Recipes

Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken with Preserved Satsuma Barbecue Sauce

Nick Wallace

Mississippi Museum of Art - Jackson, MS

With its flavor-packed brine, Nick Wallace's fried chicken recipe yields crispy, crunchy skin while keeping the meat moist and juicy. Make sure to whip up a batch of his sweet-and-spicy preserved Satsuma barbecue sauce to serve alongside it!

Ingredients

Pickle-Brined Chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 each red, green, and yellow bell peppers, roughly chopped with seeds and stem
  • 1/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 4 chicken legs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 4 chicken wings, bone-in, skin-on
  • 4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on

For frying:

  • Vegetable oil for frying, about 8 cups
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt

To serve:

Method

Make the brine: in a dry medium pot, toast the mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, and coriander seeds over medium heat, tossing often, until mustard seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes. 

Add the vinegar, chopped bell peppers, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until salt and sugar are dissolved, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped dill and 4 cups water. Let cool.

Place the chicken and cooled brine in a large resealable plastic bag and place in a large bowl to contain any leaks. Chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours. Remove the chicken from brine, scraping off any seeds. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to fry.

Prepare the oil: fit a large pot with a deep-fry thermometer and pour in oil to measure 2 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°F.

Meanwhile, dredge the chicken: place the buttermilk in a large bowl. Place the flour in another large bowl and season well with kosher salt. Working in batches, coat chicken first in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour, dipping your fingers in buttermilk as you go to pack flour on to help create moistened, “scooby and shaggy bits” (a.k.a. the makings of a super-crisp crust!). Transfer dredged chicken to a baking sheet.

Fry the chicken: working in batches, fry the chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is deep golden-brown and crisp and chicken is cooked through, about 8 to 11 minutes. (Note: chicken is cooked through if a meat thermometer reads 165°F.) Be sure to return oil to 350°F between batches! Transfer fried chicken to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet.

To serve, drizzle the fried chicken with honey and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, high-quality applesauce, and the Satsuma barbecue sauce on the side.

Yield

8 servings