Frying can be daunting — especially when you’re frying chicken. Ensuring that chicken is cooked to crispy, golden perfection while remaining tender and juicy can be quite the task. However, with a long, overnight soak in buttermilk, you’ll be able to get moist, yet crispy chicken: the perfect brunch accompaniment to waffles and a drizzle of maple syrup.
- The night before, place the chicken breasts or tenders into a large, zip-top bag. Pour the buttermilk and hot sauce into the bag and sprinkle in the spices. Seal the bag and toss the chicken in the buttermilk and seasonings until every piece is fully coated. Place the bag in a large bowl (to prevent any leaks) and refrigerate overnight.
- To make the breading, combine flour and seasonings in a large bowl. Whisk to combine well.
- Prepare a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and set near the oven. Prepare another large rimmed baking sheet with wire racks or paper towels and set near the first baking sheet.
- Remove a few pieces of chicken from the marinade and toss them in the breading mixture. Press the chicken firmly into the breading and coat the chicken entirely. Set breaded chicken onto the foil-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken.
- Pour the oil in a large pot until it is filled 1” deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches about 350° F. Carefully fry a few pieces of chicken in the hot oil for about 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken in the pot and fry for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Check the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it reached 165° F.
- Transfer the fried chicken back onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken. Once all chicken has been fried, finish with a sprinkle of salt.
- Preheat waffle iron.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, sugars and baking powder. Add eggs, melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
- Pour ½ cup of waffle batter into the pre-heated waffle maker. Cook waffles until browned, according to waffle maker instructions.
Infused Maple Syrup
- Cut the stem end off of each jalapeño. Cut one jalapeño in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Cut the de-seeded jalapeño halves into smaller pieces and set aside.
- Slice the second jalapeño into thin rings. Set aside.
- Warm the maple syrup in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the jalapeños and crushed red pepper, and cook for ten minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Let the jalapeños steep in the syrup for another 10 minutes, then strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into a jar fitted with a lid.
- Keep the jalapeño maple syrup refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Chef Kasim Tips
If you aren’t familiar with buttermilk, this slightly acidic liquid left behind after the churning process of butter is a go-to for both chefs and bakers. It also happens to be a magical ingredient for fried chicken.
Buttermilk gently tenderizes by breaking down proteins without toughening up the meat. And that’s not all. Buttermilk imparts flavor and acts as a coating, which helps flour and seasonings adhere better to your chicken.
No buttermilk on hand? No problem. Simply add a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk. This simple substitute will also be acidic yet mild enough to gently tenderize chicken.
Keep a close eye on the fried chicken and adjust the heat as necessary. If the chicken is not crisping up, turn the heat up a little. If it is browning too quickly, turn the heat down. Add a touch more oil if necessary between batches and wait for the oil to return to 350° F before cooking additional chicken.