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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher.

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Based on a recipe by America's Test Kitchen, this may not be traditional Southern Fried Chicken but it does make for crispy chicken. I adjusted the flavorings from that which America's Test Kitchen used and I also changed the brine a bit. Feel free to adjust spices to your taste. As I have learned over the years when making fry coatings and batters, the corn starch and baking powder make the final crust crispy and light.

Preparation Time: 1 hour brining; 10 minutes prep; 12 to 15 minutes frying time    Serving Size: 8 pieces

  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup Texas Pete hot sauce
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 chicken pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Texas Pete hot sauce
  • peanut oil for frying
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Heat in the microwave 1 cup of water in a glass 4-cup measuring cup until just hot. Remove and add 1/4 cup each kosher salt and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup of ice cubes and stir to melt. Add 1/2 cup Texas Pete hot sauce and enough remaining water to reach the 4 cup mark. Pour over cleaned chicken pieces in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Thirty minutes in, prepare the batter. Whisk together in a clean large bowl the flour, cornstarch, black pepper, poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, paprika, cayenne pepper and baking powder. Add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 cup Texas Pete hot sauce; whisk to combine. Place in the refrigerator for the remaining 30 minutes.

After an hour, heat peanut oil in a fryer or large Dutch oven to 350°. Drain chicken from brine and pat completely dry. Determine how many pieces of chicken will fit in your frying vessel. My "Fry Grand Pappy" holds about 3 pieces at a time. Whisk the batter to recombine and dip these pieces into the batter. Use tongs to lift out and let excess batter run off and back into the bowl. Carefully place in fryer and fry 12 to 15 minutes, using a spider or another set of tongs to occasionally move the pieces around in the oil to prevent sticking. Place the batter back in the refrigerator or on ice while frying each batch. Once chicken in no longer pink inside, remove to a cooling rack placed on a cookie and finish frying the rest of the chicken. Be sure to let the temperature return to 350° before dipping the next pieces in the batter and frying.

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