Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken
2 chickens, cut in 10 pieces each
Peanut oil, for frying
Thyme, for frying
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons Hot Pepper Hot Sauce
2 liters of water, divided
140 grams of salt (heaping ½ cup)
1 lemon, quartered
½ head of garlic, cut through horizontally
3 bay leaves
3-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of peppercorns
4½ cups all-purpose flour
3½ tablespoons onion powder
3½ tablespoons garlic powder
1½ tablespoon hot cayenne pepper
½ tablespoon smoked paprika
1½ tablespoon salt
For the brine, put one liter water in a stock pot and add ½ cup of salt. Heat over medium heat until the salt is dissolved, then remove from heat and add the lemon, bay leaves, garlic, 3-5 sprigs of thyme, and peppercorns. Ice the remaining liter of water and add to the warm brine to chill. Put the chicken in the brine and refrigerate until ready to fry.
For the breading, combine flour, onion powder, garlic powder, hot cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, 1½ tablespoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Reserve until ready to fry chicken.
To fry the chicken, heat peanut oil (3″) in a dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet to 350° F. Add a handful of thyme sprigs to the oil as it warms. When the thyme sprigs are crispy, remove and reserve to use as a garnish.
Divide breading mixture between two hotel pans and put the buttermilk and hot sauce in a third hotel pan. Remove chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
Fry the chicken in batches of 4-5 pieces, dredging each piece in flour mixture, then buttermilk, then again in the second pan of flour mixture, before adding to the hot oil. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, then remove from the hot oil and keep warm on a sheet pan lined with paper towels in a warm oven.
To serve, arrange chicken pieces on a serving platter and garnish with thyme and salt.