Fried chicken from Buttons

Fried chicken from Chef Keith Hicks, Buttons

6 tablespoons kosher or sea salt

1/2 tablespoon coarse-ground black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons cayenne, divided

10 chicken breast halves

2 cups flour

salt and pepper, to taste

4 cups peanut or canola oil for frying

1 yellow onion, cut into chunks

Brine: Put the first 6 ingredients and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne in a large pot along with 2 quarts (8 cups) of water and boil for 1 minute. Lower heat to a simmer and stir until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, cover, and cool to room temperature, about an hour; then refrigerate for another couple of hours. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Submerge the chicken pieces and brine for four hours, or up to overnight, refrigerated.

Chicken: Combine flour, remaining cayenne, salt, and pepper and set aside. Pat the brined pieces very dry with paper towels and dredge in the seasoned flour mix. Pour about 1/3  inch of oil into a large cast-iron skillet and heat to a little more than medium-high, or 350 degrees, adding the onion for flavor. Fry chicken in batches until bottom side is golden brown (about 10 minutes each side), keeping temperature constant. Using tongs, turn and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serves 5 to 10.

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