Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Hot Cajun Blackening Spice
By Jack Sadler
Rated 5.0 stars by 1 users
Fried chicken might just be the perfect summer picnic food. Tasty hot or at room temperature, the crispy crunch of a good fried chicken can’t be beat. Oaktown's Hot Cajun Blackening Spice is an exceptional blend for this recipe.
The warmth of the paprika, the heat from the chiles, and the aromatic herbs all come together for a cluckin’ good time. An optional dash of MSG is the not-so-secret ingredient that evokes nostalgia. Combining all the spices ahead of time into a "Chicken Shake" makes for easy and convenient seasoning throughout the recipe.
This technique can also be endlessly customized with your own combination of spices.
Repurposing the buttermilk soak into a pre-dredge batter allows for better crust adhesion, and the baking powder in the dredge provides lots of little micro-bubbles, giving that oh so satisfying crunch!
This recipe calls for a whole chicken broken into parts, but it can just as easily be made with either light or dark meat pieces.
Note: You'll want a kitchen thermometer for this recipe.
4 tablespoons Oaktown Spice Shop Hot Cajun Blackening Spice
3 tablespoons Pacific Flake Sea Salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper, such as Tellicherry Black Peppercorns
¼ tsp MSG (optional)
- 1 whole chicken broken into 8-10 pieces, or 3-4 lbs of desired chicken pieces
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- ⅓ cup vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Scarlet Fire
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (for a lighter crispier crust, substitute 1 cup with corn or potato starch)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2-3 cups neutral oil, such as vegetable, canola, or peanut
- Prepare the Chicken Shake by combining the Hot Cajun Blackening Spice, Pacific Flake Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and MSG if using. Set aside.
- Combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, and 2 tablespoons of the Chicken Shake. Add the buttermilk mixture and the chicken to a zip-top bag and massage to coat evenly. To avoid single use plastic a bowl or dish can be used, but more buttermilk and Chicken Shake would be required to keep everything submerged. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
- When it’s time to fry, whisk together flour (plus optional starch), baking powder, and 4 tablespoons of reserved Chicken Shake in a large bowl or dish.
- Place the chicken pieces on a wire rack to drain and transfer the buttermilk mixture to a bowl or dish large enough to dip chicken. Whisk 3-4 tablespoons of the seasoned flour into the buttermilk mixture until it has a loose pancake batter consistency.
- Next, drizzle a few tablespoons of the batter back into the seasoned flour and whisk. This will create lots of extra little craggy bits that get extra crispy in the fryer. Dip each piece of chicken into the batter and let the excess drip off. Transfer each piece to the seasoned flour, making sure every nook and cranny is fully coated. Return the dredged chicken to the wire rack to let the coating set while the oil heats up.
- Fill a large (preferably cast iron) skillet or dutch oven about ¾” deep with oil. Once the oil reaches 350F, it’s time to carefully place the chicken skin side down into the pan. The oil temperature will drop once the chicken is added; the goal is to maintain a fry temp of 325F. Fry for about 8-10 mins a side or until golden brown and internal temperature is 165F for light meat, 175F for dark.
- If the chicken gets golden brown before it reaches temp, it can be placed in a 350F oven to finish cooking. Drain chicken pieces on a wire rack for excess oil to drip away.
- For extra crispy chicken, let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes, then fry a second time at 350F for 1-2 minutes, fully setting the outer crust.
- Sprinkle the finished chicken with a final dusting of the Chicken Shake when it’s fresh out of the fryer. Reserve any leftover Chicken Shake for future use.
- Let the oil cool to room temperature and strain through a coffee filter. This oil can be reused for future fry sessions.