Bourbon Brined Fried Chicken

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Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the Brine:
One 3 1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 cups steaming hot water
2 cups ice water
2/3 cup bourbon

For Frying:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoons cayenne, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Dash of hot sauce
9 cups peanut oil, for frying

Special Equipment:

6 1/2- quart  Round Deep Dutch Oven

 

Directions:

Break chicken down into 10 pieces by removing thighs, drumsticks, whole wings, and bone-in breasts; cut each of the two breasts in half

To a large saucepan, add water, salt, honey, brown sugar ,cinnamon stick and bay leaves and stir until the salt dissolves. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the ice water and bourbon and allow to cool completely. Put chicken pieces into a resealable  gallon freezer bag and pour the brine over the chicken. Seal the bag, set in a large bowl, and chill at least 4 hours, but preferably overnigh, for best results.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cornstarch, salt and spices. Set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce, then set aside. Remove chicken pieces from the brine and pat dry. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip in buttermilk mixture and allow excess to drip off. Finally, dredge completely in the flour again, and set on a rack over a sheet pan. Repeat with remaining pieces and let stand to allow a crust to form over the chicken while the oil heats.

Preheat oven to 250º F.

Add oil to a 6 1/2-quart deep Dutch oven and heat to a temperature of 350º F.

Carefully add 5 pieces of chicken to the oil and hold temperature around 320 ºF while frying, gently turning chicken once. Fry for 12 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 º F in the thickest piece. Remove chicken to a rack set over a sheet tray, and hold in the oven while the next batch cooks. To prevent the chicken from buring on the outside  before it cooks through, remove it from the oil and place it  on a baking sheet and place it in the oven where it can finish cooking; check temperature before serving. Repeat frying process with remaining pieces, and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.