Spicy Fried Chicken Drumsticks
The first time my husband, Jon, met my family was over a fried chicken dinner. We had just started dating, and were coming back from a camping trip in Southern Illinois, passing through my childhood hometown on our way back to Chicago. It was a hot Midwestern July day – the air all thick and sticky, hanging about us like a blanket. My Mom served fried chicken for the meal, which only added to the heat.
Jon was truly in the hot seat – I have 3 brothers and sisters, and all were positioned around the table, peppering him with questions. What do you do? Where are you from? What do you like? It’s a wonder he was able to get any bites in throughout this inquisition.
This was a test of sorts – my siblings and I are all very close and for anyone to really have a shot with me, they have to make it with them first. And this can be tough – we are a sarcastic and jabbing bunch sometimes, always looking for a laugh (a good-humored laugh, but still). Over time, as we all became accustomed to the heat, I realized that Jon wasn’t shying away from the conversation, but was actually joining in, and throwing a few punches of his own. It’s then that I realized that this guy was a serious contender – not just for me, but for my family too.
I also realized at that dinner that Jon likes fried chicken. (Come to think of it, my Mom’s fried chicken may be one of the things that propelled our relationship forward….hmmm…..). So, thinking back to those early days, I whipped up a batch for dinner last night. This recipe adds a tiny bit of heat to your normal fried chicken. Not to worry – for those who are not spice addicts, like me, it’s not too hot (my kids ate it and were fine), and the spice can be taken out of this completely if you wish. Now, for those of you who love spice, you may want to add the Serrano pepper as a garnish – it goes great with the chicken and gives it that extra kick I was looking for. We had this with fresh green beans sautéed in a bit of oil and garlic, and some crusty bread and the whole meal was very tasty.
My husband and kids devoured this chicken. I think it’s a keeper and who knows – maybe years from now I’ll be serving this up to my own future daughter-in-law.
Spicy Fried Chicken Drumsticks
- 10 chicken drumsticks
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Franks Red Hot)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Cayenne pepper
- Peanut oil for frying
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
- 1 chopped Serrano pepper (seeds removed) for garnish
- Rinse and pat dry your drumsticks and place them in a large casserole dish.
- Salt and pepper each side.
- Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce, and ½ Tablespoon Cayenne pepper together in a large bowl. (The original recipe called for extra hot sauce, but since I was serving this to the kids I halved it. Feel free to up this ratio if you like your chicken with a bit more heat.)
- Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken, cover and let sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Use a large, deep pan, or a fryer pot to heat the oil. Heat oil to 350° F.
- While your oil and oven are warming up, mix the flour, garlic, paprika and remaining cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge begin dredging each drumstick in the flour mixture. (I did this in batches, about 3 or so at a time).
- Fry the chicken in batches for about 15 minutes per batch, or until the chicken is a nice golden color. The internal temperature of your chicken should be about 180° F.
- Once the chicken is done, place it on a paper towel lined pan and cover to keep warm (or place in a warming drawer if you have one.)
- Before serving, garnish the chicken with the parsley and Serrano peppers, if desired. (Be careful with the peppers – they are fairly hot. Make sure to wash your hands after handling!
Adapted slightly from this recipe.