After Katrina, I helped rebuild the fifty-year-old Willie Mae's Scotch House, one of the city's culinary landmarks. This is my attempt at re-creating Willie Mae's secret- recipe chicken, the best I've ever eaten. The Coca-Cola gives it a sweetness that plays nicely against the cayenne. I added pickle-garlic relish as a nod to the late, great Austin Leslie, another New Orleans cook and a high priest of the deep-fat chicken fryer. He died after evacuating his home after the storm. This dish is a tip of the hat to two of the best I've had the pleasure of knowing.
Recipe courtesy of John Currence
Print
Coca-Cola-Brined Fried Chicken
Yield:
About 1 1/2 cups, serves 4
Level:
Advanced
Yield:
About 1 1/2 cups, serves 4
Level:
Advanced

Ingredients

Brining Chicken: 
  • 12 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 4 cups Coca-Cola
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Worcester- shire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
  • 3 tbsp coarse salt
  • 3 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
Batter:
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup peanut oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Frying Chicken:
  • peanut oil and lard
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pickle-Garlic Relish:
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup dill-pickle chips, plus a little pickle juice if desired
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic

Directions

To brine the chicken:

Rinse the chicken, drain, and set aside. Combine all the remaining brining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until the salt dissolves. Put the chicken in the brine, cover, and marinate, refrigerated, for 4 hours.

To make the batter:

Whisk the egg well in a stainless steel bowl and add the peanut oil and 2 1/2 cups water. In a separate bowl, combine all the remaining batter ingredients, then add the dry mixture to the egg mixture, whisking slowly so the batter doesn't clump.

To fry the chicken:

Fill a large cast-iron skillet halfway with equal amounts of peanut oil and lard. Slowly bring the temperature to 375degreesF. (Use a deep-fat thermometer.)

While the oil is heating, remove the chicken from the brine and place in a colander in the sink. Once the chicken has drained, pat it dry with paper towels (a critical step) and season with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken in the batter and place it (carefully) in the hot oil. Adjust the heat, as the chicken will bring the oil temperature down dramatically-you want it back up to just above 350degreesF. Turn the chicken regularly using tongs to prevent burning. After 8 or 9 minutes, remove a piece, prick it to the bone with a fork, and mash it. If the juices run clear, it's done. Continue cooking if necessary.

To make the pickle-garlic relish:

Finely chop and combine all the relish ingredients.

Serve with the chicken. Cover any leftovers with a dishtowel and leave out at room temperature (or in the fridge, if you must, although my grandmother never did). This keeps it crisp.

This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.

Categories:

Trending Videos 7 Videos

Get the Recipe

Gabriele's Limoncello 01:28

Gabriele shares his family recipe for a delicious summertime libation.

Similar Topics:

IDEAS YOU'LL LOVE

Fried Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Chuck Hughes

Sesame Ginger Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Kelsey Nixon

Famous Fried Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Patti LaBelle

Chicken and Dumplings

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Sticky Chicken Winglets

Recipe courtesy of Siba Mtongana

Sticky Honey-Soy Chicken Wings

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

Ultimate Korean Fried Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Judy Joo

Tandoori Chicken

Recipe courtesy of Bal Arneson

On TV

Sugar Showdown

7:30am | 6:30c

Sugar Showdown

8:30am | 7:30c

Sugar Showdown

9:30am | 8:30c

Donut Showdown

10:30am | 9:30c

Donut Showdown

11am | 10c

Donut Showdown

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Sweets

12pm | 11c

Unique Sweets

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unique Sweets

1pm | 12c

Unique Sweets

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Cake Hunters

3:30pm | 2:30c

Cake Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Bakers Vs. Fakers

8pm | 7c

Extreme Cake Makers

10:30pm | 9:30c

Cupcake Wars

11pm | 10c

Extreme Cake Makers

2:30am | 1:30c

So Much Pretty Food Here