2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups buttermilk*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3 whole eggs
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons hot sauce (we used Cholula which is a mild hot sauce)
Enough lard or vegetable shortening to come 2” up the side of a large cast iron skillet
Breasts pieces thicker than 1 ½ inches should be butterflied.
Place chicken breasts in a zip lock bag and cover with the buttermilk and let soak in the refrigerator overnight or at least 12 hours.
When ready to cook, drain the chicken and discard the buttermilk.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
In a medium bowl beat eggs, milk and hot sauce.
Place the pieces, two at a time, in flour, egg, flour, egg and flour, pressing each time to coat. The breading should be rough and shaggy and not neat and even. The shaggy parts will crisp up as they fry and give a nice crunchy coat. As you bread each piece, place on a platter or plate.
Place a rack over a sheet tray and set aside.
Melt shortening in a large heavy bottomed pan, (a large cast iron or a coated cast iron pan works best), and hold at 325 degrees F using a candy thermometer or other thermometer to get to that temperature, no higher.
Add all of the chicken at once, piece by piece. If they do not comfortably fit all at once, you will need to cook in two batches. The temperature of the oil will drop below 300 degrees F when you place the chicken pieces in and that is where you should keep it during the cooking. If the oil is too hot, the outside will get too dark before the inside cooks.
Fry for a total of about 15 minutes, carefully turning every few minutes for even browning. (We used two heat-proof spatulas (silicone or metal) to make sure we did not disturb the nice crust forming). Insert a probe thermometer into one piece and remove from the fryer onto the prepared rack once the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F. The chicken will continue to cook to a safe temperature of 165 degrees F.
Be gentle when handling so that the cooked breading stays on.
*If you don’t have buttermilk, in a pinch add one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to every cup of whole milk. Let sit 15 minutes to curdle.
Keywords: fried chicken breasts, fried boneless skinless chicken breasts