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Chef Nick Curtin's Spicy Fried Chicken


Lower East Side restaurant Rosette, where Nick Curtin runs the kitchen. [Photo:Facebook]

There's only one week left to finalize the ultimate menu for the big game. With that in mind, chef Nick Curtin—of the newly opened Rosette in New York City—offers up his favorite fried chicken recipe:
One of my favorite game-day snacks is fried chicken. It is a heartier finger food that hits all the right points—crunchy, moist, salty, tangy—and hits the spot every time. A brine is what separates the good fried chicken from great fried chicken. The brine will keep your chicken moist, give it tons of extra flavor, and will break down protein strands, keeping the chicken tender.

For my fried chicken brine, I always use Tabasco Sauce combined with buttermilk (a classic component in fried chicken brine). The acid helps break down the chicken, and the spice really punches up the flavor. For a fun twist, I like to use Tabasco Chipotle Sauce. It brings a nice smoky note to the chicken, and the flavors are a little deeper. I also make my brine work double duty, incorporating it into my breading for extra crunchy bits.

Click through for Nick's full recipe. And, head this way for more game-day recipes from Tabasco. >>

The brine:
2 cups buttermilk
1 5oz bottle of Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Kosher salt to taste

Brine chicken thighs, breasts and wings from 1 whole chicken:

Mix the ingredients until the salt dissolves. Set ¼ cup of the brine aside. Pour the remaining brine over chicken. Let sit refrigerated for one hour minimum, and up to one day.

The breading:
¼ cup brine
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Pour the ¼ cup of brine you set aside into a medium mixing bowl. Add flour, a few tablespoons at a time, to the brine. Each time, mix with your fingers. With the first addition of flour, the texture will be like a paste, but with each addition of flour, little doughy pellets will start to form. Break these pellets up with your fingers. They will make incredible little crunchy bits on the fried chicken. The final texture, after adding all the flour, will be a mix of powder and pellets. Refrigerate until use.

Fry the chicken:
Preheat fryer or pot with oil to 350°F. With your left hand, remove the chicken from the brine, let some of the excess brine drain off, and place into the bowl with breading. Using your right hand, cover the chicken with breading. Lift with dry hands, cupping the chicken gently, and shake off excess breading. Gently lower into the fryer. Fry until interior is cooked and exterior is golden. White meat will take 8 to 10 minutes, dark meat 12 to 14 to be fully cooked.