Recipe: Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger

When quarantine hits you hard and all you really want is a juicy and crispy chicken burger.
There's something so comforting about fried chicken. I LOVE FRIED CHICKEN. And when you marry it with all the different flavours and make it into a sandwich... it's epic.

It's the middle of quarantine and we were craving for fried chicken. I bought a whole carton of buttermilk to make some pancakes and obviously, I immediately thought felt a light shining directing my thoughts to making buttermilk fried chicken. And maaaaan.... it was glorious. Move over, Zinger!

What's the deal with buttermilk anyways? Buttermilk is the liquid end product from churning cream to make butter. Hence, it's the milk. Just like any other food item you squeeze milk out from (almonds, cashews, cows 😉).... that's the milk. But why let the chicken swim in it? Well, because of it's high acidity, buttermilk helps in tenderizing the proteins, breaking it up a bit. This then produces a much more succulent and tender piece of chicken. When used in making fried chicken, it provides a nice and juicy contrast to the crispy and crunchy outer layer. 😳😳😳 I AM DROOLING. Snap out of it, Luzee. 

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger
This recipe makes 4 chicken thigh fillets which equals to 4 chicken burgers. You can fully eat the chicken on its own and ditch the accoutrement to make the burgers. Just slather on some aioli or ketchup and you're a happy fried chicken eating member of society!

You'll need the following: a ziplock bag, some bowls, a whisk, a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven for frying (you can use a deep fryer if you have one, or an air fryer I think but I wouldn't know... I don't have one), a pair of tongs, an oil thermometer (only if you have one, I don't! Hahaha 🤣 My bare kitchen.), a wire rack and baking sheet. 

Ingredients
4 chicken thighs, boneless fillets (I prefer thighs and skin on. If you want to discard it, go ahead. I'll cry a little inside but whatever makes you happy. You can also use chicken tenders of breast fillets instead, if that's your preference.)
3 cups buttermilk, divided in two parts
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

1 egg, large

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp smoked paprika 
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

5-6 cups vegetable oil for frying (or as much or as little as you need, as long as it's enough to submerge the chicken fillets)

4 brioche buns, no sesame seeds
2-3 tbsp butter, to spread on the buns for toasting
shredded lettuce (green, butternut, iceberg lettuce... any will do, even coleslaw if you want!)
sliced tomatoes
sliced cheese (you can use processed cheese, white cheddar, provolone, asiago, any semi-soft white cheese - but if you prefer sharp or aged cheddar, go ahead!)
hot sauce
Japanese mayonnaise (Yaaaaassss. We prefer this because there's a bit more sweetness and tang to the taste. And it's yummmmms AF.)

Procedure
1. In a ziplock bag, place 1 part of the buttermilk, garlic powder, salt, and chicken thigh fillets and marinate in the the chiller for 4-5 hours. 
2. Heat your vegetable oil in your dutch oven/pot to a medium-high heat. If you have a thermometer, 350-365℉ is recommended. (I always do a test fry and cut up a smaller piece to know when it's ready, mainly because I don't have a thermometer.)
3. Prepare your breading station. In one bowl, open up the chicken ziplock. In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the breading (flour, cornstarch, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, and pepper) and whisk altogether. In another bowl, prepare the rest of the buttermilk and whisk in the egg. Also prepare the wire rack with a baking sheet under so you can set the cooked chicken there.
 
 
4. I do a double coat. Dredge the marinated chicken in the breading mixture, then fresh buttermilk, then dunk and coat again in the breading mixture. (Do this as you are ready to fry, don't do this ahead of time.) You can test a small piece of chicken to know if the oil is ready. If it sizzles like music, you're good to go.
 
5. Fry the coated chicken (skin side first if you included the skin). Make sure the pieces are submerged in oil, or at least close to being submerged. This takes about 13-15 minutes total. Flip the chicken halfway if you're using a smaller pot. Once done, transfer to the wire rack and let this cool for about 5-7 minutes.
 
 
------------we can end here now... if you're just craving for fried chicken to eat on its own 😂 you can enjoy it already!
6. But if you want it on a sandwich... carry on. Butter and toast the brioche buns. From the bottom bun, smear a little mayonnaise, top with shredded lettuce, place the massive fried chicken thigh, a slice of cheese, and sliced tomatoes. Add a drizzling of Japanese mayonnaise and several dashes of hot sauce (I didn't add hot sauce for Carlo's sandwich because he's allergic), and secure this masterpiece with the top bun.
 
7. You guessed it... ENJOY!!!!!

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*Do not overcrowd the chicken in the pot! If you need to do it one by one, then so be it. Let them breathe and fry to all it's crispy goodness! Social distancing applies to cooking. If you overcrowd it, it won't crisp up and will end up steaming slowly (because there's not enough room to let fry up the moisture).

**Dredge (or dredging) is a culinary term where you lightly coating or dusting the food item with a dry item like flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, sugar... you get the idea. It also serves as an agent for liquid items to hang on to. So in a breading station, you lightly dredge the food item in flour, then in a liquid like eggs or milk, then coat again with a breading (you can go nuts here... try Cheetos or Doritos or cornflakes too!).

***Flavour is totally up to you. If you want to increase, add, or decrease something to your taste, go ahead. I like flavouring it with a nice subtle flavour, not so overpowering. If you want to go all Col. Sanders and add 11 or even more spices, entirely your show. Some spices or seasonings to add are cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, ground mustard, ground onion, parsley, turmeric, ginger, vinegar, sherry, lemon juice, lime, chilli flakes, and oregano. I wouldn't add sage or fennel though... it would taste more like sausages then. Even with the dressing or sauce, you can go nuts! I've always loved barbecue sauce and mayonnaise together on fried chicken sandwiches. Try it! It's tangy and creamy and just like a hug you thought you never needed. 



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