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Fried Chicken

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Fried Chicken

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The Most, Ahem, Practical Southern Fast Food-Themed Merch in 2017, and What We Wished We Saw Instead

Remember Kentucky Fried Chicken’s $5,000 internet escape pod? 2017 produced some fun and unusual collaborations between the food and fashion industries, including quirky foodie merchandise we didn’t know we needed.

Fast-food chains no longer want to be known just for food. The food-themed merchandise and products make sense for fast-food brands like KFC and Coca-Cola who are looking for ways to grab the attention of younger generations like millennials.


KFC’s fried chicken throw pillow is at the top of our wish list. Atlanta-based Coca-Cola released a new line of luggage just in time for Christmas and if you’re not wearing a biscuit head hat from Popeye’s, you're missing out on a way to show the world how much you love biscuits.

Oh and Arby’s, which is also based in Atlanta, Georgia will be giving out Meat Sweats (a comfortable onesie created from fabric that has different meats in the pattern) to lucky carnivores who have posted the meatiest pictures on social media.

But there are a few pieces of merchandise we think Southern food brands are missing in their online stores.

Chick-fil-A has a small selection of t-shirts that are available for purchase online and it recently released the 20th edition of the Cow Calendar. But what do we really want from this Southern fast-food chain? A fried chicken romper. What better way to eat chicken nuggets than in a cozy onesie covered in fried chicken?

Tennessee-based Cracker Barrel is known for its old country store setup and offers an array of old time food products. The company does sell apparel and décor in the store, but those come from a third party. Our suggestion would be a line of Cracker Barrel aprons. We would love to slip on a Cracker Barrel apron before heading into the kitchen to make some cornbread. 

Another Southern fast-food chain, Bojangles, also has an online store in the works. According to the website, it'll be “A new Bojangles’ store featuring Tailgating Essentials, Our Famous Fry Seasoning, and 'It’s Bo Time' gear.” We hope that means fried chicken football jerseys. 

And while we're talking, we'd also love to make chicken and waflles with a waffle iron from Waffle House, if you're listening! In the meantime, here are two fried chicken recipes that'll handle any hunger you've developed while reading this story.


Recipes 

Southern Cast Iron Fried Chicken
Serves:
4
Hands On Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours and 0 minutes

Ingredients
4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
8 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup garlic powder
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
Vegetable shortening or peanut oil, for frying

Instructions
In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and hot sauce. Add the chicken pieces and submerge in the buttermilk. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for at least 6 hours.

When you're ready to cook the chicken, line two baking sheets with wire cooling racks.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne, Old Bay, paprika and onion powder. Transfer to a large, heavy-duty paper bag.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drain off. Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the flour. Clasp the bag at the top and vigorously shake the bag to completely coat the chicken with the flour. Remove the chicken from the bag, tap off excess flour, and transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets. Let rest for 15 minutes.

As the chicken is resting, fill a large cast iron skillet one third of the way up the sides with melted shortening or peanut oil. Place the pot over medium to medium-high heat and bring the oil to 325 degrees. Monitor the oil's temperature using a fryer or candy thermometer.

When the oil is hot, add the legs and thighs of the chicken first, placing them around the sides of the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the breasts and the wings. Cover the skillet with a wire splatter screen to prevent excess grease from adhering to your kitchen surfaces. Fry, flipping occasionally, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.

When the chicken has finished cooking, transfer to the second prepared baking sheet and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. 


Chicken and Waffles
Serves:
4
Hands On Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours and 30 minutes

Ingredients

Fried Chicken
4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
8 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup garlic powder
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
Vegetable shortening or peanut oil, for frying

Buttermilk Waffles
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
Nonstick oil spray
Maple syrup, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving (see note)

Instructions
To make the fried chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and hot sauce. Add the chicken pieces and submerge in the buttermilk.

Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for at least 6 hours.

When you're ready to cook the chicken, line two baking sheets with wire cooling racks.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne, Old Bay, paprika and onion powder. Transfer to a large, heavy-duty paper bag.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drain off. Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the flour. Clasp the bag at the top and vigorously shake the bag to completely coat the chicken with the flour. Remove the chicken from the bag, tap off excess flour, and transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets. Let rest for 15 minutes.

As the chicken is resting, fill a large cast iron skillet one third of the way up the sides with melted shortening or peanut oil. Place the pot over medium to medium-high heat and bring the oil to 325 degrees. Monitor the oil's temperature using a fryer or candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 250 degrees.

When the oil is hot, add the legs and thighs of the chicken first, placing them around the sides of the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the breasts and the wings. Cover the skillet with a wire splatter screen to prevent excess grease from adhering to your kitchen surfaces. Fry, flipping occasionally, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.

When the chicken has finished cooking, transfer to the second prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while preparing the waffles.
To make the buttermilk waffles: Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a wire rack and place in the oven.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda until combined. 

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until smooth, then add the buttermilk and melted butter, and whisk to combine. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is just brought together; some lumps are okay. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spray thoroughly with oil spray. Scoop 1/2 to 1 cup of batter (depending on the size of the waffle iron) into the center of the waffle iron. Cover and cook until golden brown and slightly crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining batter. 

Transfer to a plate and serve with the fried chicken, maple syrup and hot sauce.


Author image

Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.

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