Jalapeno Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken is the most perfect food in the world. Period.
This one’s got Jalapenos in it and comes with some Grown Up Ranch Dressing.
There’s literally nothing else we can say because it speaks for its dang self.
Go fucking eat it.
Jalapeno Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken
- 2 cups Buttermilk
- 1 12oz jar of Pickled Jalapeno Slices - the ones you put on Nachos
- 2 cloves Garlic, lightly smashed
- 8 Chicken Drumsticks - Wanna butcher them yourself? Check out Rachel’s latest article on XOJane.com
- 2 cup Masa Harina/Corn Flour - Not Corn Meal. Not Corn Starch. And not “instantánea.”
- 2 cup All Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Goya Adobo (con comino, por favor)
- about 2 cups Crisco— it’s all we use for Fried Chicken because it tastes like Rachel’s Grandma’s cooking, but you can use your favorite neutral tasting frying oil (Peanut, etc)
You will also need:
- A sturdy, heavy pot for frying that will hold 1 1/2 inches of oil(cast iron skillet or dutch oven!)
- Two baking sheets
- Two Wire Racks
Good Fried Chicken takes time because brining takes time. We don’t always love a wet brine, but it works for this recipe because the pieces are small and manageable enough to not turn your fridge into a cesspool. Beyond the awesome flavor Buttermilk and Jalapeno Brine bring to the table, the marinade also tenderizes an otherwise kinda chewy protein.
At least 4 hours before your fry: combine the Buttermilk, all (yes. all) of the Brine from the Jalapenos, and Garlic in a large bowl. Adding some Jalapeno slices will help you get your preferred level of heat: leave them out if you like it mild, we go with about ¼ cup of Jalapenos for a nice medium. If you like to eat rocket fuel: use ½ cup and puree the brine. It’s so good, but hot as balls.
Stick it in the fridge and let it hang as long as 24 hours.
When you’re ready to fry, let the Chicken (safely) sit on the counter for at least 15 minutes to get the chill out and start setting up your frying assembly line.
Fill one shallow bowl with the Masa Harina, Flour, and Goya Adobo (stir it up, duh). Place the bowl right next to your stove.
In between the Chicken and Flour, place one Baking Sheet lined with a Wire Rack. Place the other BakingSheet/Rack combo on the burners of your stove not being used for Fried Chicken.
Add the Crisco (or whatever) to your pan and let it melt over medium heat. You’ll know your oil is hot enough to fry when it’s shimmery and a pinch of Flour dropped into the pan immediately starts to fizz.
Remove two Drumsticks from the Brine and let them drain for a few seconds on the Wire Rack. There should be some Brine still on the meat, but it shouldn’t be gloppy or drippy.
Dredge the Drumsticks completely in the Flour, shake off any excess, and carefully place into your hot oil. Fry on the first side for 8-10 minutes, and flip. The crust should be a dark, deep golden brown with the occasional mahogany colored spot. Add two more pieces of drained and dredged Drumsticks.
Cook for another 8-10 minutes on side two, or until a meat thermometer reads 180°. Set the Chicken on the other Wire Rack (the one free of Raw Chicken Cooties) to drain. Flip the Drumsticks you added when you flipped for the first time. Carry on dredging and frying, staggering and flipping, until all of your Drumsticks have cooked.
If you’re working in large batches, you may want to keep the already-fried stuff in the oven, on the Wire Rack, at 325° until everything’s done.
Serve piping hot with lots of Grown Up Ranch and cheap beer— or eat it cold for breakfast, standing in front of the fridge.
It’s important to dispose of the Brine and Flour not used because they are full of Raw Chicken Cooties. However. If you combined whatever Flour is left with a pinch or two of Baking Soda and dumped in enough Brine to make a stiff batter, scooped it into little balls, and fried them… well. I’m pretty sure you’d have some dope Hush Puppies on your hands. Just saying.
Grown Up Ranch
- ½ cup Mayo
- ½ cup Buttermilk
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 clove Garlic- smashed into oblivion
- 2 tbsp fresh Parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh Dill
- Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
Combine Mayo, Buttermilk, and Vinegar. Really smash the ever loving shit out of the Garlic. Liquefy it. Use a mortar and pestle or the side of your knife, grinding it down with a pinch of kosher salt. Toss in everything else. Stir.
This tastes great the today, but it’s better tomorrow. Make it while you brine your chicken. Put it on e v e r y t h i n g .