Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Fried Chicken: Reloaded

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 50 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: Feeds 4, or maybe 2?definitely 1?depending



  1. Place the chicken pieces on a cooling rack set over a half sheet pan and sprinkle on all sides with the salt. Set aside at room temp for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine the black pepper, sumac, cayenne and garlic powder in a small bowl, then divide the blend into two equal portions (total mixture = 6 teaspoons). Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with half of the spice mixture then refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours (overnight would be better).
  3. 30 minutes before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch and the remaining spice mixture in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and bourbon.
  4. Dunk the chicken pieces, one at a time, into the buttermilk mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture. Use your fingers to massage the flour coating onto the chicken (see Cook's Note). Place the coated pieces back on the cooling rack and rest from 10 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Heat the peanut oil to 350 degrees F in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, about 15 minutes.
  6. Fry the chicken in three batches, rotating the pieces every 3 to 4 minutes and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 325 degrees F. If you manage the heat just right, the exterior of the chicken will be golden brown right as the interior temperature hits 155 degrees F, 12 to 15 minutes per batch. Rest the chicken on a cooling rack turned upside down on a paper towel?lined pan for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Cook’s Note

If you really don't feel like handling this yourself, you can ask your butcher (if you can find one in this day and age) or simply purchase a mixture of pre-cut bone-in pieces. I'm not a fan of breast meat, but if you go that way make sure that the rib cage is still in place and that the entire wing has been removed. This is really more of a pressing and squeezing motion than it is a massage (or at least it's more shiatsu than Swedish).