Spicy Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Gravy
3 cups buttermilk, divided
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 chickens (3 1/2 lb. each), cut each into — 8 pieces
2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1/4 cup bayou seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
hot pepper sauce to taste
In large bowl, combine 2 cups of the buttermilk, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Add the chicken and toss well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a large heavy skillet, preferably black cast iron, heat the oil over medium high heat until very hot but not smoking. In a large paper bag, combine the flour, bayou seasoning, and salt. Remove one third of the chicken pieces from the marinade, shaking off any excess marinade.
Place the chicken pieces in the bag and shake to coat. Shake off the excess flour and place them in the skillet. Cook, turning once, until browned, about 10 minutes. (Adjust the heat so the oil stays hot but not smoking.)
Transfer the cooked chicken to a large baking sheet. In two batches, repeat the browning procedure with the remaining chicken and transfer to the baking sheet.
Discard the marinade, but reserve 1/4 cup of seasoned flour, and leave 3 tbl. of the oil in the skillet.
Bake the chicken just until it shows no sign of pink when pierced at the bone with the tip of a sharp knife, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a brown paper bag or paper towels to drain while making the gravy.
Return the skillet with the 3 tbl. oil to the stove and heat over medium-low heat. Whisk in the 1/4 c. of reserved flour and let bubble gently for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.
Whisk in the 1 cup of buttermilk and cook until just heated through; do not boil. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce.
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve immediately with the gravy in a warmed sauceboat.