Nashville hot chicken

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

Start this recipe at least a day ahead to brine and rest the chicken.

  • 1 chicken (about 1.4kg)
  • 1 litre buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp mild-flavoured hot sauce, such as Frank’s
  • 1¼ tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 400 gm plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • ¾ tsp each of garlic and onion powders
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) canola oil
  • 420 gm (2 cups) lard (see note)
  •  
  • Chicken brine
  • 185 gm (¾ cup) salt
  • 165 gm (¾ cup) caster sugar
  •  
  • Hot spice mix
  • 40 gm (1/3 cup) smoked paprika
  • 40 gm (1/3 cup) hot cayenne pepper
01   For chicken brine, bring 3 litres water to the boil in a large saucepan, add salt and sugar, and stir to dissolve both. Pour brine into a large non-reactive container, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled.
02   For hot spice mix, combine ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
03   Cut chicken into 8 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings and 2 breast pieces on the bone, then halve each through the bone, rinse under cold water, then submerge in chilled brine, cover and refrigerate to soak (12 hours).
04   Make an ice bath in a bowl with equal parts ice and water. Remove chicken from brine and transfer to ice bath for 5 minutes (to wash away the impurities drawn to the skin while brining), then remove and pat dry.
05   Mix buttermilk, hot sauce, 1 tbsp pepper and 2 tbsp hot spice mix in a large container.
06   Add chicken, cover and marinate at room temperature (1 hour). Drain chicken, briefly rinse under cold water and pat dry.
07   Mix flour, 2 tbsp hot spice mix, cornflour, garlic and onion powders, and remaining pepper, in a large bowl. Add chicken, turn to coat well and refrigerate to rest (at least 3 hours or overnight).
08   Shake off excess coating from chicken and transfer to a wire rack to rest (15 minutes).
09   Heat oil and 1½ cups of lard to 150C in a large heavy-based frying pan at least 6cm deep (see note). Add chicken breasts and thighs, and cook (3 minutes), then add legs and wings and cook, turning carefully and occasionally until all the chicken is crisp and a deep-golden colour (15-17 minutes). Transfer to wire racks to rest.
10   Melt remaining lard gently in a saucepan over low-medium heat then transfer to a warm bowl. Add 2 tbsp spice mix and 1 tsp salt, stir to combine, then add a couple of chicken pieces at a time, turn to coat and return to wire rack. Sprinkle remaining spice mix over to taste and serve hot.

Note For lard, combine 1kg diced pork backfat with 125ml water in a large saucepan over low heat and cook until rendered to 375ml (1½ hours). Strain through a fine sieve and discard solids. Lard will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks. If you use a large cast-iron frying pan with high sides and the recommended 1.4kg chicken, you should be able to fry the whole chicken at once. If this isn't possible, use two skillets and mix two batches of oil and lard to achieve the right flavour and crispness.

Topics:

BUTTERMILK, SNACK, AMERICAN, CHICKEN, CHEFS' RECIPES, SPRING, GARLIC, PAPRIKA

Recipe:

SEAN BROCK

Photography:

ROB SHAW

Styling:

LISA FEATHERBY

FEATURED IN

Sep 2014

Sep 2014

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