- 3/4 c. kosher salt
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. chile flakes
- Peel of 1 lemon
- Peel of 1 orange
- 2 boneless skin-on breasts, halved widthwise
- 2 boneless skin-on thighs
- 2 drumsticks
- 3-1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 1/2 c. rice flour
- 3-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 3 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 3 tsp. kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling on cooked chicken
- 1/4 tsp. plus 1 Tbs. smoked paprika
- 1 quart buttermilk
- Canola or Rice Bran oil for frying
Combine the 3/4 c. kosher salt, sugar, chile flakes and lemon and orange peels with 1 gallon water in a large pot and heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely. Place the chicken pieces in the brine and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine and dry off excess moisture with paper towels.
Stir together the flour, rice flour, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, baking powder, cayenne pepper, 3 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika. Divide the flour mixture between two deep containers. Pour the buttermilk into a third container. Working one piece of chicken at a time, dip into the first flour container and coat lightly, then submerge the chicken into the buttermilk. Lift out and let the excess buttermilk drip off for a few seconds; place into the second flour mixture to 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 the remaining chicken.
Fill a sturdy, high sided pot with about 4 inches of oil and preheat over medium high heat. Use a frying thermometer to bring the oil to 340 degrees F. In the meantime, set a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Place several pieces of the chicken into the oil, but do not crowd. If you place too much chicken into the oil, the temperature will drop too much and the chicken will become greasy. Fry the chicken until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest point of the meat reads at least 165 degrees F, about 11 to 13 minutes for the drumsticks and about 10 minutes for the breasts and thighs. Transfer the cooked chicken to the wire rack to drain. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with salt and some of the remaining paprika. Let rest 1 minute, then flip the chicken and sprinkle the other side with salt and smoked paprika.
For the honey butter: combine the 2 sticks butter, 4 Tbs. honey and 1/2 tsp. salt and whisk with a mixer on medium speed until the butter is well mixed, about 2 minutes. Place equal amounts into small bowls and serve with the hot fried chicken, to be spread over the chicken just before eating.