1 batch Fried Chicken Seasoning (see recipe below)
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup honey
1 whole lemon, zested
1 quart buttermilk
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Peanut oil for frying
FRIED CHICKEN SEASONING Ingredients
1 Tablespoon lemon pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 Tablespoon sage
1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 Tablespoon thyme
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
Fried Chicken Seasoning:
Combine salt, 1/4 cup of the Fried Chicken Seasoning, the honey and the lemon zest in a large plastic container or non-reactive stockpot. Whisk in the buttermilk and stir until salt is dissolved and honey is fully incorporated. Immerse chicken and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
Combine flour, remaining 2 tablespoons Fried Chicken Seasoning and black pepper in a large plastic or doubled brown-paper bag; shake to combine. Drop half of the chicken pieces into flour mixture and shake excess flour from each piece. Repeat coating with remaining chicken pieces. Place coated chicken pieces on a large wire rack, set over a sheet tray and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Heat 4 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. Adjust oven rack to middle position and set a second wire rack over a second baking sheet. Place baking sheet in oven and preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 large plates with a double layer of paper towels. Fry the chicken in batches, skin-side down, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Turn pieces over and continue to fry until chicken pieces are golden brown on second side, about 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Using tongs, transfer to oven while you cook the remaining pieces. Return oil to 375 degrees F. and fry remaining pieces. (Note: An even oil temperature is the key to the success of this recipe; a clip-on deep-frying or candy thermometer should be kept in the pot at all times, and the temperature should remain no lower than 325 degrees F.) Serve hot or at room temperature.