Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Fried Yardbird Recipe
August 5, 2016

Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Fried Yardbird Recipe

This lovely yardbird recipes comes from Harlem EatUp! co-founder Marcus Samuelsson of Ginny’s Supper Club — catch him at Harlem EatUp! where he will be hosting three Dine-Ins alongside guest chefs such as Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse. Try pairing this flavorful chicken dish with a sweet Bordeaux Wine, such as an AOC Loupiac, AOC Cadillac, AOC Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, or a young Sauternes for an unusual, yet superb pairing.

Fried YardbirdServings: 4


  • 1 cup salt

  • 8 cups water

  • 4 chicken thighs, skin-on

  • 4 chicken drumsticks, skin-on

  • 1 quart buttermilk

  • 3/4 cup coconut milk

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon Chicken Shake (recipe follows), plus more for seasoning

    • 5 quarts oil (for frying)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons semolina flour

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper



  • In an extra large pot combine salt and water until dissolved. Place chicken thighs and drumsticks in brine, and let it sit for 1 1/2 hours.

  • In a large bowl combine buttermilk, coconut milk, garlic, and Chicken Shake. Place the brined chicken in this marinade. Cover and let refrigerate overnight.

  • Fill a large pot with oil and bring to 300°F.

  • In a low-rimmed dish combine all-purpose flour, semolina flour, cornstarch, and white pepper to make breading.

  • Remove the marinated chicken from fridge.

  • Roll chicken in the breading, shaking off any excess.

  • Once the oil is hot, drop chicken into the oil in small batches and fry for about 15 minutes (the inner temperature should be at least 165°F).

  • Remove the chicken from the oil and place on a paper towel. Season chicken with a little Chicken Shake.


    Wine Pairing

    While it might seem a little unusual, a superb pairing with this flavorful fried chicken dish is a sweet Bordeaux Wine. While Sauternes is the most well know of these wines, look for something on the lighter side such as a Loupiac, Cadillac, or Saint Croix-du-Mont, or even a young Sauternes. The sweetness provides a delicious contrast to the crispy skin on the chicken as well as the pickles and mace gravy. The wonderful flavors of citrus marmalade, dried stone fruits, and the savory mushroom tang from the ‘noble rot’ will lift this dish to a whole new dimension.

    Chicken ShakeYield: 4 cups


    • 1/8 cup ground garlic

    • 1/2 cup celery salt

    • 1/2 cup ground cumin

    • 1 cup berbere

    • 1 cup smoked spicy paprika

    • 1/8 cup kosher salt

    • 1/2 cup ground white pepper



  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.


    Red Rooster Hot SauceYield: 1 quart


    • 6 red bell peppers

    • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

    • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

    • 2 shallots, sliced

    • 2 garlic cloves, roasted

    • 1 tablespoon sugar

    • 1 tablespoon salt

    • 1 tablespoon cumin

    • 2 tablespoons tomato powder

    • 1 tablespoon mustard powder

    • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika

    • 2 tablespoons cayenne powder

    • 2 cups olive oil



  • Preheat oven to 450°F.

  • Arrange red bell peppers on a sheet tray and place in the oven, turning every 15 minutes until slightly charred and done (about 30 minutes total).

  • Remove from the oven and let the peppers cool, using a paring knife, remove the seeds.

  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until fully incorporated and smooth, slowly adding oil as necessary.

  • Seal in a container and refrigerate.


    Collard GreensServings: 6-8 servings


    • ½ pound Spice Butter (recipe follows)

    • 1 onion

    • 2 thai bird chili

    • 2 pounds collards

    • 1 tablespoon salt

    • ¼ cup cider vinegar

    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar



  • In a medium heat sauté pan combine butter, onions, and chili. Cook for 5 minutes.

  • Add collard greens, salt, vinegar and sugar.

  • Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes or until very tender.


    Spiced ButterYield: 1 pound


    • 1 pound butter

    • 1 teaspoon black pepper

    • 1 teaspoon allspice, ground

    • 1 teaspoon fenugreek

    • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground

    • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

    • 1 teaspoon mace

    • 1 teaspoon cardamon, ground

    • 1 cinnamon stick

    • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced

    • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced



  • In a sauté pan over medium heat melt butter and add spices.

  • When the butter browns slightly remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes.


    Mace GravyYield: 6 cups


    • 1 pound bacon

    • 8 tablespoons butter

    • 1 cup shallots

    • 2 tablespoons mace

    • 5 tablespoons flour

    • 1/2 cup bourbon

    • 4 quarts chicken stock

    • 1 bay leaf

    • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

    • 2 sage leaves

    • 2 quarts heavy cream

    • 1 tablespoons salt

    • 1/2 tablespoon pepper



  • Over low heat render bacon in butter for 8 minutes. Add shallots and mace and cook for 3 more minutes.

  • Add flour, creating a roux, and cook until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Deglaze with bourbon and slowly whisk in stock until smooth. Bring to a simmer and add bay leaf. Cook and reduce by half.

  • Add vinegar, sage, and cream then reduce to low heat and cook until thick.

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste


    BB PicklesYield: 2 cups


    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

    • 2 cups water

    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

    • 1/4 tablespoon salt

    • 1/4 cup yellow/ brown mustard seeds

    • 1/4 cup celery

    • 1/8 cup garlic

    • 2 teaspoons turmeric

    • 2 teaspoons aleppo pepper

    • 1 bay leaf

    • 2 cups persian cucumber

    • 1 jalapeno

    • 1 onion



  • In a large pot bring water and all other ingredients, except cucumbers, jalapeno, and onions, to a boil.

  • Remove from heat and reserve.

  • Slice onion and jalapeno thin. Slice cucumber into 1/2-inch rounds.

  • Pour liquid over and refrigerate overnight.


    Buttermilk Mashed PotatoesServings: 4-6


    • 4 pounds potatoes

    • 5 tablespoons salt, divided

    • 2 teaspoons pepper

    • 8 tablespoons butter

    • 1/4 cup buttermilk

    • 1/4 cup cream



  • In a large pot, cover potatoes with cold water. Add 4 tablespoons of salt and bring to a simmer, cook until fully tender, about 30-45 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and drain.

  • Add butter, buttermilk, cream, salt and pepper to the pot and mash together well.


    Fried Yard Bird Dinner Assembly

    Divide Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes among 4-6 plates. Lay Fried Chicken pieces on top, cover with gravy and serve with sides of Bread and Butter Pickles and Rooster Hot Sauce.


    Craving more great Harlem EatUp! recipes? Find more here.


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