Tyler Florence may live on the West Coast, but one bite of his chicken reminds you that his heart still resides in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. This dish brings together many of the best elements of fried chicken: brining, buttermilk batter and a double dip in a heavily seasoned dredge. But what takes it over the edge is the oil he perfumes with fresh herbs and garlic, which infuses every bite with an extra layer of flavor.
Tyler Florence’s Fried Chicken
1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces
3 Tbs. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
3 cups (15 oz./470 g) all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. garlic powder
2 Tbs. onion powder
2 Tbs. paprika
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) buttermilk
2 Tbs. hot sauce, preferably Crystal or Tabasco
Peanut oil for frying
1/4 bunch fresh thyme
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 bunch fresh sage
1/2 head garlic (about 12 cloves), smashed, husk still attached
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a large (at least 5-quart/5-l) bowl, cover the chicken with 3 quarts (3 l) cold water. Add the 3 Tbs. salt, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt and black pepper to taste until well blended. In another large, shallow bowl, whisk the buttermilk and hot sauce together with a fork and season with salt and black pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry. Working with a few pieces at a time, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then dip them in the buttermilk, then dredge again in the seasoned flour. Set the pieces aside to rest on the prepared baking sheet while you prepare the oil.
In a large (at least 6-quart/6-l), deep pot, pour about 3 inches (7.5 cm) oil. Add the thyme, rosemary, sage and garlic to the cool oil and gradually heat over medium-high heat to between 360°F and 365°F (180° and 185°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. The herbs and garlic will infuse the oil with their flavor as the oil heats.
Working in batches, add the chicken to the oil 3 or 4 pieces at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, 12 to 13 minutes. Remove the chicken and herbs from the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and drain on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle all over with more salt and black pepper. Arrange the chicken on a platter and scatter the fried herbs and garlic over the top. Serve hot with the lemon wedges. Serves 4.
For this and more than 50 other ways to prepare fried chicken and its iconic side dishes, check out Fried & True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides, by Lee Brian Schrager with Adeena Sussman (Clarkson Potter, 2014).