Extra-Crispy Fried Chicken

  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 4 hr 40 min
  • Active: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

Two 3- to 3 1/2-pound whole chickens

2 bunches fresh rosemary 

2 bunches fresh sage 

2 bunches fresh thyme 

10 fresh bay leaves 

3 cloves plus 1 head garlic

1/4 cup olive oil 

3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup kosher salt 

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper 

4 cups buttermilk 

1 tablespoon hot sauce 

1 teaspoon sugar 

Grapeseed oil, for deep-frying 

4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 cup rice flour 

1/2 cup garlic powder 

1/2 cup onion powder 

1 tablespoon flaked salt, such as Maldon, to finish 

4 lemons, cut into wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. Roughly chop 1 bunch rosemary, sage and thyme, 5 of the bay leaves and the 3 garlic cloves. Add to a bowl, and mix with the olive oil, 3 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons pepper. Rub the birds with the herb mixture so it sticks to the skin. Transfer the chickens to a roasting pan.
  3. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, or until the temperature between the breast and thigh near the bone registers 150 degrees F. At this stage the chickens are 75-percent cooked. Set aside to cool.
  4. When cool enough to handle, break down the birds into 10 pieces each, with the breasts boneless and halved. You will end up with a wing, leg, thigh and 2 pieces breast meat per half chicken.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, hot sauce and sugar. Submerge the chicken pieces in the buttermilk and let sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Fill a large, heavy pot with grapeseed oil to a depth of 3 inches. Turn the heat on, and add the remaining bunches rosemary, sage and thyme, the remaining 5 bay leaves and the head of garlic, broken into cloves. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. The herbs and garlic will crisp up and perfume the oil as it comes to temperature. Once they are crispy, remove them to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside--they will serve as a garnish for the finished dish.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, rice flour, garlic powder, onion powder, 1/3 cup salt and 1/4 cup black pepper; mix thoroughly. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk (do not dry) and coat well in the flour mixture.
  8. Without over-crowding the pot, fry the breaded chicken until all the pieces are golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove to a clean kitchen cloth and season with flaked salt and freshly ground pepper.
  9. Line a serving platter with a paper bag, brown parchment paper or a clean napkin. Pile the chicken onto the platter. Serve with the fried herbs and garlic and the lemon wedges.
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