A homemade Creole spice mix flavors exceptional fried chicken from Josh Galliano. A long brine in sweet tea and buttermilk followed by a brisk fry in lard give the fried chicken both unbelievably tender meat and crackling-like skin.
Slideshow: More Fried Chicken Recipes
8 cups water
10 bags English Breakfast or other black tea
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup JG Creole Spice Mix
Two 3 1/2-pound whole chickens, cut into 8 pieces each
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce, such as Crystal or Tabasco
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups fine cornmeal
1/4 cup cornstarch
Rendered pork lard or canola oil, for frying
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, combine the water with the tea bags, salt, sugar and 2 tablespoons of the Creole spice mix. Bring just to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar; let steep for 10 minutes. Discard the tea bags and let the brine cool completely. Submerge the chicken in the brine, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the hot sauce, eggs and 2 tablespoons of the Creole spice mix. Drain the chicken, discarding the brine. Add the chicken to the buttermilk mixture, turning to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 250°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup of Creole spice mix. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of lard to 350°. Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Add half of the coated chicken to the lard and fry at 300°, turning occasionally, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 155°, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the fried chicken to the rack and keep warm in the oven while you fry the second batch.
Pair the fried chicken with a lively, citrusy sparkling wine.
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