• Yield: Serves 4

I went for dark meat only for our fried chicken. It’s juicier, and it’s got the crunch that I love hearing when I walk through the dining room.

[Ed. note: Start the day before.]


  • 8 cups water

  • 1 cup coarse kosher salt

  • 4 chicken thighs

  • 4 chicken drumsticks

  • 2 cups buttermilk

  • 3/4 cup coconut milk

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon Chicken Shake (see below), plus additional for serving

  • Peanut oil for frying

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup semolina flour

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper

Red Rooster The Red Rooster Cookbook


Put 2 cups of the water and the salt in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour into a large container, add the remaining 6 cups of water, and cool 
to room temperature. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. Drain.

Whisk the buttermilk, coconut milk, garlic, and chicken shake together in a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Submerge the chicken in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Fill a large saucepan one-third full with peanut oil. Set over medium-high heat and heat to 360°F.

Coat the chicken while 
the oil heats. Put the flour, semolina, cornstarch, and white pepper into a bowl and whisk to combine. Let any excess marinade drip on the chicken, then roll in the flour coating, packing it on. Place on a rack set over a baking sheet. If the coating looks damp, roll it in the flour again.

Working in batches, fry the chicken until it is a rich brown and has an internal temperature of 165°F, about 10 minutes per batch. Keep an eye on the heat and adjust it to keep the oil between 350° and 375°F. Drain on a rack set over a baking sheet.

Season the Yardbird with a sprinkle of chicken shake.

Chicken Shake: Whisk 1/4 cup berbere, 1/4 cup hot smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper, 2 tablespoons celery salt, 11/2 teaspoons granulated garlic, and 11/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt together. Store in a jar, out of the light. It makes about 1 cup and will keep for 6 months.

From The Red Rooster Cookbook by Marcus Samuelsson © 2016. Photographs © 2016 by Bobby Fisher. Reprinted with permission from Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Marcus Samuelsson is a chef, restaurateur and author. He received the Rising Star Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation in 1999, won "Top Chef Masters Season 2" and served as the guest chef for the first state dinner of the Obama administration. He is the author of several cookbooks and the memoir Yes, Chef, and co-founder of FoodRepublic.com.