You will need:
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 cups warm water
6 cups buttermilk
6 each peeled garlic cloves (crushed with the bottom of a saucepot or a large chef’s knife)
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 ea whole bay leaves (crushed by hand)
4 tbl poultry seasoning (or you can use rubbed sage as a substitute)
8 each whole eggs (cracked into a separate bowl)
8 cups all purpose flour
1 gallon canola oil (for frying)
In a large bowl, whisk together the kosher salt and the hot tap water until all of the salt is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk again until well incorporated. In a large, shallow food container, add up to 12 pounds of “8 piece” bone-in, skin-on chicken. Make sure to place all of the chicken pieces with the “skin side” down. Cover or wrap the container and place it in the refrigerator. Let the chicken marinate overnight, but never longer than 32 hours.
Note: about halfway through the marinating process, take a pair of kitchen tongs and move the chicken around to spread the marinade into different spots. This will ensure that every piece of chicken gets the opportunity to be fully flavored with the marinade/brine.
1) Heat oven on to 350 degrees.
2) Use a 2 gallon or larger pot and add the 1 gallon of canola oil. Heat to 350 degrees
* If you have a “home use” countertop fryer, that would be ideal. Otherwise, a high temperature thermometer is imperative to know what temperature your oil is at. This is for food quality and safety reasons.
3) Next, remove all of the chicken from the marinade/brine and place on a large platter or large food container.
4) Strain the marinade/brine through a fine strainer and reserve 2 cups of it into a large mixing bowl for the breading process.
5) Add 8 eggs to the reserved 2 cups of marinade/brine and whisk very well until all of the ingredients are incorporated. In 2 other large mixing bowls, add 4 cups of all purpose flour to each one.
6) Set up a breading station starting from the left with one bowl of flour, the marinade/egg mixture, a second bowl of flour and then a large sheet/“cookie” pan or platter to place the breaded chicken on.
7) Place chicken in the first bowl of flour and turn & pat the chicken pieces until they are well coated. Shake off the excess flour and dip into the marinade/egg mixture; coat well and let the excess liquid drain off.
8) Place chicken in next bowl of flour and turn & pat the pieces again until you see absolutely no bare spots.
9) Place the chicken pieces on your “cookie” sheet/pan or platter and repeat all steps again until all of your marinated chicken is breaded.
10) Next, add the pieces of chicken one at a time into your hot, 350 degree oil.
*This is a very important step, because you need to take notice of how the oil is going to react to the chicken. Whenever you place cold items into hot oil, it can be tricky as it tends to “boil up” and almost double in size. So simply take your time and let the oil settle down before adding another piece. I would say 10-15 seconds in between “drops”. For 1 gallon of oil, I would only fry off 5-6 pieces of chicken at a time. You do not want it to boil over and cause a fire. The oil should never come close to the top of the pot. If you see this starting to happen, just turn the heat off and remove a few pieces of chicken.
11) Now as for the frying, you want to cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes in the oil until you see a light golden brown color. Pull each piece out with a pair of metal kitchen tongs and move them to another separate “cookie” sheet. Repeat these steps until all of the chicken is completed.
*At this time, your chicken is about half of the way cooked. To complete the process place your “cookie” sheet of fried chicken into the oven and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, rotating the pan one time after the first ten minutes of cooking. To ensure that your chicken is properly cooked, place a thermometer into the center of your largest piece of chicken. It needs to read 160 degrees or higher. If not, simply cook the chicken for 5-10 minutes longer until it reaches the proper temperature. 12lbs of chicken should feed 8-10 people. I like to serve my fried chicken with good old mashed potatoes and collard greens. Enjoy!!!