When we walked into Williams-Sonoma, we were not there for chicken mix. No, we were there to purchase a beautiful, lovely new red Vitamix. But we bought a City Grit Fried Chicken Kit anyway. (Because it was 30% off and this picture of fried chicken on the front made us hungry.) And now we are obsessed.
Yes, meet our new Current Obsession, the Williams-Sonoma City Grit Fried Chicken Kit. We got some bounce back cash for buying the “blender” (Shake says I’m not supposed to call it that because “It’s a VITAMIX, dammit!”) so we went back the next week and bought two more kits, as well as a couple jars of their dipping sauces. (I like the Alabama White, but it’s one of those flavors you like or you don’t—it’s rather vinegary; I prefer it to the Sweet & Spicy Honey Mustard, which Shake likes.)
I know it’s perfectly easy to season your chicken yourself, but it’s also very nice when everything is all portioned out nicely for you and you don’t have to buy small quantities of spices you’re only going to use for this one thing.
We served these for our Fourth of July party, and they were a big hit. (Even though, much to Shake’s chagrin, the latter two boxes we bought turned out to be the Gluten-Free recipe—the GF marker on the box is extremely subtle, in small, white, sans serif font up in the corner—but honestly, I don’t notice a difference. He claims he does, but it’s not like we’ve made both at the same time and conducted a taste test.)
In addition to the seasoning mix and flour (packaged in the kit), you need oil (for frying), buttermilk, an egg and some water. The chicken has to be rubbed with the spice mix and refrigerated for at least several hours (or overnight). The directions call to use bone-in pieces of chicken, but we like bite-size (or two-bite), boneless, skin-on pieces. That’s how we roll in the Sugar + Shake house.
I use skin-on chicken thighs and debone them myself. We usually have those Whole Foods “Value Packs” of chicken in our freezer—they come in three joined vacuum-sealed packs; depending on what part of the chicken it is, a pack has a pound or so of chicken—they’re really handy for weeknight cooking in a two-person household. On our first go-round with the City Grit kit, I used the entire three-pack (about three pounds) and poured all the seasoning on and dumped all the flour into the breading tray.
The chicken tasted great, but I thought it was pretty spicy (too much, in some bites) and I ended up throwing out a lot of flour. This felt very wasteful. It seemed like using less of both the seasoning mix and the flour would be more economical. So for Fourth of July I made five packs of chicken (about five pounds) and used all of the kit (according to the directions, this much chicken should have needed two kits); on a recent weekend, I prepped about two pounds of chicken and used half the seasoning mix and half the flour that came in the kit. You would think that doing this with bite-sized pieces, since it increases surface area, would use more spice mix and flour than larger pieces, but both batches came out adequately seasoned and had just the right amount of flour to go around. (Remember: Food safety! If you’re planning on using just half the kit, measure out the seasoning and flour first before messing around with the chicken so that you don’t contaminate the seasoning and flour you’re trying to save for next time.)
If you’re making this for the first time, go ahead and use the whole kit (for approximately three pounds of chicken) and see if you like the spice level you get when using all the seasoning. If you’re using larger bone-in pieces, you get less spice in each bite than we do with the bite-sizers, so you may need all of the packet. I still think they give you too much flour though, so if you’re feeling really thrifty, or you just really hate waste, you can save half the flour for chicken you season on your own.
Shake has since bought the “Spicy” recipe kit, and I have to say, I’m a little afraid since I found the seasoning mix already a bit on the spicy side (especially when I used all of it on the first batch). But that isn’t going to stop me from making fried chicken obsessively all summer.