Marinated in a homemade sweet tea and covered in a crispy coating, this Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken is sure to become a classic.
Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken
Serves: Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup plus 1½ tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- 4 Luzianne Iced Tea cup-size tea bags
- 1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 1 (3-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups water, brown sugar, and ½ cup salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add tea bags, lemon, thyme, and garlic. Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard tea bags. Stir in ice until melted. Refrigerate until brine cools to room temperature, about 2 hours.
- Place chicken in a large heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Add brine; seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Place bag in a 13×9-inch baking dish. Refrigerate overnight.
- Let chicken stand at room temperature for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill a large cast-iron Dutch oven halfway with oil, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325°.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and remaining 1½ tablespoons salt. Place buttermilk in another large bowl.
- Working in batches, remove chicken from brine, letting excess drip off. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip in buttermilk, letting excess drip off. Dredge in flour mixture again, shaking off excess. Fry chicken, turning occasionally, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°, 5 to 7 minutes. Let drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.