Fried chicken is a southern staple, and I am not talking about KFC or Churches, either. There was a time when Southern women vied for who could make the best, crispest fried chicken – and in some lucky communities the tradition continues.
Usually buttermilk is part of the equation and for good reason. Buttermilk has acids in it that begin to break down the meat, making it tender. The thing is that much more than 10 minutes in that buttermilk bath and your chicken is going to be a mushy mess because of those same acids.
This chicken is soaked in a buttermilk and egg mixture just while you get the rest of the ingredients together – no more than 10 minutes. The egg helps the crumbs adhere to the meat better, I think.
Once you take the chicken out of the buttermilk let it drip a second or two; too much liquid will make the coating gummy and soggy. Press the chicken breast into the crumb mixture and then flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. Lay it carefully into a hot pan and let it get golden. Be sure to watch it carefully because you don’t want the butter or the pecans to scorch. After a few minutes carefully turn it to the other side and cook that until golden. Put it in your baking pan and bake just until done.
You will probably need to add olive oil to the saute pan. Keep a layer of oil on the bottom or the crumb coating won’t get crisp.
The barbecue sauce is easy and you can make it ahead of time. You know, if we are picky about anything in Texas it is BBQ sauce – and this one is a winner! It will keep for about two weeks (or more) tightly covered in your fridge. You won’t use all of it on the chicken so plan on having some ribs, steaks, or other grilled meat because you won’t want this to go bad. It is delicious!
You should increase or decrease the amount of chipotle according to your own tastes. I use a little Sriracha along with the chipotle for a nice jolt.
Heat the BBQ sauce if it is cold and run a smear across the plate. Lay the chicken on it and then put the sauce on the table so everyone can add it as liberally as they like. This stuff is so good.
I like to serve it with biscuits, corn, and greens or a salad. For true Texas flavor you are gonna want a big cup of sweet tea and maybe a Texas Sheet Cake or peach cobbler for dessert.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups ketchup
- ¾ cup Jack Daniels
- ⅓ cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¾ cup molasses
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
- ½ teaspoon chipotle, or to taste
- Saute the onion bell pepper, and garlic in the oil until tender.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring often.
- Carefully spoon into the blender and blend until smooth.
- Check and adjust seasoning.
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs), cut in half through the thickness (hold knife parallel to counter)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Mix buttermilk and egg
- Soak chicken in buttermilk for five minutes.
- Mix the Panko and the pecans.
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Take one piece of chicken out of the buttermilk and allow the excess to drip off.
- Roll in the pecan mixture until completely covered.
- Repeat with the rest of the chicken
- Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat (do not let the butter scorch)
- Add the chicken and cook until golden on one side.
- Flip carefully and cook until golden on the other.
- Place the chicken in a single layer in a lightly buttered 13 x 9 inch pan
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is done (165)
- Let rest for 5 minutes