Southern Fried Chicken

Tried my hand at Southern Fried Chicken--soaked a dozen chicken legs in brine overnight; dredged them in a flour mix that contained garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, sweet paprika, salt and pepper; dipped the pieces in a buttermilk-and-hotsauce mix; dredged them a second time in the flour mix; laid em in a plate to dry.

Heated up half a pot of peanut oil on medium high heat; tossed in while cool three sprigs of rosemary, a bunch of sage leaves, a bunch of thyme stems, and half a head of garlic (lightly crushed) into the oil; fished them out when the oil hit 370 degrees (I bought a candy/frying thermometer for the occasion); fished the herbs and garlic cloves out and set them aside.

Dropped in four drumsticks which caused the oil to bubble up, and the thermometer promptly slid off the side of the pot where it was clipped. When I fished it out, the top half had melted--you can imagine what fun it was to try maintain a 350 degree frying temperature with an oily, half-melted thermometer in one hand. Finally gave up, donned an oven glove, and held a probe thermometer in the oil.

The chicken came out dark brown with slightly burnt spots--but they were huge (they had swelled up thanks to the brining apparently), from drum sticks to bowling pins full of briny juices, with a crisp oniony-garlicky-paprika skin, and just enough heat to sharpen the flavor, but not sear the tongue.

Served the dozen or so pieces of chicken on a large serving plate with lemon wedges, topped with the fried herbs (the sage was especially nice and crispy). The meal was accompanied by a salad of baby spinach leaves and an apple-butter vinagrette (extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, kosher salt, fresh-cracked pepper, garlic clove and all the apple butter left in the jar, with a bit of maple syrup for sweetener). Dessert was--what else?--watermelon, cut in huge chunks.

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