How to make perfect buttermilk fried chicken

Perfect picnic fare: cold buttermilk fried chicken.
Perfect picnic fare: cold buttermilk fried chicken. Photo: William Meppem

Once you've mastered Jill Dupleix's buttermilk chicken recipe mix it up with these tips and riffs.

Tips

  • The secret to a thick, crisp coating is to double-dip in buttermilk and seasoned flour.
  • Add cornflour to the plain flour to help keep the coating crisp.
  • Buy chicken marylands, and cut through the joint to separate drumsticks and thighs.
  • Cook same-sized chicken pieces at the same time.
  • Eat with your hands – it tastes twice as good this way.

Mix it up

  • Serve fried chicken with purple cabbage slaw, crisp green beans, mashed potato, warm potato salad or buttered corn cobs.
     
  • Buttermilk fried chicken is just as delicious cold, which makes it perfect picnic fare (pictured above).
     
  • You'll be needing pickles. Try dill pickles, pickled chillies, pickled onions, sweet gherkins or cornichons.
     
  • Or make your own quick pickle: finely slice a red onion and pickle in 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar for a few hours, then drain.
     
  • Skip the deep-fryer and pan-fry instead. Brine and flour the chicken, pan-fry in 2 tablespoons  of olive oil until golden, then bake at 180C for 45 minutes or until cooked.
     
  • For the best fried chicken burgers ever, make this recipe with boneless chicken thighs and serve in burger buns with coleslaw, pickles and mayo.
     
  • Got a crowd? Serve miniature fried chicken as cocktail party snacks – joint two or three poussin (small chickens) into eight pieces each, dip in buttermilk and spiced flour and deep-fry for 6 minutes until crisp.
     
  • For super-hot Nashville-style fried chicken, add 2 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Tabasco) to the buttermilk brine and double the cayenne in the flour. But don't say I didn't warn you.