Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, plus 8 hours brining
for the brine:
⅓ cup kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon chili flakes
peel of one lemon
peel of one orange
1 (3-4 pound) whole chicken, broken down into 8 pieces
for the honey butter:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
for the dredge:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup rice flour
1 ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
to batter and fry the chicken:
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
canola oil, for frying
1. Make the brine: Combine the salt, chili flakes, and citrus peels in a large pot with 2 quarts water over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve, then cool completely before adding in the chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
2. Make the honey butter: Whip the butter in a mixer with a whisk attachment on medium speed until smooth. Stream in the honey and add the salt. Whip the butter until the volume doubles and the honey butter almost looks white. It should be smooth, emulsified, and luscious. Serve at room temperature, preferably spread on top of hot fried chicken. If making ahead, store in the refrigerator until needed, then bring to room temperature before serving. (We suggest taking the honey butter out of the fridge before you start battering the chicken.)
3. To make the dredge: Mix flour, spices, and baking powder well. Taste it – it should taste good!
4. To batter the chicken: Remove the chicken from the brine and dry. Place the chicken dredge flour in a wide container. Pour the buttermilk into a second container. Batter each piece of chicken one at a time. Submerge the chicken first in buttermilk. Lift the chicken out of the buttermilk, and let drip slightly, and place into chicken dredge flour container and coat the chicken again. Be careful to ensure that the chicken is evenly and fully coated, but do not let the coating become too thick. Place the battered chicken onto a plate and proceed with battering the remaining chicken.
5. To fry the chicken: Heat 2-inches oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 340°F. Working in batches, fry the chicken (the temperature of the oil will drop). Carefully adjust the heat to keep the oil at a constant 315-320°F. Fry the chicken until each piece reads at least 165°F at its thickest point. When the chicken is cooked, remove carefully from the oil and place on a wire rack over a cookie sheet or on paper towels.
6. Dust the top side of the just fried chicken with a sprinkle of salt and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Let rest for one minute, flip the chicken and dust the other side with salt and smoked paprika. Serve with the honey butter.