Buttermilk Fried Chicken Wings
Comfort food at its finest in the form of chicken wings marinated in chipotle infused buttermilk and deep fried to crispy perfection.Â
There is nothing â€˜so Dallasâ€™ as fried chicken from Hendersonâ€™s, Hallâ€™s, Rudyâ€™s, Spainâ€™s or even Bubbaâ€™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 youâ€™re subject to get a â€œbasketâ€ of 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 spotsÂ like Ellen’s and Chicken Scratch, but Iâ€™m partial to Hendersonâ€™s Fried Chicken Shack partly out of convenience in addition to its great taste and texture. Hendersonâ€™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. Hendersonâ€™s also had the advantage of being across the street for Bookerâ€™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 Hendersonâ€™s.
Rudyâ€™s Fried Chicken has that seasoning though! Based on taste itâ€™s a combination of garlic, paprika, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and possibly MSG, given how addictive it is. The only downside to Rudyâ€™s is there is no such thing as a slow night; there will always be a line so be prepared to wait.
Hallâ€™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 Hallâ€™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 Hallâ€™s flush with cash I had earned from scoring touchdowns and got a small basket of fried chicken wings.
How Should I Brine The Chicken?
I was fortunate as a kid to enjoy some great fried chicken courtesy of my grandmother. She had a great buttermilk fried chicken recipe and it was on the menu every Sunday.Â Fast forward to current day in my household we try to honor many of those tradition from my childhood. We don’t enjoy fried chicken with the same frequency, but when we do it’s grandma level fried bird with a twist to reflect the times. My grandmother definitely used buttermilk as part of the coating/breading process. My twist is to add chipotle flavor to the buttermilk brine ahead of time to add a smokey, mild heat. Everything else is all about technique.
How to ensure flavorful crispy fried chicken wings
- Add flavor at every step starting with the brine. Season the flour with your spice mix (grandma used: paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, and dry mustard) and post frying season again with the spice mix
- Moisture is the enemy of crispy chicken. The dryer your chicken is before frying the crispier the chicken will be. Pat dry the chicken before you start. Air dry the chicken uncovered in the fridge for at least an hour before frying
- Use fresh oil to ensure clean flavor
- Double fry the chicken. Frying essentially is a dehydration process. The first fry removes much of the moisture, but the water just below the crust gets trapped. You could cook the chicken longer to get rid of the remaining moisture but this takes longer and may lead to overcooked chicken. With the second fry you’re essentially boiling off the moisture that moved to the surface after the first fry leaving drier, crispier chicken
- Drain your chicken to prevent any excess oil being pulled back into the food. In many of the Dallas based chicken shacks serve chicken fresh out the fryer on pieces of white bread which plays the role of mopping up that excess oil and chicken fat. Draining properly on napkins or on a cooling rack does the same thing, but you miss out on that devilish good chicken fat soaked bread.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Wings
If you make this buttermilk fried chicken recipe enjoy it with an ice cold brew or champagne if that’s your thing. Either way please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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- 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.