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Playing Marcus Samuelsson's Fried Yardbird


  • 1 cup salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 skin-on chicken thighs
  • 4 skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Chicken Shake
  • 1/2 pound all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces semolina flour
  • 1 ounce cornstarch
  • 1/2 ounce ground white pepper
  • 5 quarts frying oil
For the Chicken Shake
  • 1/8 cup ground garlic
  • 1/2 cup celery salt
  • 1/2 cup ground cumin
  • 1 cup berbere (an Ethiopian spice mix)
  • 1 cup smoked spicy paprika
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup ground white pepper


Serves: 4


Dissolve salt in water. Place chicken in brine and let sit for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove chicken from brine. Combine buttermilk, coconut milk, garlic and Chicken Shake. Place chicken in marinade overnight in refrigerator.

Combine all-purpose flour, semolina flour, cornstarch and white pepper for the breading.

Remove chicken from marinade and allow excess marinade to drip off.

Roll chicken in breading, shaking off excess.

Fill an 8-quart pot with oil and bring to 300F. Once oil is hot, drop chicken in the oil and fry for about 15 minutes (until the inner temperature is at least 165F).

Remove chicken from oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Season with Chicken Shake, to taste.

For the Chicken Shake:

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until blended.

Yields 4 cups.