1 quart buttermilk, plus 2 cups
2 teaspoons chile de arbol powder or 2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 chickens (3 to 4 pounds), cut up into 8 pieces
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
Peanut oil, for deep-frying
1. Whisk together 1 quart of the buttermilk, 2 tablespoons salt and the chile de arbol in a large bowl or large baking dish. Add the chicken, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Place the remaining 2 cups of buttermilk in a bowl.
2. Stir together the flour, garlic and onion powders, paprika and cayenne in a large bowl and divide among 2 shallow platters and season generously with salt and pepper. Drain the chicken in a colander and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces a few at a time in the flour mixture and pat off excess, then dip in the buttermilk and allow excess to drain off. Dredge in the second plate of flour and pat off the excess. Put the chicken pieces on a baking rack set over a baking sheet while the oil heats.
3. Pour about 3 inches of oil into a deep cast iron skillet; the oil should not come more than half way up the sides of the pot. Put the pot over medium-high heat and heat the oil to 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, 3 or 4 at a time and fry, turning the pieces occasionally, until evenly golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a rack to drain; repeat to cook the remaining pieces. Serve hot drizzled with the ancho honey, if desired.
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
Whisk together ingredients in a bowl.