saucepan or deep skillet or sauté pan, heat at least 3 cups of oil to about 365 F. Fry the chicken legs in batches for about 10 minutes, turning once. To check for doneness, use an instant-read food thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the largest drumstick, not touching bone. The minimum safe temperature for poultry is 165 F.
07 Remove the chicken to paper towels to drain.
08 Place the drained chicken on a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and move to the warming drawer or oven to keep warm while frying subsequent batches.
09 Serve and enjoy!
In deep-frying, the food is completely immersed in the oil, while in pan-frying the food is placed in enough oil to cover the bottom and sides, making it necessary to turn the pieces over to fry both sides. Three cups of oil will give you a depth of 1/2-inch in a deep 10-inch skillet and is sufficient to pan-fry.
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