- 1 quart water
- 1/4 cup habanero hot sauce or other very spicy hot sauce
- 1/4 cup Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 8 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for frying
- 1 tablespoon cayenne paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. In a large bowl, whisk water, hot sauce, salt, and sugar until sugar dissolves. Submerge chicken in brine and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
3. In a large resealable plastic or paper bag, combine the flour with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add chicken in batches and shake well until all pieces are evenly coated.
4. Add enough oil to acast-rion or other heavy skillet to reach 1/2 inch up sides. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 365ºF. The oil is ready when a little flour dropped in bubbles and sizzles steadily.
5. Remove chicken from flour, shaking off any excess. Carefully place a few pieces of chicken in oil, skin side down. Keep adjusting heat to keep a steady sizzle and to maintain oil at 365ºF. Cook until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes, then carefully flip each piece. Then continue cooking and turning to evenly brown until cooked through, about 10 minutes total.
6. Crumple up paper towels and place chicken on them to drain. Repeat steps with remaining chicken, replenishing and reheating oil between batches. Transfer chicken to a serving dish and drizzle with reserved spice oil. Serve hot.