As I am checking my “National Date” calendar for any upcoming celebrations to inspire me, I came upon September 1 – National Chicken Boy Day. National what? Okay, this needed further investigation. What the heck is Chicken Boy?
Perched high above Figueroa Street in Highland Park stands a 22-foot tall fiberglass statue of a boy with a rooter (chicken) head holding a bucket. This wasn’t always his home.
It was in the 1960s that Chicken Boy first came to live on Broadway, near Grand Central Market in LA along the famous Route 66. He beckoned commuters to come dine at a local fried chicken restaurant. The giant statue was a fixture of the downtown area until 1984, when the restaurant owner died and Chicken Boy landed in the hands of a local art director.
Chicken Boy would spend the next 23 years in storage. Finally, in October of 2007 Chicken Boy found a new home on the rooftop of the Future Studio Design and Gallery on Figueroa Street, also part of the historic Route 66. Today he is an iconic tourist attraction complete with a line of souvenirs and T-Shirts. I have lived in Northern California for nearly my entire life, obviously sheltered from the existence of Chicken Boy. It’s nice to know after all these years, I can still discover something new about my Golden Home State. While I might not put a visit to Chicken Boy on my Bucket List, it’s nice to know he’s out there.
In honor of Chicken Boy, I thought we might fry up some delicious Fried Chicken. And no Fried Chicken Dinner can be complete without a mountain of mashed potatoes. Maybe some buttery biscuits and corn on the cob. Yeah, I’m hungry – so let’s get to cooking!
Southern Brine Fried Chicken
For the Chicken
4 lb Chicken Fryer, whole
Cut chicken into 8 pieces for frying or ask the butcher to do it for you. Cut the breasts in half to create 10 pieces total.
For the Brine
2 cups Buttermilk
2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
Combine the buttermilk, salt and the pepper.
Place the cut up chicken in a large glass casserole dish. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken. Turn to make sure that each piece of chicken is thoroughly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Once the chicken has fully marinated in the buttermilk, pour the chicken and buttermilk brine into a colander to drain off the buttermilk. Allow the chicken to sit in the colander for about 15-20 minutes to fully drain and come to room temperature.
For Dipping the Chicken
1/4 cup Hot Sauce
In a shallow dish, mix together the eggs and the hot sauce, set aside.
For Coating the Chicken
2 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Ground Sage
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground Coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
In a large gallon-size Ziploc bag, combine all of the flour with all of the seasonings. Close the bag and shake to mix well. Set aside.
For Frying the Chicken
Peanut Oil for Frying
Large, deep Cast Iron Skillet
To Fry the Chicken:
Drop the chicken pieces, one or two pieces at a time, directly into the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and place the floured chicken pieces on a baking sheet or plate until all pieces have been coated with flour.
Once the pieces have been floured, dip each piece of the coated chicken into the egg mixture. Return to the flour mixture and shake to coat well. Work with no more than 2 or 3 pieces of chicken at a time to avoid over-crowding and clumping. Allow battered chicken to sit on a plate or shallow baking dish for about 15 minutes so that the “crust” will stick to the chicken.
Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Place a wire rack over a shallow baking sheet into the oven to keep warm.
In the skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil to 350 degrees. Slowly drop the chicken in the HOT oil starting with the dark meat first. Do not rush to put the chicken pieces into the oil as this will cause the oil temperature to drop too quickly, resulting in greasy fried chicken. The temperature of the oil is going to drop to about 300 degree the chicken has been added to the skillet. This is the ideal temperature to fry chicken.
Fry no more than 3 to 4 pieces of the chicken at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, or until each one is golden brown. Turn the pieces about half way through the cooking time to crisp and fry evenly.
Remove the chicken to a rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels or brown paper bags and drain for about 5 minutes. Put the finished chicken on the rack in the oven to keep warm while the other pieces are frying.
Serve with all your southern favorites.