A basket of crispy fried chicken is perfect for a picnic: It’s tasty, and you can eat it with your hands. The key to making it is marinating the meat in buttermilk overnight or for at least 8 hours. The buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and gives it a rich, slightly tangy flavor. For a little extra kick, add a generous amount of Tabasco. Serve the chicken with a scoop of coleslaw and a glass of lemonade. Although eating fried chicken might cause concern for the health conscious, panfried chicken actually absorbs very little oil; for example, eight servings of chicken (two per person) absorb only about 2 3/4 tablespoons of oil.
List of Ingredients
3 tablespoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
2- to 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 cups nonfat buttermilk
3 tablespoons Tabasco (optional)
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pounds vegetable shortening
1. In a medium container, combine ice water and 2 tablespoons salt; add chicken. Be sure water completely covers chicken. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
2. Place buttermilk in a medium airtight container. Add chicken pieces, turning to coat in liquid. Cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
3. Swirl Tabasco into buttermilk mixture. Transfer chicken to a wire rack to drain.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside. Place flour, remaining 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper in a large, shallow dish. Mix to combine. Lightly coat chicken in flour mixture. Tap to remove excess. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
5. Heat vegetable shortening in a deep 12-inch pot over medium-high heat to 350°. Use tongs to place chicken pieces in oil. Fry until deep mahogany color is achieved, about 18 minutes, turning every 7 to 8 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh should register 170°. Transfer to a wire rack to drain. Season with salt.