Buttermilk Fried Chicken

June 20, 2008 12:10:22 PM PDT
In this edition of Neighborhood Eats, we're traveling to Brooklyn for a restaurant that will make you feel like you've traveled back in time. The food, however, is very modern.

People get very competitive about fried chicken and where the best fried chicken can be found. So you can't blame the owner of the restaurant we headed to for perfecting his recipe over weeks and weeks, until it was just right. He serves it up at Sidecar, located at 560 5th Avenue in Brooklyn.

Sidecar opened in an area locals refer to as the South Slope, just at the edge of Park Slope, where gentrification is rampant.

"This place five years ago was really bad, but now it's up and coming," one customer said. "It's my favorite restaurant in the area now."

And that's exactly what the DeCoursy brothers were aiming for. Each plays an important role.

"As seriously as he takes the food is how I take the cocktails," Bart DeCoursy said.

And a sidecar is, of course, always available.

And when the brothers discovered an advertisement for an elixir that cures all pain on their walls during the renovations, they decided to keep it, because it works so well with the restaurant's old-time feeling.

As for Chef Johnny DeCoursy's menu, it's only his personal favorites.

And back to that chicken...to get there, he first brines his chicken and then soaks it in buttermilk. Flour is mixed with herbs and is sprinkled and packed onto the chicken. Then, it's into the fryer.

It's briefly cooled, and plated with a potato-turnip mash and kale flavored with homesmoked bacon and honey.

It's the chef's obsession that's usually polished off by customers.

Recipe for Sidecar's Buttermilk Fried Chicken:

Ingredients (for 24 pieces of chicken):

  • 3 quarts buttermilk
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup "secret ingredient" - this can be whatever you have available: breadcrumbs, cornmeal, crushed corn flakes, panko etc.
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1 t each fresh parsley, thyme
  • 1 t rosemary
  • canola oil for frying
  • lots of love


  • Liberally sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, then just cover with water.

  • The chicken should brine for at least 2 horrs, but can be done the night before.

  • Submerge chicken in buttermilk until ready to cook, at least 30 minutes

  • Combine flour, spices and herbs.

  • Preheat deep fryer or cast iron skillet to 340 degrees. Take chicken directly from the buttermilk and dip in the flour mixture. Let the coated chicken sit for a minute, then cook in the deep fryer for 15-18 minutes, depending on the size.

  • For a cast iron skillet, cook for 12-14 minutes on each side. It's important to let the chicken rest on a cooling rack for a couple minutes after to finish cooking and to ensure the skin is crispy.