Guy Fieri’s Fried Chicken

Yes, here is yet another recipe from my Guy Fieri cookbook. I’ve learned from the other recipes to tread carefully – Guy likes it hot, and salty! But always tasty. This recipe is actually titled Happy Birthday Stacey Fried Chicken, so of course you knew I had to try it. I was nervous, as it calls for parting a whole chicken, soaking it in brine, and deep frying it. Now, I am a girl of convenience, so parting a whole chicken is not up my alley; I’d rather buy a pack of chicken pieces and call it dinner. I’m also a girl who loves to cook a great dinner in 1 hour or less, start to finish. And this recipe asks you to soak the chicken in brine for 4 to 12 hours! I don’t have that kind of time to wait before cooking my food! Deep frying used to never be a problem for me, until my deep fryer broke and had to be thrown out. Now I am much more wary of filling a pot of oil and deep frying on my stove top… It’s a little more frightening that my super-safe deep fryer. But I was determined to make this at home, and since it involved so many things I hadn’t really tried before, I followed the recipe to the letter. And it was one of the best things I think I have made to date. So, no fear, and enjoy!

Guy Fieri’s Fried Chicken
Prep time: 20-25 minutes
Soak time: 4 to 12 hours
Cook time: 60 minutes (20 minutes per batch, 3 batches expected)
Serves 2-4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (not minced)
3.75 L water
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup kosher salt
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup black peppercorns
4 cups ice

1 roasting chicken, cut into 10 pieces (see instructions below)

3 cups white all-purpose flour
2 tbsp dried marjoram
1/2 tbsp dried tarragon
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp fresh black pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 cups buttermilk (see vegan sub below for a dairy-free version)

Oil for deep frying
Seasoning salt (optional)

To make the brine…

In a large stockpot (and I mean LARGE), heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, and garlic and saute until just soft (approx. 4 to 5 minutes). Add water, sugar, salt, wine, honey, and peppercorns; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Add ice to cool completely. Submerge chicken pieces in the brine and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours.

To part a whole chicken…

Watch this video. Or buy the pieces separately at the grocery store. My chicken yielded 2 breasts (each cut in half, plus filets), 2 thighs, 2 legs, and 2 wings.

To season and cook the chicken…

Remove chicken from brine, rinse, and pat dry. (Discard the brine; see below for tips.) In a shallow bowl, combine flour, marjoram, tarragon, thyme, pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Place half in a second bowl. Pour buttermilk into a third bowl. Dredge the chicken pieces in the first bowl of flour, then in the buttermilk, then in the second bowl of flour. Set pieces on a wire rack and allow to sit 15 minutes.

Meanwhile heat oil in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat to 350F. Add the chicken carefully, and cook in batches if necessary. I did 2 batches but should have split the second batch in half again and done three. Each batch takes approx. 20 minutes – rotate a couple of times through to ensure even cooking. Do not let the pot lid drip water into the hot oil – this is bad! Also, white meat does not take as long to cook as dark meat; I did the first batch all breast meat and fillet, and cooked it in 15 minutes or so. The dark meat took 20 minutes.

When each batch is done cooking, transfer to paper-towel lined baking dish and keep warm in oven (175F). Season with seasoning salt as it comes out the pot.

Serve with onion rings or french fries, and enjoy!

Notes from above:
1) Vegan substitutes for buttermilk make no sense in a chicken dinner, except when the goal is to be dairy-free. Instead of buttermilk, I used 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar to 1 cup soy milk to sour it and it turned out incredibly well!
2) To discard brine: pour through colander or sieve to catch all the bits in the liquid; discard bits in garbage.

Original recipe from Guy Fieri Food, pg 200.

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