Double-Dipped Buttermilk Fried Chicken
It’s that lovely time of the year, when dining indoors seems unseasonable and wrong. Patios, sidewalk cafes, and umbrellaed decks are swell, but nothing is more summery than getting out into parks for some plein air dining. Pack up a picnic and an old madras bedspread and find yourself a shady tree at Balboa Park, a grassy meadow at Vista Hermosa, or a breathtaking view of the sea at Abalone Cove. SoCal is just made for picnicking!
So is fried chicken, especially this recipe, which has a few things going for it. First, the chicken thighs marinate overnight in buttermilk, Sriracha, and dill, so that they’re very moist, tender, and flavorful. Second, every piece is double-dipped in the flour and buttermilk marinade — just before it goes into the hot oil, so it forms a super crispy, fried crust. It has a very satisfying, classic crunch, and it’s totally amazing dipped in the spicy-sweet honey.
And third, but not least, it’s made with boneless thighs. Why isn’t this first? Because much of the benefit is in the dining experience. Yes, the dark meat is juicier and more flavorful, but the thrilling part is that you don’t have to gnaw your fried chicken off the bone — while your paper plate wings its way across the lake, bird sanctuary, bowling green, or what have you. This is fried chicken for the fork and knife set.
Another bonus: Since there are no bones in this fried chicken, you could make sandwiches with the leftovers. Think super soft bun, bread and butter pickles, and a dollop of mayo, or if you’re feeling fancy, a pretzel bun, mustard greens, and spicy barbecue sauce.
1 to 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs
1 qt buttermilk
2 Tbsp Sriracha, divided
1 Tbsp dill
2 Tbsp honey
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups of canola oil
Jacobsen Salt Co. sea salt, to taste
In a casserole dish, combine the chicken thighs, buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of the Sriracha, and dill, and then put the chicken in the fridge to marinate for 12 to 24 hours. (Marinating in buttermilk makes the chicken extra tender.)
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for at least an hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 250°.
Add the oil to a large Dutch oven so that the oil is several inches deep. Note: It should be less than halfway full. Heat the oil to 350º.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining tablespoon of Sriracha and honey. Set aside.
In the meantime, add the flour to a clean casserole dish, and season it with sea salt. Set the flour aside.
Prepare a baking sheet for the fried chicken by lining it with paper towels and a baking rack. Place it in the warm oven.
When the oil is ready, use the double-dip technique to fry the chicken: Dip the chicken in the flour, coat it evenly, pat off the excess flour, place it back in the buttermilk marinade, dip it back into the flour, pat off the excess flour again, then gently place the chicken in the oil. Tip: To protect yourself from an oil burn, gently lay the chicken in the oil, away from yourself. No plopping! Just add 4 to 5 chicken thighs to the oil at a time, so that the oil temperature doesn’t drop.
Cook the chicken, stirring and flipping the pieces once or twice, until they are golden brown.
Transfer the cooked chicken to the baking sheet, and immediately season with sea salt, and then return the baking sheet to the oven. Repeat with the next batch of chicken until all the chicken is fried.
Drizzle the chicken with the honey, season with salt, and serve immediately.
Adapted from: Jacobsen Salt Co.