Cornmeal Fried Chicken
- Remove skin from chicken, and then cut into sections of breast, wing, thigh, and leg.
- Place chicken in a baking dish and cover with brine, ensuring that chicken pieces are completely submerged. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for at least 3–6 hours.
- Remove chicken from brine and place on a paper towel-lined plate to dry for 10 minutes.
- Heat chicken fat in a large Dutch oven to 350 degrees.
- Pour buttermilk and cornmeal breading into 2 separate bowls. First dunk chicken in buttermilk, then toss in breading, ensuring that each piece is evenly covered in breading.
- Carefully drop each breaded breast piece into hot chicken fat. Fry for 2–3 minutes, then add legs, thighs, and wings. Fry for 10–12 minutes, until thickest part of each piece registers at least 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
- Carefully remove each piece and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle a little salt on each piece, if desired.
- Tie peppercorns and bay leaves in a bundle of cheesecloth.
- Combine water, salt, garlic, thyme, and bundled peppercorns and bay leaves in a saucepan and bring to a boil, just long enough to dissolve the salt.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Strain before using.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to combine.