Ultimate Crispy Fried Chicken
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons table salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
3 medium heads garlic, cloves separated
3 bay leaves, crumbled
8 cup buttermilk (2 quart)
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 12 pieces
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3–4 cups peanut oil or vegetable shortening for frying
In large zipper-lock plastic bag, combine salt, sugar, paprika, garlic cloves, and bay leaves. Smash garlic into salt and spice mixture. Pour mixture into large plastic container or non-reactive stockpot. Add 7 cups buttermilk and stir until salt is completely dissolved. Immerse chicken and refrigerate until fully seasoned, 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and shake off excess.
Place flour onto large shallow dish. Beat egg, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl; stir in remaining 1 cup buttermilk (mixture will bubble and foam).
Working in batches of 3, drop chicken pieces in flour and shake pan to coat. Shake excess flour from each piece, then, using tongs, dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing excess to drip off. Coat chicken pieces with flour again, shake off excess, and set on a wire rack.
Line large plate with double layer paper towels.
Meanwhile, in a large 8-quart cast-iron Dutch oven pour about 2 to 3 inch oil in pan and heat to 375 degrees over medium-high heat. Place half of chicken pieces skin-side down in oil, cover, reduce heat to medium, and fry until deep golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes; after about 3 minutes, lift chicken pieces with tongs to check for even browning; rearrange if some pieces are browning faster than others. Turn chicken pieces over and continue to fry, uncovered, until chicken pieces are deep golden brown on second side, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Using tongs, transfer chicken to paper towel–lined plate; let stand 2 minutes to drain, then transfer to rack in a warm oven (200 degrees). Return oil to 375 degrees and fry remaining pieces, transferring pieces to paper towel–lined plate to drain, then transferring to wire rack with other chicken pieces. Cool chicken pieces on wire rack about 5 minutes and serve