Picnic-Perfect Fried Chicken


8 chicken drumsticks (about 2 pounds)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 to 4 tablespoons hot sauce
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons heavy cream


Special equipment: deep-frying thermometer

Put the drumsticks, 1 cup of the buttermilk and the hot sauce into a large resealable bag. Seal the bag, and shake several times to coat the drumsticks. Set the bag in a bowl or baking dish, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours up to overnight. 

Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill a large Dutch oven or pot halfway with oil (about 10 cups), and heat to 350 degrees F over medium-high heat. 

While the oil is heating up, whisk together the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, paprika, garlic and onion power in a medium baking dish. Gently stir in the heavy cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk with a fork until small lumps form throughout the mixture. 

Remove 1 drumstick from the buttermilk marinade, letting any excess drip off. Press the drumstick into the flour mixture until it is completely covered with a thick layer. Transfer the breaded chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken. Let sit for 15 minutes (this lets the breading dry out a bit and lets the chicken lose some of its chill, so it will cook faster). 

In 2 batches, fry the drumsticks in the hot oil, turning them as needed, until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes per batch. The temperature of the oil will drop while the drumsticks are frying; adjust the heat to maintain a temperature of 325 degrees F. Bring the oil back up to 350 before adding the second batch. Transfer the chicken with a slotted spoon or tongs to a large plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Season liberally with salt. Serve hot, or let cool completely, uncovered, then refrigerate until ready to serve. 

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