You won’t believe how juicy and flavorful this oven-baked chicken is.
Sweet Tea Oven-Fried Chicken
- 1 gallon water
- 4 bags black tea
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 2 (3-to 4-pound) whole chickens, each cut into 10 pieces (breasts halved)
- 2 cups whole buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups white rice flour
- 2 cups medium-grind yellow cornmeal
- 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), blended in food processor for 45 seconds
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- In a large stockpot, bring 1 gallon water to a boil. Remove from heat, and add tea bags. Let steep for 20 minutes; discard tea bags. Add sugar and ½ cup salt, and stir to dissolve. Add ice. Pour brine into a large nonreactive container. Refrigerate until an instant-read thermometer registers 41°.
- Add chicken to brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain chicken, and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Add chicken, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together flours, cornmeal, bread crumbs, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, thyme, oregano, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Dredge chicken in flour mixture; refrigerate chicken in flour mixture for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove chicken from flour, shaking off excess.
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Divide softened butter among 3 (13×9-inch) baking dishes; place in oven to preheat for 10 minutes. Carefully place chicken, skin side down, in even layers in preheated pans.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Brush chicken with melted butter. Turn, and bake until skin is golden brown and crispy and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°, about 20 minutes more.