Serious Efforts: A Buttermilk Brine for Fried Chicken?
I plan on making my first batch of fried chicken this weekend, and I've spent a couple of days thinking about how to proceed. I've been looking a few recipes, but two have really stood out-Thomas Keller's Fried Chicken and Alton Brown's.
I've been torn between brining in seasoned water vs. marinating in seasoned buttermilk. And while I saw the Edna Lewis post on this site about first brining and then tossing the chicken in buttermilk, I kind of want to simplify the process.
My Plan: Start with Thomas Keller's brine recipe, adjust the ingredients for just one 3 1/2 lb chicken and then use buttermilk instead of water for the brine.
Then, except for the double dredge and seasoning in Keller's recipe, I would proceed with Alton's cooking method: season the chicken before I dredge in flour (so the spices don't burn) use vegetable shortening (this apparently give the nicest crust, according to Alton) and, instead of paper towels, draining on cooling racks.
I just wondered if it'd be all right to boil the buttermilk and brining ingredients according to Keller's recipe. Would the buttermilk curdle? Would the lemon juice and peel that the recipe calls for make it curdle? I've read about flavoring buttermilk for a marinade, but never actually boiling it and then doing a full on brine. I only worry that something in this method of mine might make my finished prodct really sour and funky.
Also, in the TV episode that Alton does for his recipe, he mentions that letting the chicken sit too long after dredging is a bad thing (it becomes gluey)...but Keller says the chicken should rest for 1-2 hours.I wondered how you all feel about this. Do you think a double dredge, a long resting period and then Alton's cooking method would leave me with a thick doughy crust?
Thanks so much.