for brining:
1 lb. (2 medium) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into halves (or use 4 large chicken thighs)
¾ cup buttermilk
? cup pickle juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon EACH: kosher salt AND garlic powder
½ teaspoon EACH: black pepper AND cayenne pepper
for breading:
½ cup EACH: all-purpose flour AND cornstarch
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
½ teaspoon EACH: smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, AND kosher salt
¼ teaspoon EACH: cayenne pepper AND onion powder
for serving:
oil, for frying
Hamburger buns, pickles, lettuce, cheese, prepared sauce (see notes) and/or prepared coleslaw

BRINE: Combine all the Ingredients for the brine in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and make sure they are submerged in the mixture. Then, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 18 hours in advance.
BREADING: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to frying. Combine the Ingredients for the breading in a baking dish and whisk. Then, add 1 tablespoon of the prepared brine mixture (the stuff the chicken was sitting in) to the pan and toss it around to make the crumbly bits that stick to the chicken. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture by laying the chicken flat and covering it in the flour mixture and pressing it down to make sure the coating adheres. Gently lift the breast (or thigh) and give it a gentle shake to dust of the excess and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. If time permits, allow the chicken breasts to rest on the baking tray for 10 minutes. The drier the coating the more crispy it will get in the hot oil!
FRY: Heat a deep cast iron pot with 3-4 inches of oil to 350ºF. Add the flour-coated chicken breasts in batches and fry for roughly 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Then remove to a baking sheet with a wire rack placed on top. Allow the chicken to cool for 5-10 minutes then, add the chicken breast back into the hot oil and continue frying until the chicken breasts cook all the way through.
ASSEMBLE Toast buns if desired, top with prepared chicken, coleslaw, pickles, lettuce, and/or sauce!
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