John Currence's Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Recipe courtesy of Chef John Currence -- from an upcoming third cookbook
Photo Credit: Ed Anderson
The key to making this recipe, which is excellent fried chicken, is keeping the oil at temperature and not overloading the pan. If you’re worried about making a mess in your kitchen, move along. Bottom line is: you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet. If you love fried chicken, no mess is enough to keep you from cooking…
1. Wash chicken thoroughly and trim any excess skin from the thighs. Pat chicken dry and place on a cookie sheet, skin side up in the refrigerator. In the meantime, combine buttermilk, hot sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper in a bowl and blend fully.
2. Once chicken has finished in the refrigerator, place in buttermilk mix and chill overnight (or at least 2 hours). In a large freezer bag or brown paper grocery bag, combine flours, remaining salt, remaining cayenne, onion power and garlic powder and combine well.
3. Heat lard and enough oil to go half way up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet to 350º. Pull chicken from buttermilk and allow to drain well. Working 2 thighs at a time, dust chicken in flour and set aside.
4. Fry 4 thighs at a time only, turning every 5 minuets until chicken is golden brown and at an internal temperature of 155º.
5. Drain on a cooling rack and eat immediately or later on in the evening after you have stayed out too late and not eaten enough...
About Chef John Currence
Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, John Currence grew up in the kitchen. The child of two globe trotters, the Currence family dinner table always saw an eclectic array of cuisines. This, combined with Currence’s own time spent hunting and fishing in Southern Louisiana, helped shape the would-be-chef’s palate, and eventually, his own style of cooking.
Currence held his first cooking job was while working offshore as a deckhand
on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, though it wasn’t until he attended school at UNC, that he took on his first restaurant position, washing dishes at Bill Neal’s James Beard Award winning American classic, Crook’s Corner. Currence’s immediate fascination with the business prompted several supplemental jobs (baking bread at an Italian restaurant, butcher shop at a local grocery store,
cutting salmon and bluefish at a local smokehouse). He worked his way up through the Crook’s kitchen and after three years, Currence returned to New Orleans at the behest of a high school friend, Larkin Selman, to open Gautreau’s, where he worked as Selman’s sous chef. After several years, Currence moved on to the Brennan family of restaurants to help open Bacco, before finally settling in Oxford in 1992 to open what would become one of the city’s most prolific restaurants, City Grocery. Today, City Grocery Restaurant Group has expanded to open an array of innovative concepts, including City Grocery Catering Company, Bouré, Snackbar, and the multi-outpost breakfast behemoth, Big Bad Breakfast.
In 1998, Currence was named both Restaurateur of The Year and Chef of The Year by the Mississippi Restaurant Association, and in 2006, won the Southern Foodways Alliance Guardian of Tradition Award, bestowed upon those chefs and restauranteurs responsible for preserving the traditions of Southern cuisine. In 2008 Chef Currence one the Great American Seafood Cookoff in New Orleans, and a year later, received his greatest honor, when he was awarded the James Beard Foundation title of Best Chef of the South.
In addition to helming his restaurant projects, John Currence is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys bird hunting fishing and golf among other things. He is a contributing editor for Garden & Gun magazine, and is active in the local community, having served as chairman and president of the Mississippi Restaurant Association and
president of the Yoknapatapha Arts Council. He is also actively involved with St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Memphis Ballet, Lafayette County Animal Shelter and is a sitting member of the SFA Board of Directors, for which he has served as culinary director from its inception in 1996.
Pick up Chef John Currence's Cookbooks at the links below: