Kentucky Derby: Tyler Florence's Fried Chicken

Kim Conte




It's Kentucky Derby time! Are you going to watch this weekend?

It just wouldn't be the Road to the Roses without fried chicken and ice cold mint juleps. Food Network chef Tyler Florence was on the Today show this week showing us how to make these tasty Southern treats...

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Fried Chicken

1 (3-4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces

Kosher salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons cayenne

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, such as Srirachi Hot Chili Sauce

Peanut oil for frying

1/4 bunch fresh thyme

3 big sprigs fresh rosemary

1/4 bunch fresh sage

2 fresh bay leaves

1/2 head garlic, smashed, husk still attached

Lemon wedges, for serving

Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Cover the chicken with water by 1 inch; add 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water used. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a large shallow platter, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne until well blended; season generously with salt and pepper. In another platter combine the buttermilk and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces, a few at a time, in the flour mixture, then dip them into the buttermilk; dredge them again in the seasoned flour. Set aside and let the chicken rest while you prepare the oil.

Put about 3 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up more than halfway. Add the thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaves and garlic to the cool oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil registers 375 degrees F on one of those clip-on deep-fry thermometers. The herbs and garlic will perfume the oil with their flavor as the oil comes up to temperature.

Once the oil has reached 375F, working in batches, carefully add the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

When the chicken is done, take a big skimmer and remove the chicken pieces and herbs from the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and lay them on a tea towel or brown paper bag to soak up the oil. Sprinkle all over with more salt and a dusting of cracked black pepper. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Once all the chicken is fried, scatter the fried herbs and garlic over the top. Serve hot, with big lemon wedges.


Mint Juleps

2 tablespoons superfine sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 handfuls of fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish

3 cups of crushed ice

1 cup (8 oz) of Kentucky bourbon

In the bottom of 2 glasses add mint leaves, sugar, and lemon juice. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon bruise the leaves and crush to release the oils and dissolve the sugar. Top with crushed ice—pile it high then top off with Kentucky Bourbon.  Garnish with 3-4 sprigs of mint per glass.


To round off this Kentucky Derby feast, Tyler also made tea sandwiches, salmon salad, and ice tea. Check out Tyler Florence's blog for these recipes and more.

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