Makes 6 to 8 servings

A marriage of Southern favorites: Our salty-sweet brine of brown sugar and freshly brewed tea infuses this picnic-perfect chicken with juicy flavor before frying. Bonus: The tannins in tea act as a natural tenderizer.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan; add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes.

Step 2

Discard tea bags. Stir in brown sugar and next 5 ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool completely (about 45 minutes); stir in ice. (Mixture should be cold before adding to chicken.)

Step 3

Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. Place tea mixture and all chicken pieces in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal. Place bag in a shallow baking dish, and chill 24 hours.

Step 4

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Drain chicken well.

Step 5

Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Spoon 1 cup flour mixture into a brown paper bag or large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Place one piece of chicken in bag; seal and shake to coat. Remove chicken, and transfer to a wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, adding more flour mixture to bag as needed. Let chicken stand 30 minutes to form a crust.

Step 6

Pour oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches into a cast-iron Dutch oven; heat over medium heat to 325°. Fry chicken, in batches, 15 to 22 minutes or until browned and done, turning occasionally. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels.

Step 7

Note: If using a 12-inch-wide (2 1/4-inch-deep) cast-iron skillet, pour oil to depth of 1 inch.

Ratings & Reviews

obxgoer's Review

December 06, 2013
Not bad, but I much prefer the grill chicken using this brine that was published several years ago. I thought it had a much better flavor.

stallings06's Review

August 04, 2013
First time making "real, old-fashioned" fried chicken and it was delicious! I doubled the recipe but used 1 medium sweet onion, 1.5 lemons, and about 6 large garlic cloves. The flour mixture made more than enough for 7lbs of chicken so I did not need to double it. I used canola oil in 2 ceramic dutch ovens over medium heat at 325 and each of the 5 batches cooked well in approximately 20 minutes/each. I kept the preceding batches warm in a 250-degree oven on a wire rack in a deep cookie sheet. The chicken was hot when I served it about an hour later and the crust remained crisp. My guests raved over the chicken, saying it had great flavor and was very juicy. It's definitely time-consuming so save it for a special occasion or the odd Sunday lunch, but it's certainly worth making!

rockyhillgal's Review

July 16, 2013

Hotdoughnuts's Review

July 07, 2013
Delicious! Made exactly according to directions. I've never made fried chicken before, and was concerned that the "crust" wouldn't be crisp or that chicken wouldn't cook through. Both were perfect. Found the flour coating mix made way more than I needed for one whole cut up chicken.

SandraPL's Review

July 01, 2013
Very moist and tender with a great crust. However, way too sweet and the lemon was overpowering. Will make again with half the sugar and no lemon.

theyoungchef's Review

June 17, 2013