Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken
- 1 lemon
- 1 quart very strong tea
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 8 chicken legs and 8 thighs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups masa harina
- 2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Vegetable oil, for frying
To make the brine: Zest, then quarter the lemon. Put the lemon zest and quarters in a saucepan. Add the tea, sugar, and salt. Simmer the mixture over medium-high heat until the salt and sugar dissolve. Add 1 quart of ice water and the chicken. Brine the chicken in the refrigerator for 48 hours. Drain the chicken and blot dry.
Combine 2 cups flour, the masa harina, crab boil seasoning, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the 8 eggs with the buttermilk. Put the remaining 2 cups of flour in a third bowl.
Prepare a breading station by lining up the bowl of flour, then the bowl containing the egg and buttermilk mixture, and finally the bowl of seasoned crust mixture. Roll the chicken in the flour, then the egg mixture, and then the crust then put the legs and thighs in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Fill a large deep pan with enough oil to completely submerge the chicken. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 300 degrees F. Add the chicken and cook until it is golden and the juices run clear, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain the chicken on a rack then serve.
Professional Recipe: This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.
Recipe Courtesy Chef John Fleer, Inn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN