Thyme Blossom-Brined, Chinese Five Spice & Buttermilk Deep Fried Chicken

Thyme Blossom-Brined, Chinese Five Spice & Buttermilk Deep Fried Chicken

About 3 weeks ago, hubby hinted at his Father’s Day wish list. It was short – very short. He said, “you know what I want for Father’s Day??” Now, at this point, my ears perked! I have a hard time coming up with gift ideas & always appreciate some tips. Can you guess what he asked for? That’s right! Real – deep-fried, extra crispy fried chicken. Now, this is the point where I had a flood of thoughts burst into my mind:


 Isn’t this a fancy outdoor kitchen set-up??
  1.  I have never made deep-fried chicken before.
  2. There is a good reason — it is crazy messy.
  3. I do not want a greasy film all over my nice new kitchen.
  4. Hey – this would be a great time to try out that Cool Daddy fryer I got David for Father’s Day a few years ago!
  5. I wonder how I should make it.
  6. It definitely needs to be brined first.
  7. I think I should add an Asian twist to this fried chicken.
  8. I think this will work.


I would consider myself a fairly experienced briner. We have brined Cornish hens and turkey several times & a whole chicken once ((I think..)). BUT – I have never brined chicken legs and thighs. I am letting you know this as more of a set-up to a confession. Let me just get it out!! The chicken was… so SALTY. Even admitting it now, I still cringe – parched mouth and all.


Mom & dad joined us for Father’s Day lunch – and mom was so relieved when I said out loud “This is too salty!!”. “Yes!!” she exhaled. Haha (kind of). So, what went wrong?? Mom quizzed me – how much salt was in the flour? ((not too much there)). Was it the brine?? How much salt & water did you use?? ((just the right amount)). We couldn’t figure it out – but one thing remained…it was almost like eating a salt lick. I actually wouldn’t know what it is like to eat a salt lick, but after eating this chicken, I think I have a better idea.

At this point you may be feeling the urge to pass on this recipe — please don’t! I have figured out the exact problem!! Actually there were two big problems. I think it is important to share with you my mistakes. I am certain I will never commit them again. Possibly by sharing these errors with you, you can avoid them too!!

  1. The length of time I brined the chicken!! I brined it too long!! After researching, I found 1 hour is all the brining time dark chicken needs. YIKES!! I brined ours almost 20!! Kill me now.
  2. RINSE the brine off & pat dry before dipping and coating. As I pulled the chicken out of the brine, I remember hearing a tiny voice say – “You should rinse that chicken before you do anything else…” But then I thought, “The flecks of thyme blossom and cracked pink and red peppercorns are so pretty – what a shame to wash something that pretty down the drain.”  That was a big mistake.


For the coating, I used a 1:8 ratio of flour to corn starch ((hello crispy!!)), 1/2 T kosher salt and pepper and 1½ T Chinese Five Spice seasoning. I dipped in buttermilk and then in the seasoned flour, tapped off the excess and repeated until all of the chicken was coated. Thankfully, I never used the fish sauce pictured. If I had, I am sure I would be suffering from sodium poisoning!


Aside from the salt problem, this chicken was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. So juicy, crisp and the Chinese Five Spice??? It sang through everything ((even the salt)). It was so good! I asked dad and the boys if they thought it was too salty and they all agreed it was perfect. David thought it was a bit salty, but that didn’t keep him from eating 3 pieces! (It was still salty, but describing it as a salt lick may be an exaggeration!)


 Now that I have pin-pointed the problems, I can’t wait to try it again! I am sure it will be eye-popping and heart-stopping ((and not because there’s too much salt!!)). 

Thyme Blossom-Brined, Chinese Five Spiced & Buttermilk Deep-Fried Chicken
Brining the chicken ensures flavor throughout the entire chicken - not just flavor, but moist & juicy too! The best part? The perfectly crisp & crunchy coating, with a zing of flavor - thanks to the addition of Chinese Five Spice! Just a few tips and simple steps - and this will be your new favorite too!
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
15 min
3824 calories
366 g
1605 g
109 g
328 g
33 g
4360 g
60569 g
127 g
0 g
63 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3824
Calories from Fat 983
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 109g
Saturated Fat 33g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 21g
Monounsaturated Fat 42g
Cholesterol 1605mg
Sodium 60569mg
Total Carbohydrates 366g
Dietary Fiber 15g
Sugars 127g
Protein 328g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 8-10 c cold water
  2. 1/2 c kosher salt
  3. 1/2 c sugar
  4. 1/4 c crushed peppercorns*
  5. 20-30 sprigs of fresh thyme**
  1. 2 c flour
  2. 1/4 c corn starch***
  3. 1 T kosher salt
  4. 1/2 T freshly ground pepper
  5. 1&1/2 T Chinese Five Spice
  6. 2 c buttermilk
  1. we used 5 legs and 5 thighs
  2. Peanut oil
  1. Combine brining ingredients in a large mixing bowl - stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Place chicken pieces in a gallon sized bag & pour brine mixture over the chicken. Seal baggie, place in a bowl in the fridge & leave for no longer than 1 hour for dark meat and 2 hours for white.
  2. It may be easier ((if your chicken pieces are large)) to divide the chicken & brine mixture into 2 gallon-sized bags.
  3. Once brining is complete, remove chicken from baggie, discard brine & rinse chicken under cold water. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and lay it out on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  4. Preheat deep fryer, or oil to recommended temp. Our "Cool Daddy" recommended heating the oil to 375°.
  5. While oil is pre-heating, place buttermilk in a shallow bowl and combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
To coat chicken follow these steps
  1. Dip each chicken piece in buttermilk
  2. Tap off excess
  3. Dip chicken in seasoned flour
  4. Tap off excess
  5. Set coated chicken on a parchment lined baking sheet
  6. Repeat until all chicken is coated.
  1. Our fryer could only for 4 pieces at a time - but you can place 4-6 pieces (or follow manufacture recommendations) in the basket & fry 13-18 minutes depending on the size & type of chicken. (For us, legs took 13 minutes & thighs took 16 minutes.)
  2. Test a few pieces of the chicken by inserting a knife -- looking for juices to run clear.
  3. Serves 5-6
  1. *My peppercorns are pink, red, green & black - that is why the flour mixture has red flakes in it.
  2. **My thyme recently bloomed. No sense in throwing the flower heads away! Just toss them in with the rest of the brine ingredients.
  3. ***if you want extra crispy chicken, adding corn starch to the flour will do the trick!
Food for a Year:
We set the Cool Daddy up outside – kept all the mess out of my kitchen! Yay! We may just fry up some egg rolls next – that little kitchen appliance worked so great! I hope by sharing my errors with you – your first attempt at deep-fried chicken will keep you from becoming dehydrated be a gigantic success! Happy Father’s Day!