- 4 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 frying chickens (about 3 pounds each), cut up
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- Olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
Combine the buttermilk, thyme, Tabasco, Worcestershire, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the pepper in a nonreactive bowl large enough to contain all of the chicken pieces with at least 1 inch to spare. Add the chicken and turn to coat fully in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before frying.
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large, shallow bowl, combine the flour, remaining 1 tablespoon salt, Cajun seasoning, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and roll it around in the seasoned flour until completely covered. Set it on the prepared baking sheet; repeat with the remaining chicken. Dip the coated chicken pieces once more in the marinade, then again in flour. Return the pieces to the baking sheet (a few minutes’ rest makes for a sturdier, crisper coating).
Have a wire cooling rack set over paper towels ready. In a large, heavy Dutch oven, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F on a deep-fat thermometer. Using kitchen tongs, add a few chicken pieces at a time to the hot oil (crowding will lower the temperature, making for greasy chicken). Fry the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 180°F, about 10 minutes per side (watch carefully, it can easily burn). Transfer the cooked chicken to the wire rack. Serve immediately or at room temperature (don’t let the chicken sit more than 2 hours).
Do it Early
The chicken can be fried up to 2 days in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Serve it cold—a classic Texas picnic food—or reheat on wire racks set on baking sheets in a 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
If the chicken looks pretty dark before it is cooked through, transfer to wire racks set on baking sheets and bake in a 375°F oven until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 180°F on an instant-read thermometer. Keep fried chicken warm in a 200°F oven. Using a digital thermometer eliminates the need to stand over the chicken. When the alarm sounds, the meat is done.