Adventures in Food: Harlan County Fried Chicken

Spicy Fried Chicken by M.Boyd

Spicy Fried Chicken by M.Boyd

I love southern cuisine– it’s in my roots to fry and barbecue everything. I’ve been having a hard time finding fried chicken in #yeg that was spicy, crispy but still juicy. Some places have batter that feels flat and frustrating. Some chicken wasn’t spicy at all!  That simply won’t do! It’s gotta be crispy, spicy, flavorful, and juicy!

I tried to hunt down a recipe I liked, but I found that I’d be better off cobbling together my own. My partner was gracious enough to often stand in front of the stove frying it. Recently a friend of mine and I planned a fried chicken and waffle potluck dinner for us and our partners. She’s quite the foodie, so hearing that this was the “best fried chicken ever!” was quite the compliment.

I can’t guarantee that you’d get fried chicken like this in Harlan County, but the name pays tribute to the fantastic Elmore Leonard short story Fire in the Hole, which inspired the TV show Justified

Chicken recipe

  • 3 lbs of chicken (legs and thighs with skin are best)
  • 1 litre of buttermilk
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of seasoning* (recipe below)
  • canola oil
  1. Put raw chicken in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Add hot sauce to taste. Canada doesn’t always have an excellent hot sauce selection so I used Tabasco and about 1/4 cup, depending on who I am feeding. Cover and let it sit for at least an hour. The longer, the better.
  2. Mix flour and seasoning in a shallow dish. Flour should look dirty. Feel free to add more or less if you like.
  3. Cover each piece of chicken with flour and seasoning mix. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Heat up oil in a cast iron pan. It should sizzle loudly if you spinkle a little water on it (around 375 F). Make sure there’s enough to submerge each piece of chicken half way.
  5. Cook each piece of chicken for about 12 minutes. It should look golden brown.
  6. Put chicken aside on some paper towel to soak of excess oil.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

Seasoning ( I make a large batch– feel free to divide by three; 3 tsp = 1 tbsp)

  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp ground sage
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp cayanne pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper
  • 5 tbsp paprika
  • 6 tbsp season salt

Music while you cook

A song for the show Justified from the wonderful Dave Alvin:

Advertisements

The Bluegrass State stole my heart

On our trip back home, we took a detour into Kentucky– land of horses, bourbon and the TV show Justified. I absolutely loved it there– wonderful people, beautiful landscape, warm weather, tasty food, excellent live music and quite affordable. I’d go back in a heartbeat and try to see some more of this great state. The pictures below were taken by yours truly and are from Old Friends (retirement home for race horses), Buffalo Trace Distillery and Keeneland racetrack.

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes

Photo by K. Barnes