Okay, so I’m a sucker for fried chicken. You’d think between THE Mac and Cheese and its popularity and my love for fried chicken, I’d be a southern girl. Not so much, but it I’m trying to prove that even girls from the frozen north can cook the good stuff.
And best of all, my twist makes this guilt-free.
These beauties leave no after-eating-fried-food, why-the-heck-did-I-eat-that?, regret. Because of the way I fry them, you can safely and happily eat them with no remorse.
It’s coconut oil, friends. Because of its ability to withstand high temperatures, and its myriad of health benefits, I do almost all of my cooking with coconut oil. And no, it doesn’t make your chicken taste tropical if you buy a good, refined oil with no coconut flavor. I use an organic, expeller pressed oil that I buy by the gallon which makes it much more affordable than off the store shelves.
So, for about 20 tenders (I usually double so we have lots of leftovers), cut 4-5 breasts into strips and put them into a bowl with about 2 cups of buttermilk. Just make sure they are all covered and let them soak in the fridge for at least a couple hours or even overnight.
Now, you’ll need your flour mixture. In a large, shallow dish (I use a 9×13″) whisk together:
2-1/2 c. of flour,
2-1/2 T. seasoned salt
1-1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Lay each buttermilk-coated tender in the flour mixture and press it in there well to coat it with as much flour as possible. You can make a whole pile at a time to get them ready for frying.
When you’re ready to fry, heat about 2-3 cups of coconut oil over medium heat in a very heavy frying pan. I love my cast iron skillet for this kind of project. You want a depth of oil of about 2 inches or so, so start with 2 cups or so and then add more oil as you go as needed.
When a bit of flour sprinkled in the oil bubbles when sprinkled in, the oil is hot enough. Now, let me say that fried chicken is a bit of a trial kind of thing. You have to get a feel for things. If the oil is too hot, it will burn the outside of the chicken and not cook the insides. So play wi th the temp a bit and don’t expect an exact science. Another tip for frying is to not overcrowd the pan. If you add too many tenders to the pan at once, it will bring the oil temp down a lot and slow your process considerably, so in my twelve inch skillet, I fry about 5 strips at a time.
Gently lay the tenders in for about 4 minutes or so or until the bottom is beautifully golden, then turn it over and let the other side get nice and golden. Remember, the times and temps are variable. Remove golden tenders to a paper towel-lined platter and keep warm in a 170 degree oven while the rest get fried.
When you have a lovely platter of the most delicious fried chicken you’ve ever tasted warm and ready for your family, you will be thinking, that Alison is one smart girl. :o)
- 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 20 chicken tenders
- 2 c. buttermilk
- 2-3 c. refined coconut oil
- 2-1/2 c. flour
- 2-1/2 T. seasoned salt
- 1-1/2 tsp. pepper
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- Soak chicken breasts that have been sliced into 4-5 strips or the chicken tenders in a bowl with the buttermilk covering them to soak for at least two hours or overnight.
- When it's time to make the chicken, mix the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, and remaining spices in a large, shallow dish.
- Lay each chicken piece in the flour mixture and press it in the well to coat both sides.
- Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a very heavy frying pan. I use cast iron. Add more oil as needed. The oil is hot enough when a bit of flour sprinkled in the oil bubbles when sprinkled in.
- *make sure you read the frying tips in the description above
- Gently lay the tenders in the hot oil and after several minutes when the bottom is golden brown, flip it to fry until golden on the other side. Frying times vary based on oil temp. Remove to a paper-towel lined platter and keep warm in a 170 degree oven until the rest are done.