3 cups buttermilk (or, if you can only find cultured buttermilk, 2 cups plain yogurt, thinned with 1 cup whole milk)
4 Tablespoons Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsps black pepper
3 tsps cayenne
3 slices bacon, chopped
Arrange chicken in one layer in dish or dishes, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt. Pour buttermilk or thinned yogurt, spiked with Tabasco, over chicken. Marinate, turning often, for at least 4 hours and as long as 24.
Combine flour, remaining salt, and pepper and cayenne in a shallow dish or bowl.
Pour oil into a large pot to a depth of at least 3 inches. Add bacon.
Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 300 degrees. Remove bacon when it browns and has rendered all flavor.
Lift chicken pieces one by one from marinade, allowing excess to drip off before coating in seasoned flour. Again shake off excess before slipping pieces, skin-side down, into oil.
Keeping temperature at 300 – 325 degrees, fry 12-15 minutes, or until an internal thermometer registers 170 degrees for dark meat, 160 degrees for white meat.
Drain on a wire rack and turn your attention to the making of waffles. (See below.)
Late Night (or Early Morning) Waffles Serves 6
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal (yellow or white)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
4 Tablespoons melted butter
Rendered fat from 3 slices bacon
Combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and baking powder. Sift, or, if you-re feeling lazy, stir well with a fork.
In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks well. Add buttermilk, butter, and bacon fat to yolks and stir.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and combine with four or five strokes of a whisk. (Do not overwork the batter, for it will toughen.)
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold gently into batter.
Cook 4-6 minutes according to waffle iron directions, or until steam ceases leaking from beneath the lid.
Serve with cane or maple syrup and a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce (or any of the more viscous brands).
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