Friday, January 27, 2012

Date Night : Sweet Tea Brined- Fried Chicken with Classic Mac n' Cheese & Haricot Vert

I've been on a fried chicken kick lately. Not good for my health obviously, but it's just so delicious. It's my ultimate favorite meal. Well, besides shrimp & grits. There is just something so satisfying about biting into crispy fried chicken that is still moist and juicy on the inside. And, I feel like it's one of those things that you can eat casually or dress it up for a nice dinner. And that's what we did, here's another round of our favorite night of the week, Date Night! I know that many people have all these secrets to the "best fried chicken", and to be honest, I don't think there is necessarily a recipe that I can give that title to because I think they are all amazing. Whether they are just tossed in flour, brined, marinated in buttermilk, or covered in a special spice rub, I love 'em all. And I crave them all in different ways. Sometimes I want a spicy fried chicken, like the delicious Nashville Hot Chicken that we made, or I want just classic fried chicken with some hot sauce & honey (hey, I know it sounds weird, but don't knock it till you try it). However, I had come across a recipe for fried chicken that was a little sweet on the inside. How was it sweet you ask? The chicken is brined in sweet tea, and then breaded and deep fried. Um yum... I had to try it. This Sweet Tea Brined-Fried Chicken was just fancy enough for Date Night, but still down home cookin' y'all. We served our chicken with Classic Mac n' Cheese (which I will post this weekend) and some sauteed Garlic Haricot Vert. This meal was perfect in every way for me, and I will say my Mountain Man enjoyed it as well. And you wanna know what, it was even better the next day!! Enjoy :)
Date Night: Sweet Tea Brined-Fried Chicken with Classic Mac n' Cheese & Garlic Haricot Vert
Up Close & Personal of the Awesome Sweet Tea Chicken
For the Sweet Tea Brine:
1Q Cold Water
2 Gallon-Sized Tea Bags
1C Sugar
1 Lemon, Quartered
1/3C Sea Salt
2lb Chicken Wings & Chicken Drumsticks

For the Fried Chicken:
Sweet Tea Brined Chicken
1C AP Flour
4T Cornstarch
Paprika, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, & Pepper
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
1C Buttermilk
1t Hot Sauce
Peanut Oil, For Frying

1. For the Brine: Bring the cold water to a hard boil and remove from the heat. Add the tea bag and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add the sugar, stir until dissolved. Add the lemon quarters and salt, and stir. Put in a nonreactive bowl and refrigerate to chill for 8-12 hours. Make sure the brine is completely cold before adding the chicken. Put the wings and drumsticks into a Ziploc bag and pour in the brine over the chicken. Let it refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Once brined, drain & dry the chicken and set aside.
2. Frying the Chicken: In a deep fryer, heat the canola oil to 350 degrees. Next, you have to set up a battering station. I use 2 pie tins for all of my stations. For the first station, mix together the flour, cornstarch, pepper, and garlic salt. For the second station, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, and the egg. Dredge the brined chicken into the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, then back into the flour. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Carefully add the chicken to the hot oil and fry until golden and fully cooked, about 10-12 minutes depending on your fryer. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
3. Serve with the mac n’ cheese and green beans. It’s also great served with a drizzle of honey and hot sauce. 


  1. Linda A SkorackyjJune 24, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    This looks really good. I am going to try this. I may half the hot sauce because I don't like chicken seasoned "hot".

    1. To us, it really isn't hot at all. But then again we have a spicy palate, so go with what works for you!