Crispy, moist, and flavorful buttermilk fried chicken adapted from Ad Hoc’s recipe. Garnish with fried herbs for even more flavor!
Fried chicken is an ultimate comfort food.
While it’s easy to simply purchase fried chicken, there is something so satisfying about home cooked fried chicken.
Ad Hoc Fried Chicken
I highly suggesting Googling “Ad Hoc Fried Chicken.” Ad Hoc is a restaurant in Yountville run by Chef Thomas Keller. (You may know him from Masterclass or because of his famous The French Laundry.)
Ad Hoc serves multi-course family style meals. One of the most popular items is their fried chicken.
I was lucky enough to enjoy several meals at Ad Hoc while I was attending culinary school in Napa Valley.
Pick the Right Chicken
To make delicious food, you need to start with quality ingredients.
First off, if you find “air-chilled” chicken- BUY THAT ONE!
Air-chilled chicken are more flavorful than other chicken. The meat is air-chilled immediately after slaughter. They generally are higher quality than the standard supermarket chicken.
The recipe here uses one whole chicken. A four to six pound chicken works best. This size chicken is usually labeled as “broiler-fryer” or “roaster” chicken.
It is very convenient and easy to simply purchase pre-packed, pre-sliced chicken.
While these modern advancements are time-saving, there is great satisfaction in breaking down a chicken at home.
Use a heavy-duty sharp knife and kitchen shears to help easily break down the whole chicken.
Break down the chicken into 10 pieces: two wings, four breast quarters, two thighs, and two legs.
Overnight Chicken Brine
Soak in the chicken pieces in a brine solution overnight, for up to 12 hours. 10 hours is a good medium point. More than 12 hours may result in a very salty chicken.
I prefer to deep fry using peanut oil, but canola and vegetable oil work just as well.
When frying, investment in a proper thermometer. You never have to guess if the oil is hot enough, and cooking the chicken (or making donuts) because very easy.
The chicken is floured twice, once before the buttermilk dip and once again afterward. Its well worth dunking the chicken twice.
The crispy and flavorful cooked batter is amazing. The use of fried thyme and rosemary also pairs wonderfully with the juicy fried chicken.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
- 4-6 pound whole chicken
- peanut oil or canola oil for deep-frying
- 2 lemons sliced
- ½ bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley (2 oz)
- ½ bunch thyme (½ oz)
- ¼ cup honey
- 6 cloves garlic halved
- 2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- 1 galloon water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp onion powder
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ quart buttermilk
- rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnish
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a sauce pot, combine all the ingredients except for the water. Add ½ gallon of water. Bring to a boil and stir until salt dissolves. Remove from heat. Add remaining ½ gallon of ice cold water. Brine should be cold before using. If the ice cold water has not cooled down brine, place in fridge until chilled.
- Cut chicken into 10 pieces consisting of: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, and 2 wings.
- Pour cold brine into a container large enough to hold chicken. Add chicken, cover, and chill for 10-12 hours.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken:
- Remove chicken from the brine. Rinse clean under running cold water. Pat dry with paper towels or allow to air-dry. Let it come to room temperature before using.
- Fill frying pot with at least 2 inches of oil (do not let oil come to more than ⅓ up sides of pan). Set thermometer in pot and heat oil up to 320° F.
- Take two baking sheets. Line both sheets with parchment paper, and set a cooling wire rack over one. Set aside.
- To make the flour coating, whisk together flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Divide among two shallow bowls. In a third bowl, add buttermilk. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the oil is almost at temperature, dip chicken thighs in first bowl of flour. Shake off excess flour, dip into buttermilk and allow excess liquid to go back into the buttermilk bowl. Dip into second bowl of flour, coating both sides of chicken. Place in 1st parchment line baking sheet. Continue with other thigh.
- Gently lower thigh into the hot oil. If temperature of oil dips, adjust heat to get back to 320° F. Fry 10-13 minutes, carefully moving the chicken around the oil, keeping track of the oil temperature and turning over chicken as necessary. Cook until coating is golden brown, very crispy, and chicken has an internal temperature of 165 °F. Once thighs are done, transfer to cooling wire rack with the skin-side up. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
- Meanwhile, coat the chicken legs in the same fashion.
- Once drumsticks are cooked, increase oil temperature to 340 ° F. Coat chicken breasts and wings. Fry breasts for 7-10 minutes, until cooked through and crisp. Transfer to rack, and season with °salt and pepper. Cook wings for 6-8 minutes.
- After you are done frying the chicken, add the rosemary and thyme to the hot oil. Be careful because any moisture/water from the herbs will cause the oil to splatter. Cook for a couple seconds until herbs are crisp and warm. Serve with chicken.