Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

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  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 whole bone-in, skin-on chicken backbone removed, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • Canola oil, grapeseed oil, or another mild refined vegetable oil, for frying


  1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, pepper, brown sugar, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Pour 1 1/2 cups sauce into a large resealable plastic bag. Cover and refrigerate the remaining sauce for serving.
  2. Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the remaining white barbecue sauce. Seal the bag, massage the chicken with your hands through the plastic to squish the sauce so it completely coats the chicken, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. When you’re ready to make fried chicken, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. Grab a second 9-by-13-inch baking dish, dump in the cornmeal and the remaining 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and whisk to combine. Set these up in assembly-line fashion alongside your stove.
  4. Pour enough oil into a large, heavy, preferably cast-iron skillet to reach a depth of 1 1/4 inches. Place the skillet over medium heat until the oil registers 340°F (170°C) on a deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer.
  5. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and place it on the opposite side of the skillet. Heat the oven to 250°F (120°C).
  6. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, remove half the chicken from the marinade, returning the bag to the refrigerator. Dredge the chicken first in the flour mixture (the one without any cornmeal) and shake off any excess. Then dip the chicken in the egg mixture and wait while any excess goop drips off. Then dredge the chicken in the cornmeal mixture and shake off any excess. As you dip the chicken in each mixture, be careful to thoroughly coat all surfaces.
  7. Carefully place the dipped chicken in the hot oil, skin side down. Fry the chicken, turning it every 5 minutes and doing your best to keep the oil temperature hovering close to 300°F (150°C), until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, 25 to 27 minutes.
  8. Using tongs, transfer the fried chicken to the wire rack to drain. Bring the oil in the skillet back to 340°F (170°C). Repeat the coating, frying, and draining steps with the remaining chicken, discarding the marinade.
  9. Serve the fried chicken hot with the white barbecue sauce on the side.


Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce Recipe © 2015 Rebecca Lang. Photo © 2015 John Lee. All rights reserved.