When I was a kid, I used to just love the huge trays of fried chicken that my parents and I would pick up on our way home from church when we would invite company over for lunch. What memories! I’d already be absolutely starving by the time church services would let out around noon, so when we’d stop at my parent’s favorite chicken place to pick up their phoned-in order for a ginormous quantity of fried chicken pieces, I would plead with my mom and dad to let me take just one little piece out of that foil-wrapped tray, one itty-bitty little drumstick to nibble on for the drive home, and they pretty much always obliged. Actually, if memory serves me correctly, my dad would often join me in that little snack, and it would tie us both over nicely until we got home and set up for our lunch guests, certainly ravenous by that point themselves . Boy, would that hot, fresh, crispy fried chicken taste great; the savory juices would flow, and that little puff of hot steam would come out when a big bite was taken. Peppery and crispy, there was nothing like it; and frankly, it made inviting company over to the house, spur-of-the-moment, a real treat. And since my dad is the wonderful type to always get more of something than he’ll probably need “just in case”, that big ol’ tray of chicken that he ordered always yielded lots of left-overs for us to enjoy later on that evening after our guests had left, and even the next day. (Now that I think of it, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he ordered more than enough on purpose — and who could blame him?) Ah, do I love memories…especially ones having to do with the four “F’s”: family, friends, fun and fried chicken.
In my mind, there is something so very homey and comforting about fried chicken; it’s one of those “happy” recipes, one that makes me think of get-togethers, potlucks, lunch-after-church gatherings, and family picnics. Come to think of it, I’ve yet to see a person have a frown on their face while eating deliciously crispy, fried chicken; have you? And I’m pretty sure that the fact that fried chicken is a food that is best enjoyed sans utensils, straight from hand to mouth, makes it that much more a fun food to eat — the more crispy bits left on the finger tips, the more fun to lick off afterwards!
“Colonel Cozy’s” Double-Dredged, Buttermilk Fried Chicken with, count ’em, twelve herbs and spices (one more than that other Colonel’s, who shall remain nameless here) is my salute to the four “F’s” of life. When there are cozy get-togethers with family and friends, then hearts sing, bellies rumble in anticipation of good eats, and all sorts of fun times roll. Add in some freshly prepared, hot, juicy and crispy buttermilk fried chicken, and that makes a home-style gathering a delicious, finger-licking treat — and what could be better?
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
“Colonel Cozy’s” Double-Dredged, Extra Crispy, Buttermilk Fried Chicken with 12 Herbs & Spices
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(Makes 8 pieces)
1 fryer chicken, cut-up into 8 pieces (or 4 breasts and 4 legs)
2 tablespoons salt, divided use
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided use
1 tablespoon granulated garlic, divided use
1 tablespoon onion powder, divided use
1 tablespoon paprika, divided use
1 tablespoon smoked paprika, divided use
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, divided use
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided use
½ teaspoon ground white pepper, divided use
4 cups buttermilk
4 cups flour
• Peanut (or vegetable) oil for frying
-Place the chicken pieces into a large bowl; add 1 tablespoon of the salt, and ½ tablespoon each of the black pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, paprika, smoked paprika and Italian seasoning, and ¼ teaspoon of the cayenne pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of the ground white pepper; rub these spices and seasoning into the chicken, and allow this to sit for about 5 minutes; next, add the buttermilk to cover the seasoned chicken, and allow the chicken to marinate in it for, ideally, 12 hours for intense flavor, or at least 4 hours.
-To prepare the chicken for coating, prepare two wire racks set over two baking sheets lined with foil; add the flour into a large bowl, and to the flour add the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, and the remaining ½ tablespoon each of the black pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, paprika, smoked paprika and Italian seasoning, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of the cayenne pepper, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper, and whisk to combine the seasoning with the flour; remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk, and place them onto one of the wire racks to allow the excess buttermilk to drip off; next, dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour, and place onto the other wire rack, repeating the process until all pieces are flour-dredged; next, go back and re-dip the chicken pieces into the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip off, and then one again add back into the seasoned flour, pressing the chicken pieces into the flour and coating a second time, and placing them back onto the second wire rack; repeat until all pieces are double-dredged; keep the pieces on the wire rack while you heat the oil.
-Add enough oil to a large pot or a large, deep, cast-iron skillet to come up about half way (do not fill more than that), and bring the temperature of the oil up to 350°; once the oil is hot, fry the chicken pieces in batches of two or three, turning once or twice, until golden brown and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes for white meat, and 13-14 minutes for dark; remove and drain on a clean wire rack set over a paper towel or foil-lined baking sheet to catch any grease/drippings; serve while hot,or enjoy cold!