Picnic Chicken

By: Lia Grabowski

Chef Dan Jackson, of Osteria Georgi in Chapel Hill, created his essential picnic chicken using a recipe from chef Gabrielle Hamilton. He makes a few tweaks, adding onions to the buttermilk marinade, a trick he learned from Eleven Madison Park. “I love the idea of intentionally frying chicken to serve the next day, and this recipe ensures it holds up well,” he says. Fried chicken resonates with Jackson’s hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After all, Mama Dip’s, an old school mainstay which put Chapel Hill on the map, is known for their fried chicken. And a secret trick from Jackson with this recipe? He always cast iron fries the chicken in duck fat.

Enjoy alongside his other favorites, like Tuna Tramezzini and Spring Pea and Strawberry Caprese, for a meal worth raving about.

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Serves 6 to 8

  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 12 pieces
  • Dredge
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ tablespoons ground black pepper
  • Enough oil or duck fat to come 6 inches up a high-sided pot
  1. Combine chicken with marinade and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large container or bowl. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing excess marinade to drip off before dredging chicken in flour mixture and turning to coat evenly.
  3. Lay the dredged chicken on a rack-lined half sheet tray. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then dredge again in flour mixture.
  4. In a deep cast-iron skillet, heat oil to 300 degrees, testing with a thermometer. Fry chicken in batches, removing pieces before they have developed much color. After all chicken has been removed, skim excess flour out of oil, raise heat to 350 degrees, and fry each piece again until desired color and temperature.
  5. Drain on a rack. Leave at room temperature for a same-day picnic, or refrigerate overnight if you’re eating the following day. Serve with lettuce cups, hot sauce, ranch, or your favorite fried chicken accompaniment.

  • From Chef Dan Jackson
 of Osteria Georgi, Chapel Hill

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