Photograph by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Fried Chicken Legs

Mains from Issue 3 – Spring / Summer 2013 – Rough Cut

Homer’s Odyssey influenced this bucolic Coen brothers tale about three convicts who, in the throes of one sweltering Mississippi summer, escape rock-breaking duties on the prison chain gang to head off in search of buried treasure. Along the way they pick up a guitar player who sold his soul to the devil, have a run-in with the Klan, aid and abet a baby-faced bank robber and, oh right, record a hit single as the Soggy Bottom Boys. Our fried chicken legs and deviled eggs (courtesy of one of our favorite chefs April Bloomfield; they are on the menu at The Spotted Pig) are perfect Southern-inspired picnic fare.

serves 4

  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 5 tsp cayenne pepper, divided
  • 4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp black pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • few dashes hot sauce
  • 8 drumsticks
  • 2 cups flour
  • about 2 qts vegetable oil
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling

  • 1

    Stir together buttermilk, 3 tsp cayenne, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, ground mustard, and hot sauce. Marinate drumsticks, covered and refrigerated, at least two hours or overnight.

  • 2

    Preheat oven to 250°F and set a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack alongside stove. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, add enough oil to come up 2-inches and heat to 360°F using a deep fat thermometer.

  • 3

    Meanwhile, mix flour, remaining 2 tsp cayenne, 2 tsp salt, and ½ tsp black pepper in a shallow bowl. Remove half the chicken from the marinade letting any excess drain off. Thoroughly coat in seasoned flour and tap to shake off loose flour. Using metal tongs, carefully lay chicken in oil. Fry, turning once or twice and maintaining oil temperature, until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken. Sprinkle with salt to serve.