Fried chicken is the universal way to show love.
- 2 chickens, broken down into 10 pieces each (breasts are cut into 2 pieces), backbone discarded
- 5 cups strained pickle juice
- 4 cups buttermilk
- 16 cups canola oil
- 6 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
- 4 tbsp cayenne
- 1 tbsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground mace
- 1 tbsp poultry seasoning (see Note)
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp whole fennel seed
- 4 tbsp kosher salt, plus more
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- hot sauce, for serving
- lemon wedges, for serving
- slices of white bread, for serving
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time: at least 28 hours
In a large bucket or pot, submerge the chicken pieces in the pickle juice. Refrigerate for 24 hours (or up to 3 days).
Remove the chicken pieces from the pickle brine and submerge it in the buttermilk. Refrigerate for another 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
In a large bowl, combine the flour with the spices. Generously season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Toss chicken pieces throuroughly in flour, shaking off excess. Place on a rack on a track, ready to fry.
Heat 10 cm (4 inches) of oil in a deep fryer or large, deep heavy-duty saucepan (see Note) over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 300-325°F / 150-160°C.
Working in batches, fry the chicken, turning occasionally, until it is cooked through and brown, 15 minutes for white meat, 20 minutes for dark meat. Drain on a cooling rack fitted over a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with hot sauce, lemon wedges, and the bread.
• Also known as chicken seasoning; available from some supermarkets.
• For safety, make sure the saucepan or pot is large enough that the oil reaches less than half way up the sides.