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Ad Hoc Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Ingredients

For the Chicken Brine:

2 1/2 lemons, halved

12 bay leaves

1/2 bunch parsley

1/2 bunch thyme

1/4 cup honey

1/2 garlic bulb, unpeeled and smashed

2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 cup kosher salt

1 gallon water

For the Coating:

3 cups Cup4Cup flour

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons cayenne

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For Dredging and Frying:

Peanut or canola oil for deep frying

2 cups buttermilk

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

Fleur de Sel or fine sea salt

Fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme

Instructions

For the Chicken Brine:

1. In a large pot, combine all brine ingredients and bring to a boil until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat and cool in refrigerator.

2. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, and 2 wings.

3. Place chicken pieces into cold brine and refrigerate for 12 hours. (No longer or the chicken may become too salty.)

4. Remove chicken from brine, discarding the brine, and rinse under cold water. Remove any herbs or spices sticking to the skin.

5. Pat dry with paper towels and allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours or until it comes to room temperature.

For the Coating:

6. Using a large pot, about 6 inches deep, fill pot no more than 1/3 of the way up with oil. Heat oil up to 320°F. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet.

7. Meanwhile, combine all the coating ingredients together and split into 2 large bowls.

8. Pour the buttermilk into a third bowl and season with salt and pepper.

9. Set up your dipping station: the chicken pieces, one bowl of coating, bowl of buttermilk, the second bowl of coating.

10. To coat, dip and fully coat a piece of chicken in the first bowl of coating, shake off excess, then dip into the buttermilk, let excess buttermilk drip off, put into the second bowl of coating. Remove from bowl and do not shake off excess coating.

For Frying:

11. Coat the thighs and legs first and lower into hot oil carefully. Fry for 2 minutes and then carefully move the chicken pieces around in oil and continue to fry, monitoring the oil temperature and turning the pieces as necessary for cooking, for 11-12 minutes until the chicken is deep golden brown.

12. Make sure to transfer fried chicken pieces skin side up and rest on a cooling rack while frying the remaining chicken leg pieces. Season with fine sea salt.

13. Turn up the heat of the oil to 340°F. Meanwhile, coat the chicken breasts and wings. Place pieces into hot oil and fry the wings for 6 minutes and chicken breasts for 7 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and season with fine sea salt. Turn off oil.

14. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs to the oil while it is still hot and let them fry for a few seconds. Remove from oil, remove leaves from the sprigs and sprinkle the over the chicken.