I Tried Martha Stewart’s Fried Chicken and It Lives Up to Snoop Dogg’s Praise
Making fried chicken requires prep, patience, very hot oil, and laser focus on maintaining the temperature of said oil. But if you can withstand all the challenges, you’re rewarded with one of the most delicious fried foods ever.
So before I try out a new fried chicken recipe, I need it to come from very good authority that the juice is worth the squeeze. In this case, the new recipe comes courtesy of Martha Stewart, and the role of good authority is played by her iconic best friend, Snoop Dogg. According to Snoop, this fried chicken is the best thing Martha has ever made for him in their 15-year friendship. With a review that glowing, I knew I had to try it myself.
How to Make Martha Stewart’s Fried Chicken
For this recipe, you’ll use an entire fryer chicken (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds), cut into 10 pieces. Transfer the chicken pieces into a large bowl and cover with cold salted water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
After the overnight soak, whisk together low-fat buttermilk, coarse salt, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, and freshly ground black pepper in another large bowl. Transfer the chicken to the bowl with the buttermilk mixture and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the chicken marinate in this mixture for at least four hours, or up to overnight.
About an hour before you plan to cook your chicken, remove the pieces from the marinade, allowing excess liquid to drip off. Transfer them to a wire rack set into a rimmed baking sheet and let them sit untouched for one hour.
Meanwhile, in a clean large paper bag or large shallow bowl, combine all-purpose flour, yellow cornmeal, coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, and ground cayenne.
When you’re ready to fry, pour just under 3/4″ vegetable oil in a large, deep cast iron skillet. Bring the oil to 375°F over medium heat. While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture until fully coated. Transfer dredged pieces onto a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack.
Before you fry, set another wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and cover it with a layer of paper towels for draining the cooked chicken. Working in batches, fry chicken skin-side down in a single layer, leaving space between each piece. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for four to five minutes, then flip chicken, re-cover, and cook four to five minutes more, until dark meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and white meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
Adjust the heat as you cook to maintain an oil temperature between 330° and 340°F. Wings, drumsticks, and thinner pieces of breast will cook most quickly, so remove those from the oil first. Drain cooked chicken on the prepared wire rack.
My Honest Opinion of Martha Stewart’s Fried Chicken
There are a handful of tricks that set this particular recipe apart. To start, the overnight soak in salted ice water is meant to produce a juicier chicken. This, plus the additional time marinating in buttermilk, results in fried chicken that is both juicy and tender (a coveted combination). The marinade also helps to season the chicken all the way through, so even the center of a thick piece of chicken breast doesn’t taste bland.
Another trick comes after the marinade, when the chicken is transferred to a wire rack to dry for an hour. As the marinade drips off, the chicken’s surface becomes tacky, allowing for the flour mixture to adhere better and eventually form an ultra-thin and crispy crust. The final trick — draining the fried chicken on paper towels on a wire rack — allowed the chicken to remain crispy until well past serving time, and is something I will continue to use on all my deep-fried foods from here on out.
Overall, this fried chicken definitely hit the mark in both flavor and texture, with lots of bright freshly cracked pepper and juicy, tender meat.
2 Tips for Making Martha Stewart’s Fried Chicken
- Salt your chicken as soon as it’s done frying. Although this chicken is nicely seasoned, I think it’s still nice to have a little hit of salt as soon as you bite in. A light sprinkling of kosher salt while the chicken is still hot will do the trick.
- Read the instructions carefully before beginning. This is important for anything you’re cooking, but with something as fast-paced as deep-frying, it’s important to be completely set up with your cooling rack, meat thermometer, tongs, etc., before your oil is hot.