REAL SOUTHERN COMFORTAugust 17, 2012
Yes, it’s hot outside, and yes, you might think you want fruit smoothies, but we know better. Hot off the New Orleans coast, this recipe from Esquire will lead you down the path of delicious fried goodness…or not-so-goodness. They’re bang on for feeding your mates, so just tell them to bring round the beers. Here’s how it’s done.
•12 chicken thighs (skin on)
•Peanut oil and lard, for frying
•1 qt Coca-Cola
•1 tsp Liquid Smoke (optional)
•2 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 tbsp Tabasco
•3 tbsp ground black pepper
•3 tbsp coarse salt
•3/4 cup peanut oil
Dry Mix (well combined)
•2 tsp baking powder
•2 tbsp coarse salt
•4 tsp ground black pepper
•1 tbsp cayenne pepper
•1 tbsp onion powder
•1 tbsp garlic powder
•2 1/2 cups flour
Rinse chicken, drain, and set aside. Blend together brining mix until salt dissolves. Place chicken in brine in a large covered bowl and marinate, refrigerated, for 4 hours.
Whisk egg well in a stainless-steel bowl and add peanut oil and 21/2 cups water. Add in dry mix, whisking slowly so batter doesn’t clump.
To prepare chicken: Fill a large cast-iron skillet halfway with equal amounts peanut oil and lard. Slowly bring temperature to 375 degrees. (Use a candy thermometer.) While oil is heating, remove chicken from brine and place in a colander in sink. Once chicken has drained, pat dry with paper towels (a critical step) and season with salt and pepper.
Dip chicken in batter and place (carefully) in hot oil. Adjust heat, as the chicken will bring the oil temperature down dramatically — you want it back up to just above 350 degrees. Turn chicken regularly using tongs to prevent burning. After 8 or 9 minutes, remove a piece, prick it to the bone with a fork, and mash it. If the juices run clear, it’s done. Continue cooking if necessary.
Serve with pickle-garlic relish. Cover any leftovers with a dish towel and leave out at room temperature (or in the fridge, if you must, although my grandmother never did). This keeps it crispy.