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Cornmeal Fried Chicken


1 whole chicken

1 quart brine (recipe follows)

2 quarts chicken fat

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups cornmeal breading (recipe follows)



2 teaspoons black peppercorns

4 bay leaves

1 quart water

¼ cup salt

3 garlic cloves

¼ bunch thyme, tied in a bundle

Cornmeal Breading

2 cups cornmeal

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

2 teaspoons salt


  1. Remove skin from chicken and then cut into parts (breast, wing, thigh, and leg). Place in a baking dish and cover with brine, ensuring pieces are completely submerged. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for at least 3 to 6 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from brine and let dry on a paper towel-lined plate for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat chicken fat to 350 degrees in a large dutch oven.
  4. Pour buttermilk into a wide, shallow bowl and and cornmeal breading into another. Dunk chicken in buttermilk then toss in breading, ensuring each piece is evenly covered.
  5. Carefully lower each breaded breast into hot chicken fat. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, then add legs, thighs, and wings. Fry until thickest part of each piece registers at least 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully remove each piece and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt to season.
For the brine: Make a sachet of peppercorns and bay leaves in a bundle of cheesecloth. Combine water, salt, garlic, thyme, and sachet 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. For the cornmeal breading:  Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to combine.
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