Victor Protasio
Active Time
45 MIN
Total Time
9 HR
Yield
Serves : 8 to 12

At Goodnight Charlie’s, a honky-tonk bar in Houston run by master sommelier David Keck, chef Felipe Riccio’s crispy hot chicken tacos are the perfect snack to fuel late nights on the dance floor. Riccio likes to top them with spicy, chorizo-studded braised collards and bread-and-butter pickles. Use the best-quality corn tortillas you can find, such as those from Masienda brand.

How to Make It

Step 1    Make the chicken

Stir together 6 cups warm water, sugar, and 1/2 cup salt in a large, lidded container until dissolved. Let cool. Place chicken in brine; cover and chill 8 hours.

Step 2    

Drain chicken, and discard brine. Whisk together cornstarch, flour, chili powder, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder, and 4 teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Place buttermilk in a separate bowl. Working in small batches, dredge chicken pieces in cornstarch mixture, dip in buttermilk, and dredge again in cornstarch mixture. Place coated chicken pieces in a fine wire-mesh strainer, and shake off excess flour mixture. Place chicken in a single layer on 2 wire racks on rimmed baking sheets, and let stand 15 minutes.

Step 3    Make the braised greens

Meanwhile, place chorizo, onion, and jalapeño in a large skillet over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chorizo is crumbled and browned and onions are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add greens and 1 teaspoon salt; cover and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Stir in vinegar. Remove from heat.

Step 4    Make the spiced oil

Stir together cayenne, brown sugar, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Heat 1 cup grapeseed oil in a medium skillet over medium-high until hot, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and add spice mixture to oil, stirring to combine. Let cool 10 minutes. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl.

Step 5    

Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat 1 inch of grapeseed oil in a large, heavy, high-sided skillet over medium-high to 360°F. Working in 3 batches, fry chicken, turning occasionally, until crispy and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with spiced oil; toss to coat. Lift chicken from bowl; place on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer baking sheet to preheated oven to keep warm. Repeat procedure 2 times with remaining chicken and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Step 6    

Divide braised greens and fried chicken among warm tortillas. Top with pickles.

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