Coca-Cola Brined Fried Chicken Recipe

Coca-Cola Brined Fried Chicken Recipe
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
April 15, 2022

John Currence's Coca-Cola Brined Fried Chicken Recipe

We are back with our series We Cook Books in this week's recipe. Today we bring you a Coca-Cola Brined Fried Chicken Recipe from the book Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey.

Although we never reviewed this book, we loved it, so we decided to share one of our favorite recipes.

This recipe uses coca-cola in the brine, which imparts its sweetness to the chicken, and the carbonic, phosphoric, and citric acids present help in mild tenderizing of the chicken flesh. Another unusual thing about this recipe is that it uses a wet batter, rarely used in frying chicken in the South.

15 minutes
8 to 10 minutes


For the Brine

1.250 l (5 cups) Coca-Cola
15 g (1 tablespoon) salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, sliced
20 g (4 teaspoons) Crystal Hot Sauce
8 small chicken thighs, preferably free-range (about 113 g / 4 ounces each)

For the Spice Blen

18 g (3 teaspoons) salt
6 g (2 teaspoons) smoked hot paprika
3 g (1 teaspoon) cayenne
1.5 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) ground dried sage
0.5 g (teaspoon) ground dried rosemary
3 g (1 teaspoon) onion powder
3 g (1 teaspoon) garlic powder

For the Batter

272 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
15 g (3 teaspoons) baking soda
24 g (4 teaspoons) salt
6 g (2 teaspoons) freshly ground black pepper
7.5 g (2 1/2 teaspoons) cayenne
4.5 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) onion powder
4.5 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) garlic powder
117 g (3/4 cup) water
162 g (3/4 cup) peanut oil or vegetable oil

For Frying

1.7 l (8 cups) peanut oil
410 g (2 cups) lard

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For the Brine

  1. Blend the cola, salt, thyme, garlic, and hot sauce together in a large bowl until the salt has dissolved. Add the chicken thighs, cover, and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.

For the Spice Blend

  1. Mix the salt, paprika, cayenne, sage, rosemary, onion, and garlic powders together in a bow. Pack into a sealed plastic or glass container and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

For the Batter

  1. Blend together the flour, baking soda, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and onion and garlic powders in a large bowl. Whisk in the water and the oil until fully incorporated. When mixing wet and dry ingredients, always add the wet to the dry; it keeps your batter from clumping. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed.

For Frying the Chicken

  1. Warm the peanut oil and lard in a large cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat to 190 ºC (375°F). Decrease the heat to low and monitor the temperature using a candy or frying thermometer, adjusting the heat to maintain the temperature.
  2. Drain the chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides liberally with the spice blend and pat dry again. One by one, dip the chicken thighs into the batter and let the excess batter run off a bit. Carefully and slowly lower the thighs into the hot oil. Fry just a few at a time, if necessary. The chicken will quickly lower the temperature of the oil, so increase the heat to high to return the oil to 190 ºC (375°F) as quickly as possible. Cold oil makes for greasy chicken. The quicker you seal the batter to the surface of the chicken, the less oil will permeate the meat. As soon as the oil returns to temperature, lower the heat back to medium-low.
  3. After 3 minutes, turn the chicken. If you let the pieces rest on the bottom of the Dutch oven too long, they can overbrown. Allow the thighs to cook for another 3 minutes before turning again to cook for a final 2 minutes.
  4. Remove one of the thighs to drain on a brown-paper grocery bag. Pierce the thigh at the thickest point with a small knife and press on the meat with the side of the blade. If the juice comes out clear, remove the rest of the pieces trom the oil and allow to drain briefly, until you can no longer wait to bite into one.
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