Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger make their brine with sweet tea and thyme, a recipe inspired by chef Joseph Lenn of Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm; the brine gives the chicken a delicate, sweet flavor. After frying the chicken until it’s extra-crispy, they toss it in a sweet-and-spicy sauce of molasses and gochujang (Korean chile paste). Slideshow: Fried Chicken 

Josh Habiger
Erik Anderson
July 2013

Gallery

© Chris Court

Recipe Summary

total:
1 hr 30 mins
Yield:
4
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of the sweet tea just to a boil. Add the 1/2 cup of kosher salt and stir until dissolved. Add the thyme, halved garlic head, lemon slices and the remaining 4 cups of sweet tea and let cool completely, then refrigerate until well chilled, about 45 minutes.

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  • Add the chicken to the brine, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours or up to 48 hours.

  • Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the 3 garlic cloves with the gochujang, molasses and cayenne and puree until a paste forms. Add the lard and puree until smooth. Season with salt. Scrape the chile mixture into a very large bowl.

  • In a large saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil to 350°. Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread 1 cup of the all-purpose flour in a pie plate. In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour with the Wondra flour, cornstarch and a generous pinch of salt. Whisk in 3/4 cup of seltzer until a thick batter forms, adding more seltzer if needed.

  • Dredge 4 of the chicken pieces in the flour, tap off the excess and transfer to the rack. Dip 1 piece of chicken at a time in the batter, let the excess drip back into the bowl and add the chicken to the hot oil. Fry the chicken at 350°, turning occasionally, until pale golden and crisp, about 8 minutes; transfer the chicken to the rack. Repeat with the remaining 4 pieces of chicken.

  • Return the first 4 pieces of chicken to the hot oil and fry at 350° until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Repeat with the remaining 4 pieces of chicken. Add the 8 pieces to the very large bowl with the chile mixture and toss to coat. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve right away.

Notes

Gochujang

is available at Asian markets.

Suggested Pairing

Ripe peach-scented German Riesling with a touch of sweetness.

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