- Two 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
- Kosher salt
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 quart buttermilk
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup amber ale
- 1/2 cup finely chopped basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 quarts vegetable or peanut oil
- Season the chicken generously with kosher salt and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, mayonnaise, ale, basil, oregano and 2 teaspoons of the paprika. Add the chicken and turn several times to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- In another large bowl, combine the flour with the remaining 2 teaspoons of paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, pressing to help it adhere. Transfer the coated pieces to a wire rack.
- In 2 large, deep skillets with tight-fitting lids, heat the oil until it registers 350° on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the chicken to the skillets, cover tightly and cook over moderate heat until the pieces are golden on the bottom, about 12 minutes. Turn the pieces, cover and cook over moderately low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderately high heat, turning once or twice, until the chicken is crisp and deep golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg and breast without touching the bone registers 165°, about 10 minutes longer. Drain the chicken on paper towelcovered wire racks and serve.
The chicken can be fried and served later at room temperature.
Either a well-balanced California Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio will act as a foil for the classic Southern fried chicken main course and its accompanying sweet and pungent side dishes.