I have to admit it: I am a fried chicken junkie. It is one my favorite foods in the whole world. Fried chicken thighs become so succulent and juicy, this is probably one of the best ways to cook them. The fat melts inside the crisp crust and when you bite into it, the thigh explodes with flavor. Yeah…..I’m addicted. I always used to eat fried chicken with hot sauce and honey. A pretty traditional way to eat it. Until I read about fried chicken in James Beard’s American Cookery. Where I found a recipe for Tabasco fried chicken. I have taken a few liberties with the method but this is essentially the same recipe. It is incredible. I just knew I had to share it with you.
Many Southern recipes call for either milk or tomato gravy. Usually they use the drippings from pan fried chicken and then add milk or heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. In this method, I deep fried the chicken instead of pan frying. So, the gravy is made in a separate pan and we utilize the milk from the marinade. It is safe to use the marinade milk because we are cooking it. The milk gravy helps to temper the fire of the Tabasco and complements the chicken nicely adding that extra something to the dish. You can omit the gravy if you wish, but perhaps you should try it at least once.
adapted from James Beard’s American Cookery
- 3½ lb frying chicken cut into 8 pieces
- 1½ cups milk
- 2 Tbsp Tabasco
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- Canola oil for frying
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. It helps to place the bag into a mixing bowl for support. Place the chicken pieces into the bag, seal it most of the way and expel excess air by squeezing the bag then seal the rest of the way. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.
Put 4 inches of oil in a straight sided heavy bottom pot and place over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F. In the meantime, remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the marinade. In another resealable bag mix all of the seasoned flour ingredients. Reserve 3 tablespoons for later use, if making the gravy. Place two pieces of chicken at a time into the bag, seal the bag trapping some air, and shake to coat the chicken. Repeat until all pieces are coated. When the oil reaches 350°F, fry four pieces at a time, until the chicken is golden brown and the internal temperature is 165°F, and/or when pricked with a fork, the juices run clear. Drain the chicken on paper towel and tent with foil to keep them warm while the rest of the chicken is frying.
- milk from marinaded chicken
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp of reserved seasoned flour
- Salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- Tabasco to taste
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly for a few minutes until the mixture gets a nutty aroma but be careful not to let it brown. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the milk reserved from the marinade until smooth. Place the saucepan back onto the heat and bring to a boil stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer and cook until it has a nice smooth texture. Add salt, black pepper and Tabasco to taste. Serve with the chicken