Comfort food go to buttermilk fried chicken wings to cope with Hurricane Harvey blues
There is nothing ‘so Dallas’ as fried chicken from Henderson’s, Hall’s, Rudy’s, Spain’s or even Bubba’s. The latter two are Northside or Nawf Dallas joints vs. the former three the dirty Southside. This buttermilk fried chicken wings recipe is more of a nod to the Southside trio where you’re subject to get a “basket” beautifully fried golden yardbird served with fries, pickles, and a pepper over a few slices of white bread. In Dallas as true for most if not all of Texas, we are about that seasoning vs. sauce which my Chicago peeps swear by.
I love them all as well as the newer more upscale Eater identified spots like Ellen’s and Chicken Scratch, but I’m partial to Henderson’s Fried Chicken Shack partly out of convenience in addition to its great taste and texture. Henderson’s is near the beer store so back in the day you could get a 40 oz or quart of beer and a fried chicken wings basket. There were a few times where I tried getting the chicken to go, but the aroma made it extremely difficult to make the 15 minute drive home without diving in. Those rare nights you could count on a greasy steering wheel and crumbs on the floor. Henderson’s also had the advantage of being across the street for Booker’s Arandis which was a hole in the wall club that specialized in blues, swing-out dancing, and stiff drinks. After a night of dancing and drinking nothing was a better nightcap than a 2 Piece White (breast/wing) from Henderson’s.
Rudy’s Fried Chicken has that seasoning though! Based on taste it’s a combination of garlic, paprika, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and possibly MSG, given how addictive it is. The only downside to Rudy’s is there is no such thing as a slow night; there will always be a line so be prepared to wait.
Hall’s is probably the most accessible as it has multiple locations throughout Dallas and the south suburbs. Once upon a time before gentrification and new development Hall’s was a centerpiece to the neighborhood. It was located a block from the neighborhood football field, where we played our pee wee football games every Fall Saturday. I played in the early games and then hung around to watch all the later games. In between games I skipped the concessions and walked the few blocks to Hall’s flush with cash I had earned from scoring touchdowns and got a small basket of fried chicken wings.
I was fortunate as a kid to enjoy some great fried chicken courtesy of my grandmother. It was on the menu every Sunday. Fast forward to current day in my household, about 6 out the 7 days in a week we eat pretty clean mostly plant based, but leave that one day open for any creativity we’re feeling that particular day or for whatever fix we need to get that monkey off our backs. We don’t always use that cheat, it’s actually rare, but it’s always available. Today with all the Hurricane Harvey madness I’m in need of some comfort, so it’s chipotle infused buttermilk fried chicken wings cooked over some dope Dallas hip hop.
Chipotle infused Buttermilk Fried Chicken Wings
- 4 chicken wings
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 2 whole dried chipotle chili peppers optional
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup corn meal
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground sage
- 1/2 tsp ground bay leaves
- 1 tsp mace
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- Peanut oil for frying
Make the Brine
Heat heavy cast iron skillet on high heat. Add chili peppers (remove seeds and veins if you prefer less heat) to the skillet for 2 minutes to release aroma of the smoked chiles.
Remove chiles from heat and add to blender with buttermilk and dried basil and pulse until chiles are broken down completely.
In a large bowl add the chicken and buttermilk mixture. Brine in refrigerator 2-8 hours.
Fry the Chicken
Set up metal rack with foil lined baking sheet beneath. Remove chicken from refrigerator, place on rack and let reach room temperature.
Heat oil in a deep skillet or fryer over medium high heat to 350 degrees.
Mix the flour and spices together in a large bowl. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the flour mixture.
Add the chicken to the oil a few pieces at a time without overcrowding. Cover pan and fry anywhere from 5-7 minutes. Turn, cover and cook additional 3-5 minutes more.
Remove the chicken from the oil and let it drain on metal rack for 5 minutes. Let cool for an additional 10 minutes before serving.