Makes 6 to 8 servings This classic fried chicken is salted overnight with lemon zest, resulting in tender, juicy, flavorful chicken that's a perfect match for the lightly seasoned crispy coating. Ask your butcher to break down a whole chicken, if you like, or pick your favorites, like all dark meat (that's what we did!)…
Makes 6 to 8 servings This classic fried chicken is salted overnight with lemon zest, resulting in tender, juicy, flavorful chicken that's a perfect match for the lightly seasoned crispy coating. Ask your butcher to break down a whole chicken, if you like, or pick your favorites, like all dark meat (that's what we did!) or all breasts.
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- Zest from 2 lemons (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 (3 to 4 lb) chicken, cut into 10 pieces, backbone and wing tips removed
- 3 eggs
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Vegetable oil, as needed for frying
- The night or morning before preparing, combine the salt and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to overnight.
- Pour the oil into a shallow skillet, like cast iron or stainless steel, to a depth of about 3/4-inch. Heat it to 350°F, adjusting the heat as needed. Place a wire rack inside a baking pan and set aside. If you do not have a rack, line the baking pan with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the buttermilk. Whisk to combine. Transfer the salted chicken to the buttermilk and make sure each piece is submerged.
- In another large bowl or shallow baking dish, combine the flour, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Use tongs to transfer each piece of chicken to the flour mixture, working in batches, if needed. Toss to coat. Shake off any excess flour and carefully lower into the oil mixture.
- Fry the chicken, turning as needed, until both sides are crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes per side for wings and 5 to 6 minutes per side for larger pieces, like breasts and thighs. Transfer to the wire rack as done and sprinkle with salt right away.
- If the internal temperature of the chicken is less than 165°F, transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking before serving.
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