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Recipe

Sunday Night Fried Chicken

Evan Sung

Servings: 4–6

New Orleans chef Donald Link’s undestandably popular fried chicken is made just like his granny used to make in Lake Charles: seasoned, skillet-fried, dark, and so crunchy that each bite practically echoes through the large dining room at his restaurant Cochon. Letting the bird rest for up to 20 minutes after frying is critical, allowing the natural chicken juices to settle. In the meantime, you can make Link’s Dirty Rice to serve on the side.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces (see Tip, below)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 5 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups lard, vegetable shortening, bacon fat, or a combination of the three, for frying
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Preparation

  • In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, and hot sauce until evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day (the longer the better, to allow the seasonings to permeate the meat).
  • Transfer the chicken to a clean mixing bowl and pour the buttermilk over the chicken. Heat the frying fat of your choice in a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet to 350°F, or until a pinch of flour sizzles when dropped into the fat. As the oil heats, remove the chicken from the buttermilk, allowing excess liquid to drip off, and transfer to a clean bowl. Add the flour and toss to coat.
  • When the oil is ready, working in batches and starting with the large bone-in cuts, add the chicken pieces to the skillet, shaking off any excess flour before placing in the oil. (Make sure not to overcrowd the pan.) Fry the chicken pieces, turning with tongs occasionally and making sure the oil maintains a mellow sizzle, 8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Let the chicken sit for 20 minutes while you make the dirty rice, then serve the chicken with the dirty rice on the side.

Tip

Cutting the chicken into 10 pieces instead of the more typical 8 results in smaller pieces with more crispy goodness. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces, leaving the drumstick side of the wing attached to the breast. Then cut the breast in half, so you end up with two wings, two thighs, two legs, and four pieces of breast (two with a partial wing attached).

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